Charleston Conference – E-Content Procurement

Cory Tucker, Head of Collection Development from UNLV and Emilie Delquie, VP of Publishers Communication Group provided an overview of the variety of ways in which electronic content is being procured in libraries.  Cory discussed several current driving factors for procurement including decreasing library budgets, the variety of business models available, and network level access and discovery of content.

Emilie provided several statistical charts to show the shift of ARL expenditures from print to electronic (estimated 80% on electronic by 2020).  She borrowed her slides from James Michalko at OCLC.  

They compared the similarities and differences between purchasing ejournals and ebooks and highlighted where several key differences are apparent.  DRM,  perpetual access, restricted access for users (single, multi vs. unlimited access), ILL, and stable user-friendly platforms.

Purchasing via publishers – some observations:

  • they provide content directly
  • have business side of purchasing, invoicing, and fulfillment in good form for the most part
  • the publisher determines access via cost
  • single platform with more stable title list
  • set pricing, but with room for negotiations, the models are more flexible than an agent may offer except for pricing based on use, this is low
  • license agreements needed for each publisher, which isn’t cost effective for libraries

Purchasing via an aggregator/third party vendor, some observations:

  • not producer of the content so little control on the content available for sale
  • publisher sets the price, again, little flexibility on what models can be offered
  • generally better technology/functionalities with their interfaces
  • handling charges and acquisition/invoicing – how well is this done?
  • May be embargoes on the content or delays in release
  • ensure visibility for smaller publishers
  • easy starting point for students

According to an ALPSP survey of academic book publishers’ policies and practices by John and Laura Cox, publishers do prefer to use an aggregator or e-book vendor and then their own platform.  When they surveyed the publishers in the audience, this was also the case.

How do print distributors fit into the eBook world?

Cory feels they fit perfectly because libraries can purchase ebooks in the same model as print, use the approval plan, and have more options by purchasing collections or individual titles and access to a single platform for content via an aggregator interface.

Possible business models for the future?  patron driven, pay per view, leasing

When they surveyed the audience, 51% of librarians were already using these models to purchase eBooks PCG did a survey of PDA in libraries and found that 47% of respondents had started using PDA in the past year.  Most were doing it as a pilot program with about 1 – 5% of their book budget to test the program.  88% of the respondents were either satisfied or very satisfied with the process.  All respondents were likely/very likely to use it in the future.  After Emilie and Cory discussed the models in greater detail, they surveyed the audience again and asked how likely they were to use some/all of these models in the future.  Only 2% said none at all, so people were definitely interested.

Cory wrapped it up by discussing some of the challenges with consortial ebook pricing which included:

  • publishers don’t necessarily want shared acess
  • individual libraries have different needs
  • differences in opinion on ebook platform
  • not as many discounts as compared with journals
  • issues with ILL
  • still a large price differential
  • approval plans, are these even a possibility?

73% of the librarians in the audience felt that PDA models for consortium were a possibility, but had a long way to go.  But when they asked publishers, 60% thought it would be too difficult.

One thought on “Charleston Conference – E-Content Procurement”

  1. The PDA model for consortia is a model I am familiar with. A few consortia I met with were very interested in it, not a very straightforward approach out there to it, but a I think a couple of the aggregators could handle it. ILL will always be an area of issues, no clean way of doing it, but also makes me wonder, is ILL and eBooks something that should be together? Some times we try to replicate everything we do with print with eBooks, but not sure that is the best method or way to do things? We have to look at eContent in a different way with different features and abilities.

    Just a thought.

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