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12 Pages

Digital Library Selection: Maximum Access, Not Buying the Best Titles: Libraries Should Become Full-Text Amazon.com's

Book vendors played a central role in building library collections, during the 20th century. During the 1990s, they helped drive the development of information technology and electronic data exchange. The library book vending business did not become troubled overnight. Throughout the 1990s, margins tumbled as book vendors, especially those that serve academic and research libraries, allowed discounts to spiral upward in their quest to gain market. Libraries, particularly consortia and institutions where purchasing departments make or influence vendor selection, have commoditized vendors' book. The environments that librarians and vendors work in are highly complex and changing rapidly. Vendors could attempt to fast-track restructuring on their own by cutting discounts or instituting postage and handling charges. Once a new library-vendor business model has been established, moving quickly toward it will be critical to success.