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On the first of January 1853, Martinus Nijhoff, a descendant of a family which had been active in publishing and bookselling since the middle of the 18th century, opened his bookshop in the Hague, the Netherlands. He was energetic, erudite and professionally highly qualified. His name soon became known to those interested in foreign and domestic scholarly literature and "belles letters". Books and catalogues found their way to a rapidly widening circle of customers and by the time of Martinus' death in 1894, the name Nijhoff was a byword for knowledge and service throughout the academic world. His son Wouter and his successor, took in 1901 a very memorable step, travelling to the United States of America to visit the libraries with which his firm had been in touch from its very beginning. In spite of almost insurmountable problems, he learned from his visits that the greatest library expansion anywhere, would occur in North America. The reputation and competence of the firm prompted many libraries o use Nijhoff as their agent for both current and retrospective European books and serials. This rapid development was abruptly finished by the deprassion period of the 30ties. During the Depression years business activities reached a very low level as many librarians saw their budgets cut to the very dry bone. As soon as the upswing of economy had worn off the worst effects of the Depression, the outbreak of World War 2 severely complicated the overseas trade. Till the United States had entered the war, shipments of books to the US were routed via Portugal or even Siberia! Once the United States entered the war, all export activities came to a complete halt.During the war the Nijhoff premises barely escaped destruction by bombs and rockets. A nearby section of the city the Hague was completely destroyed and on several kilometers distance rockets were launched with a London, England destination.
This hair's breadth escape meant the salvation of thousands of serial issues which Nijhoff had continued to collect and prepay to publishers during the war years at own risk on behalf of foreign customers. When freedom was regained, this huge stock of publications performed like the ignition of a jet engine. A flying start in 1945, caused during the years 1945-1970 a rapid upswing of commercial activities worldwide. In last mentioned year, Martinus Nijhoff, until then a privately owned company, became an unit of the Kluwer Group, a corporate structure of Dutch publishing companies, printing plants and (academic) book shops. This was - on that very moment - a fitting and strong combination of book-oriented enterprises among which Nijhoff stands out as an international oriented academic bookseller, with relations spanning the globe. From 1989 on, the Kluwer strategy changed radically - it focused its activities on publishing only - Martinus Nijhoff became independent again, under a new capital structure and new management team. Since its founding in 1853, Martinus Nijhoff evolved into a reputable subscription agency and book dealer providing services to universities, businesses and organizations throughout the world.
The agency provides subscription
services for periodicals, newspapers, CD-ROM's and loose leaf
publications. Nijhoff also accepts orders for monographs (firm
orders and approval plan) and handles standing orders for monographic
series, annuals and works in parts. Speciality is to provide these
services for materials published in Europe. However, Nijhoff is
always willing to supply materials from non-European countries
as part of the ongoing process to meet the library's individual
A BRIEF SURVEY OF THE NIJHOFF SERVICES
SUBSCRIPTIONS are offered against a wide variety of fully automated services. A firm representative or contact person, provides individually and personal attention to client's specifications and wishes. Nijhoff accepts not only orders at all times, it delivers back issues as well, new orders are confirmed to the library. Claim procedures are fully computerized and claim follow-up forms are produced regularly. Invoicing will happen after the publisher has established a firm price.
Invoice information can be delivered either at hard copy, floppy disk or tape. Under certain conditions an on-line connection between library and Nijhoff is available. It limits library's paperwork considerably. If postal service fail or is of a low standard, Nijhoff consolidates the journal issues in its warehouse at Zoetermeer, The Netherlands. In some cases publications are roughly collected in the United States, sent in bulk to The Netherlands or otherwise sent directly to Nijhoff's address. After a fine tuned consolidation per client, cartons with journal issues are sent to the library, accompanied by shipping lists either at hard copy or on floppy disk. The use of a routing system provides the library with the option to have multiple readers receiving the same copy of a periodical subscription. There are a number of ways in which Nijhoff can supply the library with routing slips:
* Creating routing slips with names of recipients based on information provided by the library and attached to the journals
* Providing a diskette with the routing slip information and the library printing the routing slips at its own site
* Creating the routing slips by the library itself with the use of Nijhoff's on-line system Any changes in the routing of materials can be made by either returning the updated diskette or by updating routing information via Nijhoff's on-line system. Ship-to addresses can be changed in this manner as well. To assist with the library's accountability, Nijhoff offers financial and serials management reports and overviews with other data about the orders as handled. These reports can be tailored to fit library's needs. Invoices can be formatted in a number of ways, including billing and currencies. Martinus Nijhoff can provide invoicing information on floppy disk or tape for loading into library's computer system, or can transmit invoicing data. Nijhoff supports the GEAC, NOTIS and INNOVACQ library systems and is always prepared to provide customized invoicing data to suit an in-house system. Prepaying of journal subscriptions yields significant savings. In general, prepayments received three or more months in advance of a subscription year will receive the highest discount rates. Prepayment schedules are revised annually and are available in February of each year.
