Caveat Emptor--RBDigital

In October, RBDigital turned on a feature that allows patrons to choose to download new magazine issues automatically.  Sounds good, right?  They can decide they simply want to see their favorite.  There are, however, two concerns with the practice.

One: RBDigital apparently didn’t tell all their customers the feature was being turned on. If you’ve seen a sudden and unexplained uptick in check-outs, here’s a likely reason

Two: as one of our Canadian colleagues found out, it can cause libraries to run rapidly through some available downloads on some popular titles: “We are running out of circs for our most popular titles and customers are unable to download, e.g. we’re out of circs for the Economist for December, our most popular and expensive title. Very annoyed customers! They didn’t tell us that they had added this choice (we would have said no) and of course people check it. To meet demand, we have 38 subscriptions to the Economist, which cost us $22K a year!”

It is possible to turn off the feature. In the Admin settings, there is a feature called Auto-checkout control.  Admins find it under “Services Subscriptions, Magazines,”  towards the bottom of the screen. Change “Auto-checkout Magazines” to “Disabled.”

 Of course, taking away a feature once it is offered can be unpopular, but not so unpopular as customers expecting to get content and not being able to within a library’s budget.

If RBdigital did not tell you about this change, they should have.

RBDigital, I hope you made every effort to communicate this change beforehand. Several libraries, however, have said it is news to them. Implementing changes that might affect our materials budgets without telling us is seriously uncool!