May 20, 2013
Law Firm Adoption of eBooks
In April 2013, Bess Reynolds, Technical Services Manager, Library & Knowledge Management Dept., Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, conducted a survey on law firm eBook issues. 135 law firms participated. Bess presented and commented on the survey findings at the CALL/ACBD 2013 Annual Conference on May 8, 2013.
According to the survey findings, 26.9% (36 law firms) reported buying eBooks for firm attorneys in 2012. 43% (55 law firms) indicated having plans to buy eBooks in 2013. In response to the survey question "If you bought any eBooks, which vendors have you purchased from?" 48 law firms provided the following answers:
|Other legal publisher||
|Retail such as Amazon or Barnes & Noble||
|Aggregator such as OverDrive or EBL||
|Source: April 2013 law firm survey conducted by Bess Reynolds|
I am very hesitant to conclude that LexisNexis is really leading the vendor pack in law firm eBook purchasing because it is unclear (to me, at least) whether some, many, most(?) of the 22 law firms that listed LexisNexis as a vendor did so because of the Company's problematic "free" eBook companion program for their print deskbooks. What is interesting, however, is that only four firm libraries are using an aggregator such as OverDrive which is the Lexis eLending platform for their eBooks. Do note that in a separate question, the survey found that 22.2% (30 law firms) have access to eBooks through another library.
The number of eBook titles, quantity of eBook copies, and/or actual or budgeted total costs for eBooks acquired by law firms was not asked in this survey. Hopefully, that will be addressed in a follow-up survey someday. At the moment, I doubt that data would be all that informative because the one takeaway from this survey is that our legal vendors' most important market segment, private sector law firms, find far too much wrong with current Law eBook schemes.
Bess' CALL/ACBD presentation, Land of Confusion: eBooks' Licensing Demystified, identifies a number of damn good reasons why law firms have not jumped on the Commercial Law eBook adoption bandwagon yet. Highly recommended. Her Law Librarian Manifesto for eBooks at slide 23 should be required reading for all commercial legal vendors attempting to sell eBooks to law firms. [JH]
A Starting Point for Evaluating Publisher and Distributor eBook Proposals
"At this point, it’s anyone’s guess what the vast and growing ebooks landscape in libraries will look like a year or two from now," writes Mirela Roncevic, "but as it stands right now, librarians need to keep up or they will remain behind." In Roncevic's ALA’s Ebook Platforms for Libraries: What it’s about and what it’s for she refers to her new work, Ebook Platforms for Libraries (ALA, 2013) [LLB post] as "provid[ing] a starting point from which [librarians] can embark on their institutions’ ebook ventures." Her post, however, also explains her technique for evaluating vendor and/or aggregator-distributor eBook offerings.
While Roncevic's analysis focuses on academic and general public libraries, both her new work and recent post are relevant for law libraries. Recommended. (Note to FTC, no review copy provided.) [JH]
May 07, 2013
Roncevic's E-book Platforms for Libraries
"Librarians, I hope you find the comparative tables useful and the vast landscape of ebooks a bit less daunting after having read this report. Library vendors, I hope you benefit from the insight into how your products compare to others and how you can continue to improve their functionalities and business models." -- Mirela Roncevic, No Shelf Required
Roncevic's E-book Platforms for Libraries, Library Technology Reports, April 2013 issue, is now available for purchase from the ALA Store. Here's the blurb:
E-book vendors continue to experiment: adjustments to business models, consolidation of content, and mergers with competitors mean constant change. What’s good for innovation can equal confusion when it comes to choosing an e-book platform for your library. Making a sound purchasing decision requires research and close consideration of trade-offs, and Roncevic’s new issue of Library Technology Reports will get you started. Based on surveys of e-book vendors with an established presence in academic, public, and/or K–12 library markets, this report includes
- Background and business model descriptions for 51 leading e-book vendors
- Four tables comparing content, technical specifications, functionality, and business models
- An at-a-glance overview of platforms, including vendor website URLs
- Bulleted checklists of factors to consider, and questions to ask vendors
- An examination of the blurring channels of publisher, aggregator, and distributor platforms, with advice to help you avoid content overlap
April 08, 2013
Obla di, obla da, life goes on: "ACTION REQUIRED TO CONTINUE YOUR SUBSCRIPTION" because one of AALL's "vendor partners" is at it again
We strive to obtain the maximum value for our institution's fiscal resources, while at the same time making judicious, analytical and rational use of our institution's information resources. -- AALL Ethical Principles (1999)
Dear LexisNexis® Subscriber:
The next release of this publication will be delivered in eBook format via the LexisNexis® Download Center. You will no longer receive the printed version of this publication. Electronic delivery via the LexisNexis Download Center will increase the timeliness and currency of your newsletter subscription, in addition to reducing our impact on the environment.
What do you need to do to ensure your subscription continues?
What should you expect going forward?
After providing an email address for your account, you will receive an email alert from LexisNexis when a new release of the publication becomes available. This email alert will include a link to the LexisNexis Download Center, where you may access the latest edition. To access the PDF, you will need to download Adobe Reader to your computer if you do not already have this program.
Only the latest newsletter issue will be available on the LexisNexis Download Center. You will need to save and archive each edition for quick reference to previous issues. If you miss downloading an earlier release, you may contact Customer Support and ask that a copy be sent to you.
Thank you for choosing LexisNexis products and services. If you have any questions about your subscription, please call us at 800.833.9844, email email@example.com or visit www.lexisnexis.com/printcdsc.
