Our weekend Big Deal Longread this week may be one of the ultimates of the genre: Richard Poynder’s history Not Price But Cost.

In it, Poynder starts at the beginning, the very first e-journal bundle deal in 1996, and works his way all the way to the crisis moment that has been building for the last several years, surveying leading voices and developments in the debate along the way.

As the piece wraps up, a showdown is brewing between Elsevier and RLUK, a consortium of major UK research libraries. What happened next? Apparently the two struck a deal that contained inflation more than the publishers originally envisioned, but not as much as the libraries had hoped. As Bergstrom et al wrote in their landmark paper (a good long read for next week), the RLUK achieved whatever success it did by having a plan B for leaving the deal and making strong demands. A lesson many libraries have taken to heart.