Remove Non-Linear from current upgrade hierarchy; give it its own setting.
We have auto-upgrade enabled, with the expectation that a title will upgrade from one stable limited-user model to the next: 1u->3u->UU. Currently, NL is included in the auto-upgrade hierarchy: 1u->3u->NL->UU.
This is really inappropriate; NL is a very different sales model from the other three, since you can run out of uses. It's especially problematic if overuse of a 3u has triggered the upgrade - that indicates really heavy use, and really heavy use will run down an NL license very quickly - thus potentially replacing 3u access with no access at all. That's not an "upgrade".
NL is, however, fabulous at catching overflow from a limited-user model when a true UU isn't available. I'd like to see NL moved out of the main "auto-upgrade" and into its own optional setting, some kind of "auto-purchase" - if you can't upgrade along the stable-model pathway, and your limited-user model has seen X turnaways within Y time, and NL costs less than $Z, then buy an additional NL on top of your existing stable limited-user license.
Use case: In a class of 100+ students using the book as a primary textbook, we've found that a 3u+NL fakes unlimited-user access very well - but buying multiple NLs was a flat-out disaster, both for our budget and for the students discovering the end of an NL license.
I agree that NL is is a different sales model from the other options in the auto-upgrade hierarchy, and it would be great to have the option to customise your hierarchy to exclude this if desired. Non-linear as a model does have its place, but generally speaking it's not helpful when a 3-user copy is already getting hammered by excessive demand.
Roxy Garstad commented
We concur with other users' comments posted here. A customizable cascade is preferable. For our purposes, 1U --> 3U --> UU would be most useful.
Zac Holly commented
I agree that this would be a useful optional setting, and it would actually resolve a couple of other issues we had:
1. That sometimes the NL and UU price are the same. When we have a 3U copy that autoupgrades, we will end up with a NL copy. We would of course prefer to have the UU copy in these cases where the price is the same.
2. In cases where the UU copy is DRM-free, we would usually like to autoupgrade from a 3U copy straight to a UU copy.
I guess, if a UU copy is significantly more expensive than a NL and the UU copy isn't DRM-free, we might prefer to go from a 3U>NL, but I'm sure we could survive with a UU.
Also, if a UU is not available, we would still prefer to go from 3U>NL, though I think it would be rare that an ebook would be available in NL and not UU.
Michelle Morgan commented
We would like the opportunity to customise the license hierarchy for autopurchase as well; if the title is unavailable in our preferred license model we would like to determine the next preferred license model. We would like to preference license models from lowest to highest but would prefer UA to NL.
Heather Shipman commented
We have our auto-purchases set to single-user, so we haven't seen NL problems there, in practice.
Looking at the admin console, though, I see that NL is the default first choice if the desired model is unavailable - so if you'd set your preference to Unlimited, it's going to auto-purchase NL, not 3U. Yeah, that's also a problem.
Nathaniel Pockras commented
I agree. It would make a lot more sense for the upgrade to go to UA, since 3U-to-NL can actually reduce usability if you have sustained usage.