“This essay traces the historical trajectory of e-books in the U.S. and imagines their possible futures. Legal, economic, and technical developments that led to contemporary e-books reveal a tension between commercial and non-commercial programming. Commercial e-book designs control end uses, reduce production and distribution costs, stimulate consumption, and monitor user behaviors; however, alternative producers and users on the periphery continue to challenge these centralizing tendencies.”
Author : Luke Swindler
E-books constitute major challenges for library collections generally and present fundamental problems for consortial collection development specifically. The Triangle Research Libraries Network (TRLN) and Oxford University Press (OUP) have created a mutually equitable and financially sustainable model for the consortial acquisition of e-books coupled with print titles needed to support instruction and research across the disciplinary spectrum within a transitional framework that is acceptable to users while moving both libraries and publishers to a decidedly electronic environment for monographs.
Working with YBP Library Services, TRLN and OUP developed a flexible vending model for systematically increasing e-books acquisitions in tandem with reducing print intake over time and keeping net costs constant that other consortia and publishers would find useful.
This article focuses on creating an acceptable and sustainable model that allows libraries to shift to e-books and the implications for traditional cooperative collection development.
The research reports on the principles undergirding the pilot, how it developed, challenges encountered and lessons learned, librarian and user reactions to this format shift, and resulting philosophical and practical evolutions in consortial approaches to monographic acquisitions and understandings of what constitutes cooperative collections success in a digital environment.
Alternative location : http://crl.acrl.org/content/77/3/269.abstract
“Librarians often wish to know whether readers in a particular discipline favor e-books or print books. Because print circulation and e-book usage statistics are not directly comparable, it can be hard to determine the relative interest of readers in the two types of books. This study demonstrates a two-step method by which librarians can assess the appeal of books in various formats. First, a nominal assessment of use or non-use is performed; this eliminates the difficulty of comparing print circulation to e-book usage statistics. Then, the comparison of actual use to Percentage of Expected Use (PEU) is made. By examining the distance between PEU of e-books to PEU of print books in a discipline, librarians can determine whether patrons have a strong preference for one format over another.”
“The e-book is raising fundamental questions around the dynamics and habits of reading; the role of books in the academic library; and the role of librarians in addressing new realities of reading and learning. Print and digital texts foster different styles of reading and different ways of thinking and doing research. This paper examines implications of the shift from print to digital reading and how academic libraries in particular should respond. Academic libraries should treat print and electronic books as complementary, not interchangeable, and commit themselves to maintaining hybrid collections that support the full range of learning and research styles.”
“Academic libraries continue to face funding pressures compounded by the need to provide students with access to electronic resources, both in journal and book formats. With space constraints and the need to repurpose library space to other uses, libraries must carefully examine the move to e-only formats for books to determine if the format makes reasonable economic sense.
A survey conducted at Auburn University at Montgomery (AUM) has confirmed for academic libraries the work of Gray and Copeland on e-books being more expensive than print for public libraries. For AUM, the mean cost for an e-book is significantly higher than for the print counterpart of that title. The cost differentials between the two formats show e-books as being consistently higher than print in initial price. This consistency holds true across all LC classifications, regardless of whether or not the title is published by a university press or a commercial press.”