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What Does a Subscription Agency Do For Libraries?

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Through the years I’ve constantly had to explain what I do for a living to so many people who have nothing to do with libraries.  But it’s also been interesting to me that there have been so many public and school librarians who do not fully understand what a magazine subscription agency does for their library.  Maybe it’s a secret that serial librarians and technical services like to keep to themselves?  I will offer a quick explanation to what a subscription agency does for libraries.

So here it is in a nutshell:  Let’s say your library orders 250 magazine titles.  Rivistas Subscription Services takes your entire list of titles and we go to the various publishers and fulfillment houses and place the orders for each of the 250 magazines, periodicals and newspapers.  This prevents the library from having to complete 250 individual orders for 250 different titles.  If the library had to place the order themselves, they would have to make payment to 250 different locations.  This would drive bookkeeping or accounts payable insane!  So we take care of the work of getting in touch with each of the publishers and we invoice the library once.  Yes, just one single line item for the bookkeeper to deal with.  This saves the library a ton of time and manpower.

But we do not stop there!  When problems with the magazine subscriptions arise (and libraries know they will), our customer service are the agents to contact so we can get in touch with the publisher and get the issues resolved for the library.  Rivistas Subscription Services also provides online access to account information for present/past orders so claims can be made quickly and easily.  Our entire purpose is to take the work load off of the librarian and handle all aspects of subscription management for the library.  And we like to do so with a smile.

A subscription agency is also responsible for maintaining an up-to-date database of all of the titles, ensuring frequency, pricing, format and other details for magazine titles are up-to-date and accurate for library customers.   This is a full time job! With so many magazine and journals available, keeping up with this many details would be a nightmare for a library ordering just 250 titles.  For larger libraries with larger magazine collections, this would be simply impractical and a waste of resources.  We’re managing a list of titles once but all of our library customers benefit in the process, so it’s much more efficient for us to keep up with all the details.

A subscription agency helps with access, check-in, reporting and all of the details that help make the libraries job easier for managing their entire collection.

Or, simply put, we order magazines and periodicals for libraries and make it look easy!

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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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