October Ivins, MLS
November 8, 2013
The Why and How of Publisher Pricing
Models - October
Models Librarians Love and Hate– Rick
Face Off in the Corral- You, Rick and
Please: Points of clarification during; questions
during Face Off
Business Model- the big picture, how the
publisher makes money or supports itself.
May include seeking grants, private
investment, advertising– sources separate
from income from selling publications
Pricing Model- the model can be simple or
complex but covers how a specific
product, product group, or multiple
product groups are priced and discounted.
Price Points- the list prices assigned to
points in the pricing model structure
Market research responses
Librarians are fine with even complex models
“So long as I can find my library’s price in the
Identify team and timeline
Choose market research role
Estimate direct costs and indirect costs
Consider pricing models that fit product,
market, and estimated price point
Use estimated prices to model
Preview with market research; adjust
o Current customers
o Prospective customers
o Repeat as needed
New product? Enhanced product? Underpriced
Bundle or market with other content?
Cover increased costs/move to commercial
Create lower priced option for smaller
Support international outreach?
Customer, consortia feedback?
Differentiate member benefits?
Phase out print version?
Timeline, work back from price
Team- staff; outsource, consultant(s)?
What staff expertise is needed; how much
Quality of current customer and price data
Access to historical data?
Access to vendor data?
Market research options?
Create, vet, revise project timeline
Examine product and its position in the
Retention rate; new customers
Profile former customers; why dropped?
Availability in aggregators, embargo;
Identify cohort publications
ISI Impact Factor, altmetrics ?
Assess pricing model and pricing of
publishers of cohort publications
Visibility: reviews, conference programs,
Librarian Advisory Board, formal, informal?
External Data Resources
Vendor comparative publisher data
Library Journal journals prices March-April
Impact factor, altmetrics
ACRL Library Statistics
ARL Library Statistics
Many for international
Timeline, upcoming meetings and
Before, during, pre-launch, post-launch
Existing Library Advisory Board?
Squeaky wheel/champion customers?
Phone interviews, focus groups, surveys,
town halls, conference one to to one, etc.
Transparency vs. confidentiality
But…Not a democracy
May not take advice
R & D Investment
“The strong carry the
income (non-profit) vs.
Maximize revenue (commercial)
Prevent competitors from gaining more
Make up for loss of additional print
subscriptions on campus
Base on historical revenue/titles
Big Deals- inflexible w individual titles
Per site fee with remote access
Transparent vs. Opaque
Aggregator products also have pricing model
for royalty distribution to publishers
Tiers, plus: lower price for smaller
institutions/multiple price points for variety
Student enrollment FTE
Number of faculty
Number of simultaneous users
Disciplinary users = usage, but Discovery services
Disciplinary users = academic program.
Population served = public library
Absolute vs. comparative
Differentiate institutional, individual and
Oppose/Support/Promote consortial sales
Backfile (sell separately; with current
subscription only; rolling bundled backfile)
New ebooks with print counterpart discount
Textbook model- static vs. interactive
proposed prices to existing customers
Calculate percentages affected: pay more,
stay same, pay less
Calculate dollar amounts of change
Identify other causes of large increases, such
as reassigned Carnegie values, change in FTE,
Continue modeling until the prices are the
most moderate that can achieve revenue
Publish price schedule vs. Require Quotes
customers with large increases
Explain rationale and result
Note timeline for implementation
Adjust as needed
Expand outreach other customers
Inform all participants in market research
Prepare public announcements
Incorporate into marketing timeline
Monitor impact on renewals; Mediate
October Ivins, MLS
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