Note Regarding Reuse Rights: The subscriber to this publication in .pdf form may create a single printout from the delivered .pdf. For additional permissions, please see www.lexisnexis.com/terms/copyright-permission-info.aspx. If you would like to purchase additional copies within your subscription, please contact Customer Support.
Without advance notice to invoice-paying law librarians, attentive serials check-in staff are spotting a form letter (sidebar right) inserted in the shipment of the last print copies of newsletter, bulletin and journal issues stating that their periodicals will no longer be published in print by Lexis.
Under the banner heading "ACTION REQUIRED TO CONTINUE YOUR SUBSCRIPTION", the "Dear LexisNexis® Subscriber" Notice states in its lead paragraph:
The next release of this publication will be delivered in eBook format via the LexisNexis® Download Center. You will no longer receive the printed version of this publication.
(Emphasis in the original.)
Further on, the Notice states:
Only the latest newsletter issue will be available on the LexisNexis Download Center. You will need to save and archive each edition for quick reference to previous issues. If you miss downloading an earlier release, you may contact Customer Support and ask that a copy be sent to you.
Note well, the Notice does not even identify the title of the publication. Also, it is not an eBook. Each forthcoming issue will be a PDF copy that the subscriber is permitted to print out once.
So the first action required... is to ask your serials check-in staff to write down the damn title on the Notice that has been eShift-ed by Lexis. To get started, here's the list of Lexis periodical titles Harvard Law School Library has be able to identify. It's only current as of the middle of last week:
- Environmental Law
- CA Family Law Monthly
- Commercial Damages Reporter
- CA Criminal Defense Reporter
- CA Environmental Law Reporter
- Business Crime
- Benders Health Care Law
- FL Family Law Reporter
- CA Real Estate Reporter
- TX Family Law Reporter
- TX Torts Update
- Warren Heaton Case Digest
- Benders CA Labor & Employment
- Construction Law Digest
- Benders Labor Employment Bulletin
- CA WCAB Noteworthy Panel Decisions
- Michies 4th Circuit Criminal Reporter
- MA Family Law Journal
- MN Family Law Journal
- TX Oil & Gas Law Journal
Do note that according to one librarian's exchange with a Lexis rep, sometime this summer Lexis will have online an archive of PDF-ed issues in case you have missed this eShift for an affected periodical. Until then, call your pBook-eBook rep before he or she is laid off in Albany. They are the best equipped to help with these pesky account management issues. In the alternative, just cancel the damn periodicals and demand a refund from your Lexis rep. Quoting from the Notice:
Thank you for choosing LexisNexis products and services.
Lexis claims "Electronic delivery via the LexisNexis Download Center will increase the timeliness and currency of your newsletter subscription, in addition to reducing our impact on the environment." Well, it will not increase timeliness and currency of the so-called "newsletter" (read "periodical") subscription until institutional buyers figure out how to archive and deliver to their user populations all forthcoming ePeriodical PDF issues. And that certainly will have an impact on libraries' tech services, IT, and user services environment unless what one only does is print out a single PDF copy and pretends the affected periodical is still published in print.
"Making judicious, analytical and rational use of our institution's information resources." How are libraries supposed to preserve and make accessible issues of titles affected? According to Lexis, download every damn PDF issue and host the ePeriodical's issues on your local server. How circa late-1990s web hosting is that! So get ready to have this conversation with your IT staff.
First we need a dummy email account. Something like "serial(dot)checkin@" will do. Then the library needs separate dark subdirectories on our web server for Environmental Law, CA Family Law Monthly, Commercial Damages Reporter, etc. After that, under each title's web page, we need "<ul><li></li><li></li>[and on and on until]</ul>."
You need to give our serials check-in staff permission to access the server so we can upload PDFs and insert identifier text with embedded links within each "<li></li>" segment. Or your department's staff needs to do this promptly so we can provide access each time an issue has been downloaded and emailed to your department.
For each subdirectory's web page the library also will need an RSS feed so we have a way to subscribe those members of our user population who want to know when an issue has been received and processed. Hopefully no one makes mistakes to the web page otherwise false update messages will be generated.
Yes, each ePeriodical title really must have its our subdirectory.The library needs a unique URL to include in our OPAC's bibliographic record by title to this dark archive when we update our bib records with an eShift note. Hey, I don't want to do this either but I'm not calling the technical processing shots, Lexis is. I'm just trying to deal with the consequences.
Yup, that's a "great" way for making "judicious, analytical and rational use of our institution's information resources." Of course, one also can ask the IT staff to start creating an in-house database or elending solution tied to a library's serials check-in and circulation modules but since no library yet knows how many and when their Lexis periodicals are being eShifted, it might be wise to just start with some basic HTML coded web pages for now.
ePeriodicals, no problem. Dumping this on institutional subscribers with no thought of how this migration is supposed to be efficiently executed by subscribers (in-house economics alert), just like the "free" eBook substitution for CDs, by Lexis, yes, problem.
"To obtain maximum value for our institution's fiscal resources." I understand that Harvard Law School Library has informed CRIV of this latest eFormat switcheroo executed by Lexis. It is unclear to me if the Executive Board knows what the hell is going on because the communication to CRIV was made right around the time E-Board members were traveling to and attending their Spring Meeting in Chicago. (Can you say "live and archived webcast of the proceedings if AALL really wants to be transparent in conducting our, not their, business?")
