A study reported in 1960 at San Francisco State College Library concerning length of time for book ordering and processing over a 7-year period (academic 1950-5 1 through academic 1956-57) and involving 500 randomly selected order cards per year (excluding materials with special problems such as “out of print,” etc.) showed that (using calendar days rather than working days):

             the median time between order received in acquisitions to time order was placed ranged from 6.3 days in 1955-56 to 18.94 days in 1951-52;

             the median time between order being placed and books received ranged from 24.47 days in 1951-52 to 32.75 days in 1954-55;  

             the median time between book being received and book being released [cataloged and marked] ranged from 16.24 days in 1955-56 to 46.80 days in 1950-51.   (578)        (Source)

A study during the 1975-76 fiscal year at Louisiana State University comparing 5 different [not identified] U.S. book dealers based on ordering 400 titles from each dealer showed that there were substantial differences between the dealers in a number of areas, including:  

            number of titles received—ranged from 342 (85.5%) to 371 (92.8%);

             length of time between purchase order and receipt of invoice—ranged from 29 days to 55 days;

             length of time between purchase order and receipt of book—ranged from 45 days to 70 days;

            and average discount—ranged from 5.29% to 16%.          (Source)

 A 1977-78 study at Duke University involving acquisition of state government documents (population: “approximately 2,000 items” ordered during an 18-month period; sample size: 591 items) showed that 85% of all requests for state government documents evoked a response within the first 5 weeks, after which “the response rate declined dramatically.”            (Source)

         Ibid. . . . showed that “about 75%” of the documents requested were serial publications and “about 25%” were monographs. The average response time was 4.3 weeks and ranged from a response rate of 15.2% for serials and 19.0% for monographs within 1 week to a response rate of 85.3% for serials and 83.9% for monographs within 5 weeks to a response rate of 92.7% for serials and 93.3% for monographs within 9 weeks.           (Source)

         Ibid. . . . showed that the average number of weeks a response was outstanding, broken down by source of request, was as follows:

                      LC Card                             2.42 weeks

                      LC’s Monthly Checklist      3.45 weeks

                      state checklists                    3.73 weeks

                      PAlS                                   4.0 weeks

                      other                                   5.44 weeks          (Source)

  A 1978-79 study of domestic book vendors undertaken at the University of Utah Libraries and involving “approximately 800 orders” divided among 3 vendors (Baker & Taylor, Academic Book Center, and Taylor-Carlisle) showed that books whose publishers were listed in BIP were more likely to be delivered than books whose publishers were not listed in BIP. Within 180 days of placing the orders for books with publishers listed in BIP, both Baker & Taylor and Academic Book Center had delivered 92.6% of the ordered titles, while Taylor-Carlisle had delivered 85.6% of the ordered items. Within the same 180-day period for books whose publishers were not listed in BIP, Baker & Taylor had delivered 60% of the requested titles; Taylor-Carlisle had delivered 58.3% of the requested titles; and Academic Book Center had delivered 52.7% of the titles.           (Source)

         Ibid. . . . showed that, for books with publishers listed in BIP, Baker & Taylor delivered a substantial number of items more quickly than the smaller vendors, although within 3 months of order placement the difference had reversed. Specifically, Baker & Taylor delivered 31.0% of the total number of requested items within 30 days and 60.1% within 90 days; Academic Book Center delivered 0% within 30 days and 78.8% within 90 days; and Taylor-Carlisle delivered 4.1% within 30 days and 73.6% within 90 days.            (Source)


 A 1979 study of vendor performance (Baker & Taylor, Brodart) over a 5-month period in 8 small- to medium-sized public libraries and 1 regional resource center on Maryland’s eastern shore showed that the time lag between placing the order and receiving the book for each of the vendors was as follows:

                  TYPE OF BOOK      BAKER & TAYLOR    BRODART

                  adult hardback                33.7 days                     42.9 days

                  juvenile                           24.9 days                     44.25 days

                  paperbacks                     22.7 days                     17.3 days (385)        (Source)

Dr. David Kohl

 "Libraries in the digital age are experiencing the most profound transformation since ancient Mesopotamian scribes first began gathering and organizing cuneiform tablets."

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