An AALL member recently contacted CRIV with concerns about a sudden large and unexpected price increase for a LexisNexis title. I contacted Librarian Relations at LexisNexis and described the problem as follows:
“A private firm librarian just contacted CRIV with a concern that I wanted to share with LexisNexis. Her specific example is one that I think is of general concern to AALL membership, but probably smaller law firms in particular. I will quote from the librarian’s email about the particular problem: ‘I received contract [number removed] which lists Milgrim on licensing: $400 net, shipping: $28.17; tax $24.00. That $447.93 is a much larger than expected jump in the price. Last year our total on it was $293, so this total is more than 45%! Our budget watchers are not pleased.'” The librarian understands that LN has kept costs low for awhile now and her concern is not really about the amount of the price increase. Rather, her concern is being able to budget appropriately for the year. The question is whether it is possible for there to be longer advanced notice about subscription price increases so that librarians can budget accordingly.” (from my email to LN)
I want to thank Cindy Spohr from LexisNexis for looking into this matter and providing the following response:
“Our average annual increases over the last several years have been around 5 – 7%, well below industry averages.
Our current business policies allow for some notification of publications and costs depending on the type of product. These include:
- For service titles, customers are provided a renewal contract with pricing for the next service period 90 days prior to their current service period expiring.
- Non-service titles are typically auto-shipped as soon as they are available, but we do offer a notify option which allows a customer to review the release pricing prior to ordering.
We do understand, however, that law firm annual budgets are frequently finalized in late summer or early fall for the next year. Unfortunately we are unable to provide exact pricing information for the next year that early. The 5 – 7% average annual increase can be used to estimate those costs for budgeting purposes. Individual title price increases may vary but overall should average out to the 5 – 7%.
Specifically regarding the Milgrim on Licensing renewal, because of your inquiry, along with questions from, and conversations with, several customers, we reviewed the price and found that an error was made when the price was entered into our system. The 2012 price should have been $279 (plus shipping and tax), which is an 8% increase over the previous renewal price. The increase is slightly higher than average for this publication due to the editorial work involved with the enactment of the America Invents Act.
With the error corrected in our system, the 2012 price is $279, plus shipping and tax. All customers that have already paid the higher price will receive a refund from LexisNexis. All future renewals of Milgrim on Licensing in 2012 will pay $279, plus shipping and tax.
We regret that this error occurred, and sincerely appreciate your bringing this to our attention so the matter could be corrected as quickly as possible.” (from Cindy Spohr’s email in response)
My understanding is that the librarian contacted her LexisNexis print customer service representative to inquire about this, but even then the price mistake described by Cindy Spohr was not discovered. In future cases it might make sense to also contact someone in the Librarian Relations Group with concerns such as this. For LexisNexis you can visit the Librarian Relations Group web page for contact info: http://law.lexisnexis.com/infopro/Librarian-Relations-Group/Meet-the-LRCs. Also, if you do not receive a satisfactory response to your inquiries to any publisher’s customer service/relations department I encourage you to contact CRIV for assistance in communicating with the publisher.