The meeting's agenda included approval of AALL's The Code of Best Practices for Licensing Electronic Resources. See Tab 14 of the Spring Meeting Board Book behind AALL's walled garden for the text. Assuming The Code was approved, apply it and AALL's Guide to Fair Business Practices (2012) to this latest eFormat substitution by Lexis.
Frankly I believe that exercise would just be a waste of time. By allowing vendors to be AALL members (full, associate, whatever), one of our association's so-called "Business Relationships" ethical principles, quoted above, is vacuous. Worse than that -- this ethical imperative only protects vendor members because their business plans trump library business plans according to the Fair Business Practices Guide.
It certainly is time to queue up this music video. [JH]
April 8, 2013 in Administration, Collection Development, Digital Collections, Electronic Resource, Information Technology, Library Associations, Products & Services, Publishing Industry | Permalink | Comments (1)
April 02, 2013
Insights from an Academic Law Library Pilot Program Using OverDrive for eLending
Nina Scholtz, Digital Resources Librarian, reports on what the Cornell University Law Library learned from its one-year experiment using Overdrive as an eLending solution for eBooks. Insights include the following about eBook collection development in the context of patron usage:
Our approach to this [eBook] pricing minefield has been to select our items for our audience carefully. Since we are not a public library and our collection is very small, we have much less pressure to purchase every bestseller. Instead, we have focused on trying to select those books that we think will interest law faculty and students and spreading out purchases over time for the opportunity to examine checkout and hold patterns. The latter step has helped considerably in divining the reading interests of our community.
For much more, see A Pilot Using OverDrive: E-lending in academic law libraries (AALL Spectrum, April 2013). Highly recommended. [JH]
February 26, 2013
IFLA's Principles for Library eLending
Earlier this month IFLA's Governing Board endorsed Principles for Library eLending as a complementary policy statement to IFLA's database-focused Licensing Principles (2001). "It is evident that the library distribution of downloadable trade eBooks differs fundamentally from the licensing of digital databases."
From the Background statement:
The differences for library acquisition of the two types of digital content include:
- The 2001 Principles assume “a willing information provider and a willing purchaser of information access” and advocate for standard license terms and conditions in a number of areas. As has been well documented, the large multi-national trade publishers take very different approaches to selling eBooks to libraries including withholding content and will not engage in collective discussions about terms and conditions due to concerns over anti-competition legislation.
- With eBooks a layer of complexity is added with interoperability restrictions for end users dictated by eReading device manufacturers/distributors (Amazon, Apple…) and interfaces and use restrictions dictated by content sellers/resellers (OverDrive, Amazon…). Imposed restrictions often do not integrate seamlessly with other library discovery services.
- While licenses for aggregated eBook collections are negotiated, when made available to libraries eBooks are often licensed on a title by title basis from publishers or through resellers and terms and conditions are non-negotiable.
- Publishers of trade eBooks most often have regional geographic rights which may constrain their ability to contractually agree to international interlibrary loan to regions where they do not hold rights.
- Consortia licensing of eBooks is actively discouraged by trade publishers and resellers.
From the Preamble:
The IFLA Principles for eLending is based on the assumption that it is necessary for libraries and publishers/authors to negotiate a range of reasonable terms and conditions for the licensing of eBooks to libraries which allows them to fulfil their mission of guaranteeing access to knowledge and information for their communities. Successful negotiations will require solutions which do not unduly jeopardize the publisher’s and author’s financial viability. It is not acceptable that a publisher or author can restrict a library's ability to purchase/license otherwise commercially available eBooks for the library collection. The implementation of a library's collection development policy has to be in the library's control, and not in the control of publishers and authors.
Whoa! I think that means a library's business plan trumps any vendor's business plan.
On Feb. 8, 2013, IFLA launched a new set of resources relating to eBooks and libraries. Recommended as a starting point for law libraries hell bent on not being a lap dog --- meaning by prioritizing their institution's business plan higher than our association's so-called vendor partners business plans.
End note. AALL has some sort of involvement with IFLA, right? Emphasis on "some sort." For example, see this 2011-12 Annual Report about AALL's participation in IFLA affairs authored by Sally Holterhoff, AALL Representative 2011-2014 ("Although the two main categories of IFLA membership are Associations and Institutions, AALL participates through appointment of an individual to serve as its representative to IFLA through a Personal Affiliate membership.") [JH]
February 20, 2013
E-Books: What Librarians Need to Know Now and for the Future: An ALA eCourse that starts on March 4th
Instructor Mirela Roncevic is offering this asynchronous eCourse beginning on March 4 and continuing for 4 weeks. Topics include:
- Defining e-books and understanding how they work
- Where e-books are available and how are they delivered and distributed
- How e-books are used in libraries—in physical branches, digital branches, library websites, and in classrooms
- The current issues relating to e-books in libraries and what you need to know to be prepared for the future
Additional information about the course, plus registration costs for single users and bulk purchases, can be found on the ALA Store here. [JH]
February 06, 2013
The Challenges of eBooks in Law Libraries (and one very interesting real world solution)
On Jan. 24, 2013, Ellyssa Kroski, Manager of Information Systems, New York Law Institute, and Bess Reynolds, Technical Services Manager, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, presented "Going Digital – The Challenges of eBooks in Law Libraries" in a LLAGNY professional education and development program. They reviewed publishing industry, vendors and aggregators current offerings, licensing restrictions and pricing models (oops, AALL trouble maker alert -- too late for our professional association to censor an event that mentions pricing models a/k/a "pricing structures" this time). Ellyssa Kroski and Bess Reynolds also "tackled the current challenges and obstacles to be overcome by both private and academic law libraries interested in implementing an eBooks program" and "discussed what law libraries are doing to make eBooks available to their attorneys and patrons." Their presentation stacks can be viewed at On Firmer Ground. Highly recommended.
