Library response to DVD story on FOX Charlotte

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Recently, FOX Charlotte ran a story about how the Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County purchases DVDs and whether money could be saved using other vendors. Library Collection Management Manager Linda Raymond did an extensive interview with FOX, but only a few seconds of that interview were aired. In the full interview, Raymond explained the many reasons that we use specific vendors, including increased efficiency (saving staff time/cost), customer service, billing procedures, and the ability to buy large quantities of items at a discount before the release date so that customers can have high-demand items as early as possible.

The reporter showed that on Amazon.com a movie like “27 Dresses” can be purchased at a lower price than the library paid; however, that did not take into account these important things:

  • the Library receives a discount ordering in bulk.
  • the price when the item was purchased vs. the price today (DVDs are more expensive closer to the release date).
  • the price shown on TV was the consumer price, not the corporate price. The library has to use an invoice system with vendors, so it can’t purchase items using a credit card like an individual consumer.

Also not reported in the FOX story was the fact that in the budget scenarios the Library submitted to Mecklenburg County last month (see our previous post “Library works with Mecklenburg County on Budget Scenarios”), the Library plans to preserve as many jobs as possible by cutting costs in other areas, such as benefits and materials spending.

Because of this story, the Library has received several inquiries from concerned library users. The library buys goods and services from a variety of vendors in accordance with the Library Board of Trustees Bidding Policy, which is in compliance with applicable North Carolina statutes in regard to the purchase of goods and services. We’re always willing to answer questions about our purchasing practices.

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7 Responses to “Library response to DVD story on FOX Charlotte”

  1. Matthew Says:

    I hate Fox Charlotte now more than ever. What trash.

    Thanks for clarifying. I didn’t see the story on air, but after reading their article and this statement, I’m glad I didn’t.

  2. Eva Pilgrim Says:

    Thought I should reply to this since this was my story.

    1. The report showed not only the original price on Amazon for the 27 Dresses DVD but also the discounted price. Both were STILL cheaper than any discounted price available to the library.

    2. The efficiency issue was explained as a reason the library is not shopping around in the story… if you watched it.

    3. There is no “corporate” price on Amazon. I personally called and recorded a conversation… I can make that available to you if you’d like… where it was explained to me that any corporate account buys for the same price as the individual consumer. The only difference is the payment option (the library can use purchase orders)

    4. As far as having large enough quantities… a quick search will show you hundreds of copies that are available… much more than the 10 to 15 the library typically orders.

    The story showed not only why the employee was upset, but the reason the library was not willing to look around. You can draw your own conclusions.

  3. Linda Raymond Says:

    As was explained in the interview, but inexplicably omitted from the Fox News story, the Library has used Amazon as a vendor in the past. When using Amazon, the Library experienced poor customer service, refusal by Amazon to replace defective merchandise, and invoicing problems. All of these issues make it difficult for the Library to provide good service to our customers, and they waste valuable staff time to resolve. Fox News is the one that assumed that Amazon was the best vendor for the Library based solely on discount. The Library does not use Fox News, or any other news source, for vendor recommendations.

  4. Dirt McGirt Says:

    Great response Linda. I would be leary of any Fox News story being the complete truth. I’m surprised it was not framed as one of those moronic “Defend Charlotte” stories. It’s a shame they dedicate so much time to a story that is not remotely relevant to our current budget situation, yet are smug enough to not smell their own taint. Keep up the good work!

  5. news reader Says:

    The news story seems legitimate to me.
    Maybe the next time someone from PLCMC is ordering DVDs, they should shop around and negotiate with their preferred vendor.

    Also, was purchasing twelve copies of the movie ’27 Dresses’ a good idea?

  6. news reader Says:

    PLCMC seemingly gives free advertisements for Amazon.com.
    I have searched for books before on library computers and at the bottom of the browser window, I have seen a link stating “Search Amazon for this book”.

    Look up a book using http://plcmc.org/Catalog/ and go to the web page for an individual book and you will probably see the link too.

  7. Matthew Says:

    @news reader

    They get a commission, actually if you buy any book through their Amazon links. I don’t know that they still are getting one though, because Amazon just closed all Associates accounts in NC, so they probably are out of luck on that end.

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