CONTINUATIONS for series published by academic institutions, annuals of international organizations and societies, loose leaf publications, proceedings of congresses and seminars, publisher's series and sets on all subjects, published in almost any country could be delivered fast and efficient.
MONOGRAPHS are supplied in all fields
published in Europe and beyond. Nijhoff regularly distributes
carefully composed subject-oriented enumerations of important
newly published and forthcoming titles from the Netherlands under
the title "Nijhoff Information" (=Blue edition). This
"periodical" (issued once a month) is supplied free
on demand and contains a bibliography of new monographs, serials,
CD-ROM's and microfiches published in The Netherlands in languages
other than Dutch (mainly English). An edentical "periodical",
another "Nijhoff Information" (=Green edition) is supplied
free on demand as well and contains information about new publications
from Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Information derived from
"Nijhoff Information" Blue and Green is available on
so-called bibliorecords, a slip notification system.
THE EASTERN EUROPEAN ACTIVITIES OF NIJHOFF FROM 1979-1989
These activities already started
in the late seventies. In Bulgaria the state-owned organization
for dealing in books, periodicals, stamps and art products "HEMUS",
ordered its first books and journals from foreign origin, in autumn
1979. Nijhoff was one of the main suppliers of information carries
in Bulgaria, till the upheaval in 1989. From 1985-1989, Nijhoff
organized more than fifty book exhibitions all over the former
USSR. Names of cities like Alma Ata, Baku, Dushanbe, Frunze, Leningrad,
Moscow and Tallinn were quite common. When Mezhkniga almost ceased
its activities, these exhibitions came to an end. Furthermore
Nijhoff organized one of the biggest book exhibitions of its kind
in Budapest, Hungary in autumn 1987. Not only scientific books
and periodicals, but a collection globes of the 17th century and
rare antiquarian books were part of the exhibition as well. Political
reasons in earlier mentioned countries finished these activities
more or less abruptly.
MARTINUS NIJHOFF EASTERN EUROPE (MNEE) AND ITS DEVELOPMENT AFTER 1990
New developments started in Bulgaria. From 1990 on, the complete collapse of "HEMUS" was a fact, and from that moment on Nijhoff started the delivery of books and periodicals to academic institutions, enterprises and private persons directly again. In the same year followed the establishment of the new daughter company Martinus Nijhoff Eastern Europe (abbreviated MNEE). Its first liaison office was opened in 1991 at Sofia, Bulgaria; an office mainly acting as support for local sales and service activities. In 1992 followed an edentical office in St.Peterburg, Russia, in 1993 - in Moscow and in 1996 - in Ekaterinburg. Among our respected clients in Russia we provide our services to Russian State Library. Russian National Library, Library of the President's Administration, Russian State Library for Foreign Languages, INION RAN and other Institutes of the Academy of Sciences, Russian National Public Library for Science and Technology, State Hermitage and many others. A further expansion of the offices network in Eastern Europe will follow; at least 3 more office are foreseen. Regions and cities concerned are not destined yet, partly depending on commercial opportunities and possibilities. (MNEE's mother company, Martinus Nijhoff International, possesses 4 more liaison offices in the Western world, namely Marshfield Hills and Attleboro, MA in the U.S.A., Sao Paulo Brazil, Bangkok Thailand, and an agency in Seoul Republic of Korea).
NIJHOFF HIGHWAY TO THE 21st CENTURY
After the full completion of the up-to-date computerized journal system (in 1992), it will be extended by a new book ordering system. On-line connections either between liaison offices or clientts are already or will soon be a fact. This interactive service offers customers the ability to access most
current information concerning the titles handled for their library. It is available 24 hours per day. There is no charge for the use of Nijhoff's on-line system, other
than the connection charges. Access to Nijhoff's database via Internet is very simple. Minimum hardware requirement is a PC or a Macintosh capable of accessing the Internet with either a VT-100 or VT-200 terminal emulation. The client will be provided with an user ID and a password. Alternatively, a connection could be made via modem and the use of communication software. Most program options are self-explanatory and can be performed without first having to consult a printed manual. An extensive on-line manual has been incorporated into the system and can accessed via a series of help screens.
Martinus Nijhoff's on-line database includes bibliographic publisher and price data and allows the library to place orders, cancel requests, claim missing or damaged titles, change shipping or billing addresses and modify mutation lists. It also offers an electronic mail box where messages can be left for MNEE's staff and vice versa. Changes in customer data are processed daily. A status report provides the library with an update of the actual Information like on file in the system. Management reports based on price history and Library's internal codes are right at the librarian's finger tips.
A client friendly web-site has been completed.
* By means of this web-site clients are rapidly provided with most current information about (new) titles, special offers and an attractive activities calendar. Nijhoff's e-mail connections will be highly personalized with direct delivery of messages on the workspot.
In brief: Nijhoff is preparing its turnaround for the 21st century, moving from its qualification as book dealer and subscription agent till information broker for the libraries of the future.
*Please look at our ULR: http://www.nijhoff.nl.