While not news to the NYC law library community, one very interesting development is that the New York Law Institute have made its collection of 56,000 eBooks available to NYLI members free of charge. Debevoise & Plimpton is the Institute's first eBook client to integrate the NYLI catalog module into the firm's OPAC. Any law library that uses EOS and is a NYLI member now can make the Institute's substantial collection of eBooks available to their library's users.
Also highly recommended. I don't know about you but one little Ohio county law library that uses EOS will be looking into the ways and means of becoming an institutional member of the New York Law Institute to access this collection -- and this despite many notable legal publishing houses being missing from the Institute's eBook collection publishers list because they either deny law libraries the ability to circulate eBooks or try to limit lending to non-integrated, not institutional-centric platforms. [JH]
January 24, 2013
A Follow-up on the CRIV Conference Call with LexisNexis about the Company's Free eBook Companion Business Plan
In CRIV Conference Call with LexisNexis on eBook Plans, CRIV Chair Michelle Cosby lists the questions in topical order submitted to LexisNexis about the Company's free eBook-for-CD companion substitution plans. Several questions submitted by rank-and-file members that pertained to "pricing details" were not asked by CRIV. Hopefully they were forwarded unofficially to LN.
Alternatively, Michelle recommends that AALL-represented members (obviously library, not vendor, members) contact their LN reps about questions regarding their accounts. Many (as in most) in-house LN pBook-and-eBook reps for sales and customer service work in the Company's Albany office. As reported in an earlier CRIV Blog post, many (most?) Albany staffers will be experiencing staggered layoffs until the office is completely shut down by the end of 2014.
According to the conference call follow-up CRIV Blog post:
Lexis will make its own response to these questions, and CRIV will notify AALL members when that response is available. In the meantime, Lexis has created a website that addresses some of the questions submitted by AALL Members available at http://www.lexisnexis.com/ebooks/resources/ . The eBooks FAQ is available at http://www.lexisnexis.com/ebooks/questions/ .
CRIV deserves our thanks for addressing this matter in a timely manner. As previously observed, I doubted LN would be prepared to answer all the questions being submitted during the conference call because of the number of questions rank-and-file members asked and specificity of details that were asked in their questions. We'll just have to wait for the Company's response.
While I am disappointed that all questions submitted to CRIV were not including, I'm not surprised. "Free" apparently is being construed by AALL national elected office holders and their hired hands as pertaining to "pricing details." One could make the case that "free" is one among many "pricing structures for e-books." Apparently only AALL's Vendor Liaison can talk to our so-called vendor partners about eBook pricing structures in the context of AALL's official vendors-know-best "business plans" policy for fair business practices. [JH]
January 20, 2013
A Tale of Two Academic Law Libraries
Namely Yale and Cornell in this recent Green Bag article written by Julian Aiken, Femi Cadmus and Fred Shapiro. A snip:
While law libraries are undergoing transformative changes in many different areas, the area in which the changes are probably most transformative is in collections. The two 500-pound gorillas in collection development are tighter budgets and the transition from print to digital formats. These gorillas are not just both big, they also work in tandem to clobber traditional collection ideas.
Clobbered by way of systematic substitution of digital for print. Discussing this now widely accepted practice in academic law library collection development, the authors note that substitution encompases almost all reporters from the National Reporter System "even such basic titles as the Federal Reporter and the Federal Supplement", digests and citators. many loose-leaf services and supplemented treatises, and hundreds of US student-edited law reviews.
This tale of Yale and Cornell also reports that "both libraries have ventured where some academic law libraries have not trodden before" in patron services. [JH]
January 14, 2013
"Half of Winning Is Just Showing Up": Some thoughts about a plausible future "New Normal" for the sales-buyer relationship in business-to-business transactions
There is no substitute for human contact in business-to-business selling.
As much as each of us have days when we would love some delightful magic that would make people buy our products and services without our having io interact with them, there is no substitute for talking with your customer. Said another way, we must get out there and sell, whether in person or by phone.
(Emphasis in the original.)
The above statement is equally true from the buyer’s side in B2B commerce. Half of winning from the buyer’s perspective -- where winning is defined as reaching a mutually successful conclusion in a B2B transaction -- is being there when a sales rep shows up in person or by phone.
There really is no substitute for human contact. It builds understanding. In our respective “official” roles, we have “good reps” and bad ones. Account managers have “good clients” and bad ones. “Bad” can be characterized as being unable to accept the policies and practices that “the other” must abide by because there is no way to change them. Thus, when I say “I can’t accept that offer” or when a vendor rep says “I can’t accept your offer” we are both saying the people we report to "can’t" or "won't" based on either the vendor's or buyer's business plans. We both, however, agree to the fundamental principle, namely, we are engaged in B2B commerce by way of direct one-on-one human interaction. This interaction can also build mutual trust and respect. It’s good for us as buyers to know something about the business of selling. It is good for vendor reps as sellers to know something about our business of providing resources for our users.
