According to the 2017 Serials Price Projection Report from EBSCO Information Services (EBSCO), the overall effective publisher price increases for academic/medical libraries are expected to be the range of 5 to 6 percent (before currency impact). EBSCO bases the information in the Serials Price Projection Report on surveys of a wide range of publishers and reviews of historical serials pricing data to assist information professionals as they make budgeting decisions for renewals season.
The U.S. economy is expanding slowly, and budgets in the U.S academic library market show modest improvement. However, the strength of the U.S. dollar has added additional pressure for libraries outside of the U.S. that purchase publications priced by publishers in U.S. dollars.
The lagging budget growth combined with price inflations are making it necessary for librarians to find creative ways to find the most value. Usage analysis and other tools are allowing librarians to evaluate content quality and scrutinize “Big Deal” purchases against usage of individual titles within packages. The consolidation within the publishing industry will make this evaluation even more important as most large publishers continue to focus on selling some form of bundled e-package content and moderate size publishers continue to receive content cancellations and pressure on their revenue forcing them to consider a merger.
The fallout from the bankruptcy of Swets Information Services may not be directly impacting libraries any longer but the lessons from that experience remain. Libraries and publishers need to research the financial strength of a company and assess the long-term viability of vendors before entering into agreements with them. This should include a review of key financial data such as overall equity and debt for not only that company, but the overall parent company as well.
Currency exchange rates will have a negative impact on the purchasing power of customers located in countries whose currency has weakened in comparison to the U.S. Dollar. The British pound has fallen to its lowest level in 30 years against the dollar and the euro. The euro is much stronger against the British pound and remains stable against the U.S. dollar. U.K. libraries can expect price increases significantly above the projected 5 to 6 percent for content where publishers do not set prices in local currency. Libraries whose invoicing currency is in euros can expect to see lower prices on publications priced in British pounds for their region of the world.
Although they are based upon careful analysis, EBSCO recommends caution when using these projections, as they rely on historical trends and current estimates. EBSCO will update the projection information if economic conditions warrant it.