The advent of online journal publishing and the formation of library purchasing consortia have transformed the supply chain from author, via publisher and library, to reader. Caught in the middle is the subscription agent. This presentation examines what is required of today's vendor, and how the subscription agent's traditional transaction processing and customer support activities have to change to meet the needs of the new environment. It reviews the process of concentration of subscription services into fewer hands and the emergence of new intermediaries. It considers the strengths and weaknesses of the subscription agent, and the threat to an orderly supply chain that potentially puts small publishers at a disadvantage.