However, I have serious concerns that the days of human interaction in the vendor-buyer relationship are numbered. Just take a look at circa 2012 marketing campaigns and sales platforms -- our major vendors eCommerce sites, our vendors click-to-purchase (read end-around our reps) discounts ads that fill our email in-boxes and our vendors robo pseudo customer-specific emails. Is it not clear that sales and account maintenance increasingly will be conducted online by way of eCommerce? That’s not just for pBook and eBook sales but also, in the future, for lockstep boilerplate licenses including research platform renewals.
While I have embraced technological change during my 30-plus year career, this may be a luddite reaction on my part (and one that eventually may be viewed like reactions that can be found in our professional literature when online legal search was moving to center stage). At the moment, about all an institutional buyer can do is ignore eCommerce and emailed price discount offers by contacting their buyer's account rep. However, B2B sales may be defined by mouse click transactions in the not too distant future with account maintenance issues by way of access to some "customer experience and knowledge base" and with the ultimate resort being "communicate online with one of our (a)live representatives or send us an email using this online fill-in form."
The era of having WEXIS reps who know your institutional past history and current needs may be coming to a close unless your business entity has uber purchasing power. Frankly, I see no long-term future for most sales reps in the “professional legal services” (once known as legal publishing) industry. The future just may be retail sales, not B2B sales.
If I am in the Internet retail business I may be able to achieve sales just by appealing to people who are window shopping online. However, if I am a business-to-business professional selling problem-solving solutions, I must remember that people do not typically become interested in my product offerings until they discover that they have a need (usually with my help), and they will require that I personally advocate my solution, handle their objections, negotiate terms, and plan for implementation.
"With my help." That is the crux of the matter in the B2B buyer-seller relationship. But the retail eCommerce model is designed to out-flank professionals at both ends of the equation by pitching products and services directly to the end-user consumer. In our world of institutional buying which is based on informed evaluations of offerings and terms and conditions of sales, this targeted consumer happens to be end-users we represent with help from vendor reps.
Why? Two reasons come to mind. Sell directly to less well-informed consumers (our end users) and reduce the labor cost of sales (their vendor reps). This is the "free money" our major vendor marketing mavens dream intend to collect by way of converting B2B sales to the "Amazon" eCommerce model to win the lottery.
Is it time for ... yes, it is.
End Note: The source of the above two quotes as well as this post’s title (but not subtitle) is Hawk & Boland's Get-Real Selling (Nova Vista Publishing, 2008; 2010 paperback edition (and now available in a Kindle edition)) at 39. It happens to be a book I give to new vendor reps who show up at my library’s doorstep (but for how long?). I find it to be an excellent foundation to build a successful long-term buyer-seller relationship upon (again, but for how long? -- with field reps as well as in-house reps who communicate by phone and who answer their phone or reply back to an email when I have a problem that needs to be resolved). While the book addresses the art of sales, it is sensitive to the buyer’s perspective as well. That is what it takes to maintain a successful B2B relationship which acknowledges there is an ethical imperative in providing needed legal resources to practitioners. Accordingly, it is a book I also recommend to young law librarians who are now responsible for institutional buyer-side B2B transactions (but for how long?). [JH]
December 17, 2012
Lexis to Migrate pBooks with Companion CDs to pBooks with Companion eBooks "Over the Next 18 Months"
Well, that migration already started last month (earlier?). In addition to a few (how many already?) state-specific Ohio and Kentucky handbooks, titles with wider scope that already have been migrated include (or right now are limited to?) New Appleman Insurance Law Practice Guide and this is just based on what Ohio county law librarians spotted in their recent pBook with eBook "free" shipments.
Kudos to CRIV for the Committee's quick work on acting on this matter and obtaining a response from LexisNexis about recent shipments of pBooks with eBooks "free". The letter from Cindy Spohr, LN Senior Librarian Relations Manager (and a listed attendee at AALL's 2011 Vendor Colloquium) was published on various AALL web communities about a week ago as well as on The CRIV Blog here. The key business plan statement in the letter is that "LexisNexis plans to migrate our titles with accompanying CD products to eBook companions over the next 18 months."
Perhaps that is why on Dec. 14th CRIV started soliciting questions for its follow-up conference call next month:
CRIV will be having a conference call next month with LexisNexis Representatives to further discuss librarian concerns revolving around the change to the e-book format. If you have additional questions that you would like to ask regarding this change, please email your questions to Michelle Cosby at mcosby(at)nccu.edu by Friday January 4, 2013. I will compile a list of questions and the answers will be posted shortly after the call. Please check back to CRIV Blog or watch your listservs for this information.
Michelle Cosby, CRIV Chair
Clearly the CD is a dead medium but there is much more going on here than just the mere migration to another companion medium for pBooks. [JH]
December 03, 2012
Now You See It, Now You Don't: Plan for Contingencies When Negotiating Legal Research Services Licenses That Include Distribution Agreements Involving Outside Publishers
It's been about a month since it was announced that PLI content was no longer available on Westlaw. Missing Westlaw's PLI content? Apparently PLI and Thomson Reuters were unable to reach an agreement for providing PLI materials on Westlaw. Was PLI asking for too much money? Was Thomson Reuters offering too little cash? Were other factors involved? Remember some PLI content is available on Lexis and Bloomberg Law (but for how long?).
So if an institutional buyer killed all or most of its PLI print titles because "it was on Westlaw," deal with it. Content licensed from an outside publisher and distributed by way of one of our major vendors is not something one can depend upon. It is not necessarily a per se material breach of one's license for Westlaw, Lexis or BLaw unless an institutional subscriber makes it one.
