I was reading this week’s Bloomberg Businessweek and its Global Economics article “Funny, It Doesn’t Feel Like a Recovery,” begins thusly:
Bargains are everywhere in America these days. Men’s shirts and sweaters were 3.4 percent cheaper this April than a year earlier. Prices also fell for eggs, peanut butter, bananas, potatoes, hotel and motel rooms, cosmetics, curtains, rugs, tools, and lawn care. Excluding gasoline and other energy items, the consumer price index rose just 0.9 percent for the year. . . .
Bargains abound . . . everywhere except legal publishing perhaps.
A vendor just presented us with an agreement for a multi-year subscription. If we sign up, instead of paying the “average 7.5% increases” the price will “increase annually at the rate of 3% for the remainder of the Term.”
Why? Why must there be an automatic inflationary increase? Why must law books go up while almost everything else is going down, according to Businessweek anyway. Why can’t the contract language read “price will increase by no more than X% . . . ” with the publisher then making every effort to control, contain, and even reduce prices (negotiating with authors; buying cheaper paper, whatever it takes). I know I’m being hopelessly naive here, but this mind-set of annual increases and our acquiesce in them is mind-boggling (my salary went up by 0% last year; the library’s materials budget went down by 15%).