Re: media collection development reviews?

Gary Handman (
Thu, 30 Jan 2003 12:23:21 -0800 (PST)

Hey Jen

Welcome aboard.

Randy Pitman's redoubtable Video Librarian is a must:

You could also subscribe (either on the web or in paper) to Pierian Press'
Media Review Digest

The difference between a $30 and a $90-$130 video is most likely the fact
that the former is a mass-market title (ie. intended for home video
markets) and the latter is most likely an independently produced and/or
distributed video.
Although the careful collection developer can definitely find good stuff in
the first bin, building a collection exclusively with mass-market offerings
may be doing your clients a disservice: the independent video world is
very often includes some of the most provocative and insightful filmmaking
around. While many mass-market titles are fairly plain vanilla in their
approach to subjects, I've found that films by indie producers generally
have a unique point of view and approach that is unique. The reason indie
stuff is considerably more expensive than mass-market stuff is very often
because this segment of the market doesn't aim for the blockbuster or the
least common denominator...and because the market of indie filmmaking is
usually not mass, the price per unit tends to be higher.

You should also be wary of the old "differential pricing" boogyman: it's
not uncommon practice to find THE SAME video title going for two different
prices: a home video (mass market price) and an institutional price. The
rationale provided by some vendors is that institutions need public
performance rights, and the higher price includes that. That's patently
wrong! If all you do is circulate video for home or classroom use, you
don't need these rights. Nonetheless, most of us bite the bullet and pay
up. The issue is really usually one of economics: institutions buy
single copies and circulate widely, and the vendors want to recoup their

Good luck!


At 12:02 PM 1/30/2003 -0800, you wrote:
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>I'm *very* new to Media/Video Collection Development, and wonder if
>there is an industry standard publication that reviews videos for
>librarians. I've kind of taken over the CD, ordering, cataloging, and
>reserving of videos for faculty and students at my small community
>college, and aside from Choice, LJ, and the SCADS of catalogs I'm
>receiving, I was wondering if there's a publication that's a bit more
>focused on *videos*...
>Also, I'm curious as to what you all think is the difference between a
>$30 video and a $90-$130 dollar one, if the subject matter seems to be
>about the same - size of the production house/ vendor? Cost to
>distribute? Built in PPR? Any light on the subject would be helpful.
>Jen Stutesman
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>title:Instructional and Technical Services Librarian
>fn:Jen Stutesman

Gary Handman
Media Resources Center
Moffitt Library
UC Berkeley