Plan for contingencies by modifying boilerplate licenses. First. try to obtain a written assurance that all content licensed from an outside publisher that is redistributed by your search vendor will be accessible for the duration of your next license. If that doesn't fly, see where you get when licenses come up for renewal by insisting on a clause that stipulates that if X, Y or Z disappears, the subscriber has the option to cancel the license or to reduce its fixed costs by a certain amount for the duration of the research platform license.
Reduced costs by how much? The cost paid to the vendor or the replacement cost incurred by the buyer to acquire the content in print or electronic format? Start planning for contingencies. For example, how long do you think BNA will be available from anyone except BLaw-BNA? It just does not make sense to sell a competitive advantage to another research vendor by way of a distribution agreement.
What's going on here? The era of distributing expert secondary resources via Lexis and Westlaw to fill in the deficiencies of their commodized content is coming to a close. One or the other or BLaw but not "all or some of the above." In the No Sacred Cows era of legal research platforms, my hunch is distribution arrangements will become single vendor exclusive agreements that go to the highest bidder. And that bidder may change when the distribution agreement is up for renewal.
I'm not sure one can read the future by recent vendor eCommerce sites but clearly vendors like Lexis are already supplementing their in-house pBooks by offering expert print treatises published by other publishers (e.g., ALM) and professional and trade associations (just like BLaw is providing online). This is private sector demand-driven content sales and distribution in p- and e-formats. High quality speciality titles, something WEXIS lacks in quantity, are now "hot properties" in print and electronic formats for the supply chain. Remember when Sears switched from just selling its own goods to becoming "Brand Central" a couple of decades ago?
Was BLaw's acquisition of BNA a wake-up call for WEXIS? [JH]
November 08, 2012
Evaluating Licensing and Managing eResources: A Professional Reading List of Recent Publications
Here's three recent Neal-Schuman Publishers titles. While the monographs are not specific to law libraries they may still be of interest:
The Librarian's Legal Companion for Licensing Information Resources and Services [Amazon]
Tomas A. Lipinski
Neal-Schuman Publishers (October 12, 2012)
From the blurb:
Legal expert Lipinski offers a definitive sourcebook for information licensing in libraries, including copyright and contract matters, general contract law concepts, developments in online and information contracting; and the advantages and disadvantages of licensing. Readers will find clear guidance on deciphering the legalese in agreements, advice on negotiating or countering provisions with library-friendly alternatives, and detailed explanations of specific licenses as well as a discussion of issues regarding online and information contracting. Additionally, three special sections provide valuable information in an easy-to-reference format:
Deconstructions of four common license agreements: Access Newspaper Archive, BioOne, Nature Academic, and Amazon.com Kindle
Answers to 126 questions about specific licensing agreements, plus a glossary, checklist and review tool for evaluating a license agreement
20 key issues in licensing agreements, accompanied by sample clauses
Building and Managing E-Book Collections: A How-To-Do-It Manual for Librarians [Amazon]
Richard B. Kaplan
Neal-Schuman Publishers (August 6, 2012)
From the blurb:
Beginning with a short history of e-books and a review of the e-book publishing industry and its effect on the library s selection and budget process, this how-to provides a thorough treatment of collection development issues, including the selection process and development policies, the use of approval plans, patron-driven acquisition, and practical solutions for creating your e-book collection policies. Chapters on budgeting and licensing cover ownership versus leasing models, the differences in licensing options from the major publishers and aggregators including information on digital rights management, and strategies for success in retention, access, and budgeting.
Managing Electronic Resources: A LITA Guide [Amazon]
Ryan O. Weir (Author, Editor)
Neal-Schuman Publishers (August 6, 2012)
From the blurb:
Electronic resource management encompasses much more than turning on and off resources and tracking usage. This guide provides advice on the tools and best practices of the field help you tackle your workload while saving you time, effort, and money.
Chapters include: Coping with Economic Issues; Acquiring Electronic Resources ; Negotiating Resource Licensing; Reconciling with Payment Systems; Making Electronic Resource Accessible; Gathering, Evaluating and Communicating Statistical Usage Information; Changing Staff to Facilitate the Shift to Electronic; Looking Ahead from Now to 2020.
All three are recommended but Lipinski's The Librarian's Legal Companion for Licensing Information Resources and Services [Amazon] is well worth the cost. While Lipinski does not include major legal publishing vendor licensing clauses, the specificity of the addressed licenses analysis, the answers to over 100 questions about specific licensing agreements, and 20 key issues in licensing agreements, accompanied by sample clauses, makes the work a must-read at least until AALL produces something as detailed. OK, OK, that's probably wishful thinking on my part.
Note to FTC. No review copy provided; bought it. [JH]
October 23, 2012
Law Libraries and Their "Willingness to Pay" for Law eBooks
Following up on yesterday's post, Assessing the Market Value of eBooks Acquired by Libraries, I professionally believe enhanced Law eBooks is "The Next Big Medium-Size Thing" but there is plenty of early anecdotal evidence that can lead one to conclude that private and government sector law libraries are not yet "willing to pay". See Grappling with the Current Law eBook Status Quo as an Institutional Buyer and Bess Reynolds' The Challenges of E-Books in Law Firm Libraries. For an overview, see generally the E-Books section of Laurie Selwyn & Virginia Eldridge's "Technology, Contracts, and Electronic Resources" chapter in Public Law Librarianship: Objectives, Challenges, and Solutions (IGI Global, 2012) [Amazon link].
