« Reminder: Registration for AALL Webinar on Educational Storytelling as an Instructional Technique Due by Feb. 16 | Main | Leveraging the Collective Buying Power of Libraries: Report on ALA Talks with Publishers Regarding eBook Issues »
February 13, 2012
TR Legal Responds to Latest Add-Ons/Ancillary Materials Rant Published on Law-Lib
The law-lib list went viral last week in response to a West Key Rules rant. By "rant" and the law-lib message trail, I mean "to scold West vehemently" because no one spoke up in TR Legal's defense of its business practice in this matter. As a PSA, you can listen to TR Legal's unofficial response in the below video clip. Wait for it at 1:59. My hunch is that current occupants of executive suites in the Land of 10,000 Invoices do
love the smell of desperate librarian(s) in the morning.
No word from AALL on law-lib about this. Perhaps I missed it, perhaps not. At this point in the AALL-vendor "partnership," I think the only way our association of institutional buyers will truly understand what the hell is going on and can be prepared to respond in a timely institutional buyer manner is if AALL buys print and online from TR Legal and our other major vendors for an in-house collection of p- and e-resources at HQ. Nothing trumps first-hand experience in "customer education and experience." Do I digress?
Grassroots advice from invoice-paying law librarians to invoice-paying law librarians. What the heck, do we really need another pushback "Dear Colleagues" response to an AALL inquiry? The law-lib message trail offers sound advice from law librarians, including the following:
The best way to combat dishonest sales practices is to buy the rules from other publishers. Take your business elsewhere.
We switched our Federal Rules and IP rules over to O'Conners [published by Jones McClure] and saved money plus they are a pleasure to do business with.
Do note that Jones McClure offers federal rules that are well-edited, reliably annotated and priced one hellva lot lower than West but only offers state rules for Texas and California; if your state rules market is not monopolized by West, Lexis state rules, at least for Ohio, are just as good, if not better than West, and cost substantially less than the titles offered by the Land of 10,000 Invoices.
If your user population insists on West state rules, even after showing them the costs of and explaining the practices of TR Legal, one law-lib-er offers the following advice:
Call HQ and ask to speak to the Subscriptions Department. They can remove add-on subscriptions while you talk and give you a confirmation number to use if/when another copy shows up. You can also ask to have your account flagged No-Add-Ons/No Ancillary Materials. Regular Customer Service reps can sympathize and send return labels only. Vigilance may still be needed, but the number of unsolicited items will drop to practically zero.
I don not know if institutional buyers BDSM-ed by way of West's LMA can kill Add-Ons/No Ancillary Materials during the term of their multi-year contracts but their libraries can certainly take action at the end of their LMAs. Ditto regarding WestPack-ed titles tied to Westlaw contracts.
One law-lib-er commented:
[T]o me the more important point is they can't MAKE you buy them. If they are bundled and there is no additional cost that's one thing. But West Publishing does NOT make collection development decisions for my firm. That is my job.
- There is always a cost because we are talking about TR Legal;
- West's entire add-ons and ancillary materials scheme clearly indicates that West thinks it is their job to make our collection development decisions because in past "Dear Colleagues," the message, in a nutshell, was "we think those materials are useful to our customers."; and
- By way of TR's OnePass-Your Ass scheme [here and here], TR intends not only to make our collection development decisions but also to sell its court rules, etc. directly to our institutional users and toss the cost into our institutional West accounts. See ad, right.
BTW, if the medium is truly the message, law-lib-ers offer a number of arts and crafts activities for using the Key Rules print volumes.
I haven't linked to or identified the law librarians who posted on law-lib following the initial West KeyRules Rant. The vast majority were law firm librarians. All major vendors monitor law-lib -- well, perhaps TR Legal has stopped doing so because the folks in the Land of 10,000 Invoices just might not give a damn about what their institutional buyers think anymore. Oh, my bad. Anyone remember the last time TR Legal did give a damn by taking corrective action?
AALL Consumer Advocacy Caucus calls for information from the rank-and-file. The above opinions are mine and mine along. That being stated explicitly, do note that Michael Ginsborg posted the following message in the Key Rules Rank law-lib trail:
[The AALL] Consumer Advocacy Caucus would welcome your complaints about these kinds of problems with legal publishers. We aim to track as many complaints as we can. Doing so will help us reflect your concern as we collect evidence of unfair and anticompetitive business practices. We expect to use this evidence when we prepare our recommendations to the AALL Executive Board for government intervention.
To communicate consumer complaints about the kinds of problems law librarians are experiencing because of vendor business practices for the above-stated evidence collection objective, the Consumer Advocacy Caucus has established an information clearinghouse by way of this Google docs-driven Library Consumer Complaint Form. [JH]