Birmingham, Ala. — Sept. 16, 2011 — Each year, EBSCO strives to help customers plan by projecting publisher price increases for the upcoming year. We use recent information received from both large and small publishers as well as historical price data to calculate these projections. While based upon careful analysis, we recommend that subscribers exercise caution when using these projections, as they rely on historical trends and current estimates.
2012 Price Projections
At the time of writing, we expect the overall effective publisher price increases for academic and academic/medical libraries for 2012 (before currency impact) to be in the range of 4 to 6 percent.
Since the last publication of this report a year ago, the global economic environment has remained challenged, and our projections indicate 2012 publisher price increases consistent with last year in the mid single digits. Underneath this veneer of consistency, however, much change is afoot in the information industry for both publishers and librarians. These emerging trends are a response to the seemingly permanent economic challenges faced by librarians and publishers as well as the result of new and innovative technologies.
On the library side, budgets remain under extreme pressure, with over 30 percent of librarians forecasting budget decreases of more than 5 percent in a recent EBSCO survey. While recent publisher price increases have trended in the mid single digits, any price increases at all in the current budget environment clearly present difficult purchasing decisions for librarians. To date, librarians have implemented a variety of tactics to bridge the growing budget gap: elimination of print and print-plus-online formats in favor of electronic-only content, cancelling e-package "Big Deals" that consume a large part of their content budgets, and reducing overall staffing and service levels. While these tactics have been effective in many cases, librarians are increasingly being forced to consider even more fundamental changes to their purchasing and operating strategies given the accelerating funding pressures. For example, with regard to collection development, librarians are now taking usage analysis more and more into account when making decisions on what to renew and what to cut. This type of analysis is becoming easier to undertake given the new usage products being developed by EBSCO and other companies in the information industry. With these tools, librarians will be able to understand very precisely what content is absolutely critical and what content may be expendable given the dire budget situation. Ultimately, librarians will use this knowledge to reduce the overall cost of content to match budget reductions while still maintaining the most impactful content for their patrons.
Of course, with this level of usage transparency, analysis, and scrutiny, content quality will be the key factor. This could put further pressure on the "Big Deal" e-package models. For instance, it seems likely that those publishers with the best content in each discipline will still be able to command pricing power for their top journals. However, it remains to be seen whether they will be able to bundle their second- and third-tier journals with their top-tier journals in order to preserve revenue. What does seem clear is that those publishers lacking top-quality content will most likely be in a difficult spot from a pricing and revenue growth perspective, and this may lead to further consolidation in the publishing industry.
Established in 1944, EBSCO is the world's leading information agent providing consultative services and cutting-edge technology for managing and accessing quality content, including print and e-journals, e-packages, research databases, eBooks and more. Now more than ever libraries and research organizations are looking for new ways to manage their collections more efficiently. EBSCO has developed the most comprehensive "e" discovery and management solutions, offering unparalleled integration to help librarians save time and money while empowering their users.
EBSCO serves clients in more than 200 countries through our 30 offices worldwide with more than 140 librarians on staff. To learn more about EBSCO's products and services, visit www.ebsco.com.