These are the early days of the "Law eBook." Remember grappling with installing Law CDs on the desktop and in networked towers back in the bad old 1990s? While CDs ended up being a technological dead end, Law eBooks may earn a place in institutional buyers' collection development plans if our major vendors address the value proposition for library users. High, if not top, on the list of issues is there must be an eLending solution with an associated pricing mechanism based on a unified institution-centric discovery platform that is not vendor-specific.
But first all major vendors must get into the Law eBook business (think BLaw-BNA). Then they must realize that their eBooks will be a supply chain dead end without a pricing-eLending solution (think Thomson Reuters) that addresses institutional buyers requirements (think the entire industry). [JH]
October 18, 2012
Grappling with the Current Law eBook Status Quo as an Institutional Buyer
Unlike our general public library colleagues, law librarians are just beginning to grapple with the management of Law eBooks. That's because our vendors, after a couple of failed attempts, became very careful before diving into the eBook marketplace in a systematic fashion. Business models had to be crafted. Target markets had to be identified. Sales cannibalization of current offerings had to be questimated. Platforms had to be created.
The current strategic objectives are clear:
- Maximize potential recurring revenue streams based on the vendor's current subscriber base.
- Lock-in potential eBook users by way of vendor platforms and enhancements like link-thru to vendor research services
The only real difference is buyer-focus. Individual consumers and institutional buyers by (1) owning the eBook and being able to loan eBooks by an offered vendor-provided eLending solution (Lexis) or (2) selling licensed-only access to the individual consumers (eg TR Legal)
Note well, at Boston 2012's PLL Summit, a TR Legal rep mumbled something about "looking into" eLending as a panelist when asked the question from the audience. WK's panelist ignored the topic of the session completely, opting instead to give a pitch for the Company's eBook platform. To his credit, only LN's panelist actually addressed the topic at hand and had the guts to say "print is dead." By that I believe he meant that Law eBooks eventually will replace their p-Book editions as the dominant content delivery system. Professionally, I happen to agree with that forecast; Print-on-Demand will be "Plan B." But there is still a lot of work to do for eBook-ing content integration that maximizes the technological benefits of professional grade enhanced Law eBooks as well as managing a Law eBook collection to resolve institutional buyer issues.
Test driving Law eBooks in the private sector. Bess Reynolds descusses the eBook trials her law firm, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, ran with LexisNexis, Thomson Reuters and Wolters Kluwers in 2011 at The Challenges of E-Books in Law Firm Libraries. In her article, Bess identifies a number of Law eBook problems experienced by the library from the perspective of being the provider of eBooks to the firm's users. She concludes that "the vendors have made the entire experience of acquiring, distributing and supporting e-books far too complicated. ... [L]icensing and digital rights management ... add[s] additional complexity. Pricing is another issue to consider, with Thomson specifically charging a premium for e-books over print. Lexis is keeping prices the same, and Wolters Kluwer offers discounts if you purchase both formats."
For the moment, according to her linked-to June 2012 survey of 85 law firm librarians, the adoption rate of eBooks is low. While I believe eBooks sales will increase eventually, adoption rates will be constricted by a number of issues Bess identifies. They include tie-ins to vendor research services not accessible by end users, eBooks being vendor platform dependent, and the inability of institutional buyers to manage their own eBook collections by integrated hosting such as Adobe Content Server for user discovery (which, of course includes eLending) and library collection management purposes.
Law eBooks in the public sector. In a recent internal planning and budgeting memo (lightly edited for LLB publication below), I addressed enhanced Law eBooks in the context of a county law library that funds p- and e-resources for government stakeholders which are delivered to their workplaces and local attorneys and members of the general public in our county law library. The issues Bess presents in the context of law firm libraries are similar to ones government libraries have.
The current state of the art in enhanced Law eBooks is beginning to require serious consideration for longer term planning purposes. The following factors, however, must be taken into consideration. The review is fairly detailed because Law eBooks are not similar to general trade eBooks.
Unlike general trade titles, the pricing of enhanced Law eBooks is equal to or greater than print title editions. The possibility of volume discounts for specific titles remains an open question at this time. The availability of desirable eBook titles from each publisher’s sales catalog is increasing.
Enhanced Law eBooks link to each vendor’s own “next generation” database service and thus are fully functional only if the eBook user has access to that vendor’s service.
Only one of our major vendors (Lexis) provides its eBooks with an electronic lending solution at this time. There is an opportunity here to reduce print spending in the library collection as well as for our in-office users by acquiring that publisher’s eBook titles for electronic lending eventually.
Cannibalization of print sales and database sales by increased sales of Law eBooks as they become more popular will increase the cost of print and legal database research services in the future.
As with all technological innovations, acceptance of enhanced Law eBooks will be slow but will increase. For many resources, enhanced Law eBook are more usable than the database versions of the same content. Law eBooks also may become a viable alternative for their print editions used by in-house users in their workplaces.
