9 Ways Your Library Can Keep Magazine Cost Under Control in 2013


Magazine subscriptions continually go up – and from what I can see, magazine budgets continue to decrease.  So every library needs to make certain they are getting the most out of their magazine budget and providing the most relevant and cost effective content for their patrons.  Since Rivistas Subscription Services focuses on public libraries and school libraries, this post will revolve around print magazine subscriptions for libraries.

Here are some of my suggestions for managing costs for your magazine collection.

Select Titles Wisely

Yes, just call me captain obvious here.  For the past several years libraries have been weeding out titles and sifting through each and every title to see which is best.  But in the past few years, more and more content has been made available online.  So are you still providing a print subscription to a title that may be available for free?  Are the titles you currently order being utilized?  How much of your budget is being eaten up by an expensive title or a rarely used newspaper?  Are you ordering certain magazines for a particular staff member that is not being utilized by your students or patrons?  These are just a few questions to help with selecting titles.

Share Expenses

Share expensive professional publications with other staff instead of having the library budget eat the full cost.  I have even seen school districts and public library districts share professional journals with others throughout the district.  But at minimum, share on a per-building basis.

Multiple Year Discounts

Not all publishers give a discount for multiple year subscriptions, but some do.  If your library is able to do this, take advantage of multi-year rates.  That said, more and more publishers are removing their multi-year rates because of the uncertainty of what their subscriptions will look like in the future, unforeseen publication costs, etc.  But for some titles, you are able to save 10-15% by ordering for multi years.  If you have a collection of multiple year subscriptions, stagger them among years to balance the annual budget.  In other words, do not have all of your multiple year subscriptions coming due on the same year.

Use A Magazine Subscription Vendor

By utilizing a subscription vendor, you are able to utilize the vast resources of the subscription vendor.  First and foremost, it saves you time to use a vendor.  The library also realizes a bottom line savings.  Book keepers only have to write one check instead of multiple checks.  Using a subscription vendor gives you access to online management systems, check-in systems, their publisher information database and their customer service department.  A call to a publisher or a newspaper can easily take up to 20-30 minutes… let a subscription agent deal with that kind of hassle.

Carefully Analyze Your Collection

Do a few titles take up most of your budget?  Are these few titles worth it?  I recently helped a library review their collection and we found that 2 different titles were taking up 25% of their entire magazine budget.  It’s always good to do an annual evaluation of your magazine collection.

Make Sure To Check Your Titles In

Are you getting what you pay for?  Non-receipt of magazines is just like throwing money down the drain.  Whether you are checking in your titles on a spreadsheet, off of your invoice or on a check-in system like we provide our customers, the important thing is to make sure you receive what you pay for.

Ask For Help

Many libraries get the PTO, clubs, Friends of the Library, local businesses, etc to donate to the library to pick up certain titles or part of the collection.  These organizations can help offset some of the budget cost and can also add titles back to your collection that you may have had to previously cut.  Asking never hurts…

Get A Magazine Quote

I hear it all of the time “We have been with our magazine subscription agency for as long as I can remember.”  When I hear that, I know there is money to be saved.  It may be time to get a magazine quote to see if you’re getting a good deal.  Quotes from Rivistas Subscription Services are free.  Matter of fact, you can generate your own quote online, or you can send us a list of your titles and we can provide a quote for you.  In this kind of economy, shopping around is always a good idea.  Magazine agencies do not make the high level of profit that a book vendor makes, but you do want to make sure you are getting a fair price, an excellent service and a company responsive to your needs.

Use Rivistas Subscription Services

OK, so number nine is rather self serving.  I have worked with libraries for over 24 years and have been in the subscription industry the entire time.  To say the least, I’m a fanatic when it comes to libraries and serving their subscription needs.  I love magazines, I love libraries and I love helping libraries with their magazines!  We have a very responsive, efficient and very easy to work with company who can not only help you save money but can help you get the most out of your magazine budget.  We’d love to help!

I have written this article with plans to turn it into a webinar in 2013.  Do you have additional suggestions about how to save money on your library’s magazines?  If so, please share them with me.  I’d love to hear them and incorporate them into the webinar I do.

2013-02-19T00:14:25+00:00 December 15th, 2012|

About the Author:

Bonnie is a guy who is crazy about magazines. He sold his first subscription to Field & Stream at age 12 and has been practically selling magazines ever since. Working in the magazine industry since college, Bonnie has worked in school library sales, public library sales, publisher relations, customer service – all surrounding the magazine world. Bonnie is one of the partners of Rivistas and handles the PR & Marketing side of things.

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