Because we often find the situation that you describe--a title that
sounds good on paper is not acceptable for whatever reason -- I
encourage previews for the pricey titles.
When possible, I first push the faculty person a review (from Video
Librarian or EMRO) to help them learn more about the title & decide
whether it seems worth getting the preview copy.
As you mention, paying an invoice for the 5% fee you mention is often a
complicated matter that takes more staff time than it does just to buy
As for the priciple of it... I do not agree with preview fees. I've
recently learned that more of the major vendors are planning to charge a
preview fee, over and above postage costs, for previews. If I have to
mess with fees, I'm likely to look for a different--and most likely
cheaper--source for the subject matter. If I'm being asked to pay $250
or more for a video, I expect to be able to test drive the product.
Don't know if this helps you, but I feel better now that I've vented.
Media Services Librarian
Minnesota State University-Mankato
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