Yer Doin it Wrong: How NOT to Interact with Vendors, Publishers, or Librarians

[This was more of an open discussion with folks from the floor asking questions or making comments. The presenters had a long list of rather leading questions about whether certain behaviors from librarians or vendors were acceptable. Frankly, I wish this session had more focus on tactics and was less of a series of complaints.]

This was a timely capture
“This was a timely capture” by Peretz Partensky

Speakers: Jenni Wilson (SAGE), Anne McKee (GWLA), & Katy Ginanni (Western Carolina University)

Ground rules: Keep comments respectful and anonymous (no personal or company or product names).

McKee thinks it is okay for publishers and vendors to make a fair profit. An unfair profit is where the burden is on the backs of libraries to support the publisher/vendor’s members or corporate demands.

Ginanni thinks it’s a balancing act between dealing with the devil and negotiating the best deal for our users.

McKee says we need to form partnerships with our vendors and find a compromise, including when it comes to fair profit.

Sometimes libraries will hang on to invoices for months because the vendor put additional licensing terms on the back. It’s important for the libraries to communicate to the vendor why. Ginanni suggests we also need to educate our accounts payable offices on the reason why the invoices should be paid in a timely fashion.

Ginanni suggest that if your accounts department or other have trouble understanding our business practices, the phrase “industry standard” can be helpful.

Is it ever appropriate for vendor sales people to go over the head of the acquisitions/collections librarian if they say no? Maybe only if they are being an absolute brick wall or “don’t like” you.

McKee says that librarians are too nice about things and we really need to approach our vendor relationships like a business. If it’s not working out with a sales rep, ask for a new one.

What do you do when a new publisher wants to charge hosting fees for content they acquired that has zero hosting fee licenses? Wilson says that is ridiculous. McKee says point to the license.

McKee says she now prefers RFI to RFP because there is no commitment to purchase something, and allows you to write a broader focus to not inadvertently eliminate relevant products/vendors.

McKee suggests that if a sales rep tells you they will lose their job if you don’t buy their product, then there is probably a bigger issue about their performance than you.