October 15, 2012
Harvard University Library Transitions into the "Digital Future"Recently Harvard University Library launched its new web portal in beta. For details, see the Harvard Gazette's Library in transition: Harvard moves rapidly into digital future, while preserving past and the University Library's Vision Statement. The Vision Statement includes the following animation entitled "The Future of the Harvard Library". [JH]
September 19, 2012
Beckman Center Report on eBooks and eLending in Libraries
O'Brien, Gasser and Palfrey prepared a briefing document entitled E-Books in Libraries (July 1, 2012) [SSRN] for a library eLending workshop. Here's an excerpt from the abstract:
Beginning with a brief overview of the history and the current state of the e-book publishing market, the document traces the structure of the licensing practices and business models used by distributors to make e-books available in libraries, and identifies select challenges facing libraries and publishers. Where possible, we have made an effort to incorporate stakeholder perspectives and real-world examples to connect analysis to the actual questions, issues, and challenges that arise in practice. The document concludes with a number of informative resources – including news articles, whitepapers, stakeholder and trade association reports, and other online sources – that might inform future conversations, investigations, pilot projects, and best practices in this space.
The topics presented in this briefing come at an important moment for the publishing industry, and in particular the e-book market, both of which have been rapidly evolving over the last several years. These changes are, in turn, affecting the models used by publishers’ horizontal and vertical business partners, such as libraries and distributors. While we have endeavored to provide accurate information within this document, the dynamic flux of the industry can make it difficult to accurately capture a comprehensive snapshot of its current state. For instance, during the course of our initial research we found that some information published as recently as September 2011 had already become outdated; other salient information is not made publicly available for competitive reasons. Please note that we consider this to be a working document, which we hope to develop further as information changes and the issues evolve.
Highly recommended. [JH]
August 13, 2012
Snake Oil Pitches from the Land of 10,000 Invoices: Playing "Guess the Title" for TR Legal's format switcheroos
Remember when we received official word via a "Dear Colleagues" letter about the 450 unidentified titles that met TR Legal's format switheroo critera? "[P]rint products that exist in one- or two-volume sets, and are updated only once or twice annually, are good candidates for conversion to pamphlet." Lately, I've been playing "quess the title" with the few remaining TR Legal "loose-leaf" secondary legal works in our little county law library collection. The one-volume Consulting Agreements Deskbook loose-leaf was just switched to pamphlet. According to the "Dear Valued Subscriber" letter [Download the full text of the generic letter, if you want], annotated:
There are several benefits that you, as a customer, will see in moving to the pamphlet format, First, it is easier to locate materials in pamphlets, as opposed to loose-leaf binders. You will no longer need to flip back and forth between the main content and the supplement to verify whether the material you are reading is current. [Ed. note: That's because part of the supplementation was nothing more than a pocket part that was three-hole punched for insertation at the end of the volume.] Similarly, it is easier to keep pamphlets up-to-date. Simply replace your existing pamphlet with the latest version. You no longer need to worry about filing or inserting new chapters and supplements into a binder. [Ed. note: OMG yes. Oh wait, we aren't talking about filing loose-leaf pages CCH-style. Filing a chunck of "new" chapter pages and the three-hole punched pocket-parts isn't something to really, really worry about.] Lastly, pamphlets are more convenient to carry and take up less shelf space than most loose-leaf binders. [Ed. note: And when you kill your standing order to "buy new" in print in a couple of years, you won't have to check how out-of-date it is because the year will be displayed on the cover and/or spine. Of course, should someone try to license the ProView edition via OnePassYourAss and then you cancel the library e-lending unfriendly ProView edition because authorization of that purchase wasn't verified by the folks in the Land of 10,000 Invoices Licenses, then "valued customers" or "dear colleagues" will be screwed.]
So ... in the game of Guess the Title. I got the Consulting Agreements Deskbook right and now I will kill my standing order for it. But I guessed wrong about the two-volume loose-leaf set of O'Neal's Close Corporations and LLCs: Law and Practice this update merry-go-round. Not only did we receive the usual itty-bitty supplementation pages, we also received new binders as replacements for the existing binders! What does that say about the snake oil pitches from TR Legal's format switheroo-ers?
Oh well, my hunch is that after TR Legal's "valued subscribers" file all the existing content plus the wafer-thin current supplementation pages into the new binders, they will receive in TR Legal's format merry-go-round a generic pamphlet switheroo letter for O'Neal's Close Corporations and LLCs when it has been scheduled for ProView-ing. Hopefully the folks in the Land of 10,000 Invoices will speed up production because my hurry-up defense is to kill my standing order after receiving the title in its first year-stamped "new ed." pamphlet format.
One, two, one, two, three, four. "Heard trouble come to your town" so step right up for snake oil because "it's been around a long, long time." [JH]
July 13, 2012
"Friday Fun": The Pre-Sentencing Hearing for the Librarian Judged Obsolete: Something to think about while visiting exhibits at AALL Boston 2012.
|Screen capture taken on June 30, 2012.|
After publication of The Advance of the “No Touch” Sales Model: On obsolescence in the vendor-buyer "partnership" on June 26, 2012, which included a video excerpt from the Twilight Zone's 1961 Obsolete Man episode, several LLB readers asked me to post the earlier portion of the episode that contained the court scene for the librarian who was judged obsolete and ultimately sentenced to death. One email requestor, who asked for anonymity for reasons that should be obvious to all, thought it would be approprate to do so because of AALL's website promotion for visiting the exhibit hall. "Talking to booth bunny experts, really?"
Considering the topic addressed in the "No Touch" sales model post, I concur with the requests for posting the below video. It's categorized as a "Friday Fun" post to recognize that at least one uber vendor's strategic objective is clearly striving to make law librarians, also known as well-informed buyer reps, obsolete by following the Amazon model for eCommerce "no touch" retail sales to the individual consumer under its OnePassYourAss billing scheme. [JH]