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Document Supply Pricing Model Q&A

Why are you changing your pricing model?

The environment in which the British Library’s Document Supply Service operates has changed substantially over the past decade and the pace of change has increased in recent years.  We have seen demand fall year on year and the cost of supplying materials has risen.  Based on these changes, we have reviewed our cost recovery modelling and found that we can no longer justify charging a single price to supply items that are stored and supplied as paper copies and content stored and supplied electronically.  The new pricing structure will reflect this difference in the supply cost.  Demand for access to a growing body of digital content is increasing dramatically and the new pricing structure allows us to work towards meeting this need and build a sustainable service to suit future needs.

How will the prices change in the new model?

Our present Document Supply Service pricing structure does not differentiate between electronic and print content, despite their differing costs of supply.  From 1 August 2013, scanned-from-print content and content supplied as print will be charged at a higher price, but the price of content stored and delivered by the Library electronically will decrease. Full details of price changes are available on the Pricing section of our website. Prices for our customers in the UK public good sector are calculated at cost recovery only, in accordance with HM Treasury guidelines and the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

How will I know the price of an item before I order it?

The BLDSS online interface will show item prices and indicate which items are available for immediate electronic download.

I order items through ARTEmail or my Library Management System.  How will I know the price of an item?

Where you do not know the cost of an item before placing your order, our automated retrieval system will apply the appropriate price and the item’s cost will be shown on your itemised monthly statement.  If you wish to know the price of an item in advance, you can find this information on the BLDSS online interface.  We are working with Library Management System suppliers and others to implement a new BLDSS automated Application Programming Interface (API), which will deliver information on availability and price through these systems at the point of order.  At the end of each month you will receive a full statement of your requests, from which you will be able to see the proportion of content delivered via immediate electronic download.

Which items can I access via immediate electronic download?

Content available electronically to the British Library and delivered via immediate electronic download will be available at the lower price.  We already use this born-digital material to satisfy around 30% of requests for copies of items and we hold nearly 13 million items electronically.  The British Library is committed to increasing this proportion over the coming years through acquisition of digital content in line with current trends in publishing. 

You’ve sent me an electronic article, but charged me the scanned-from-print price.  Why is this?

The article may have been provided through a third party or from a publisher’s website and is therefore not eligible for immediate electronic download.  This content is currently charged at the scanned-from-print price to reflect the staff costs involved in retrieval.  We are working towards a seamless delivery solution for content from selected publishers’ websites, which will eliminate these costs and allow us to charge the lower price in the future.

Will this affect your other services?

Other services, such as loans and Extended Searching will not be affected by this change in pricing model and will be subject only to an inflationary increase of 3.75%.

Will this affect EThOS (Electronic Theses Online Service)?

EThOS will not be affected by the new pricing structure.  Charges for digitisation and value-added services as part of EThOS will be subject only to an inflationary increase of 3.75%.

How does this affect UKRR customers?

As UKRR customers have paid a subscription for membership, we will maintain the existing pricing model for these customers until the next annual Document Supply pricing review in August 2014.  Document Supply prices for UKRR subscribers will be subject to an inflationary increase from 1 August 2013.  UKRR members can opt to switch to the new model from August 2013 if they wish to take advantage of the reduced price for content stored electronically (see below).

I am a UKRR customer.  Can I switch to the new pricing model?

UKRR customers can change to the new pricing model.  However, it will not be possible to reverse this switch.  Customers wishing to change to the new pricing model must do so at an institutional level.  In other words, institutions will not be able to run accounts on the two different pricing models simultaneously.

Are all immediate electronic downloads available as Library Privilege copies?

Many, but not all, articles are available through the Library Privilege service.  The availability of Library Privilege copies from content held electronically depends, in each case, on our licensing agreements with the Publisher.  Some publisher agreements restrict supply to Copyright Fee Paid copies only.  Where this is the case, we will inform you and you will have the option to purchase the item with a copyright fee.