Gale announces new Usage-Driven Acquisition model for GVRL

Earlier today Gale/Cengage announced a new business model for the Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL).  The model is “Usage-Driven Acquisition” (UDA) and is based on evidence-based decisions – you only buy what you use.  The press release states, “Unlike options currently offered by other e-book providers, this new purchase model will allow libraries to purchase e-books based on actual usage, allowing libraries to perform evidence-based collection development.”

The model works like this:

1. DEPOSIT. Deposit your funds with Gale.
2. ACCESS. Post a link and widget for GVRL to your website.
3. USE. We’ll pull your usage and let you know which titles were used most.
4. OWN. Your funds will be applied to the titles used most.

I spoke with Nader Qaimari, Vice President, Sales and Marketing for Gale/Cengage about the new model.  Below is an excerpt of our Q and A.

What was the impetus for the new Usage-Driven Acquisition model?

The nature of ebook acquisition has changed a lot in the 10 years since we launched Gale Virtual Reference Library so we, too, need to adapt to meet our customers’ needs. With all the eBook offerings out there, we feel that customers (and their users) are getting confused with everything that is available.  We are seeing this unfortunate trend where libraries are buying in bulk because they really don’t know what’s going to be valuable to their users, and vendors are trying to convince them to purchase simply based on the size of the collection — not whether or not it will actually get used.  So, we are putting our money where our mouth is.  With this new model, it’s simple.  You deposit funds up front, use the platform for six months, and then those funds are applied to purchase the titles that get used the most.  This eliminates the risk for the library while ensuring that users always find what they need.  It’s a form of evidence-based collection development, with very few restrictions.  

Is the entire Gale imprint collection available during the six month use period?

With the exception of a few series that would not make sense as part of the usage period, we have included all Gale titles (all imprints) in the UDA collection — more than 2,000 titles.  We are working with our 3rd party publishers to add their titles to this model, and will announce when new ones are available.

What type of use data will the library receive?  

We will provide standard COUNTER reports and will make acquisition decisions based on retrievals.  We are capable of providing additional usage information — such articles and search terms — if this is of interest.

Did you conduct a pilot project? If so, could you address some of the findings/results/tweaks you made.

We have explored a number of models with customers in the past, and that, along with what we have seen during the many years we have made GVRL available, led us to this point.  Also, given all the issues with the Patron-Driven Acquisition model (excessive restrictions, having to purchase content after only one access, etc.), and the fact that the PDA model’s issues would be perpetuated further with reference content, it made sense to come up with something new that eliminated the risk for our customers.  Of course we value an open dialogue with our customers and if adjustments need to be made to make the model more beneficial, we are happy to hear feedback.