Category Archives: Business Models/Pricing

Charleston Conference Loaded with eBooks

I just returned from The Charleston Conference and was amazed by the sessions and general discussions relating to eBooks.  I tried to get to most of them, but that was impossible due to the amount of sessions.  If you attended or presented one of these sessions, I invite you to post your comments to No Shelf Required.  I know we can all benefit from hearing more about ebooks.

Some highlights for me were Lindsey Schell’s discussion of patron driven purchasing at UT-Austin – a “platform agnostic” library, and the “banana” story told by Jason Price.  I was also humbled by the number of people that attended my session – the debate between patron driven purchasing and traditional collection development.  Thanks to all of you for attending, and for participating.  We used the audience response systems to survey the attendees, so I’ll post those results on NSR.

Booklist Online Articles Feature Follett, NetLibrary, and Overdrive

offtheshelf-f1.jpg Those of you interested in learning more about Follett and Overdrive should take a look at the recent  Off The Shelf column in Booklist Online – E-book Distributors for the Public and School Library Markets.  The article provides an overview of the content, features, and business models of both of these distributors.

NetLibrary, due to it’s recent transformation, has a feature article in the Nov. 1, 2008 Booklist issue (and Booklist Online)

Academic aggregators – ebrary, EBL, and Myilibrary – were featured back in May, 2008.

All articles are linked from No Shelf Required, just check out the articles link.

e-content will overtake traditional books in sales by 2018

Just one of the findings from the Frankfurt Book Fair survey of over 1,000 industry professionals.  All of the survey results are in the press release.

Here’s a snippet about the challenges, which I find interesting:

Challenges facing the industry

70 per cent of respondents may feel ready for the digital challenge, but industry professionals nevertheless recognised the need to work together to tackle certain issues. The following top four concerns will be discussed at length during this year’s Frankfurt Book Fair:

• copyright – 28 per cent – typical…
• digital rights management – 22 per cent  – Oh, that nasty DRM
• standard format (such as epub) – 21 per cent  – how about one platform while you’re at it
• retail price maintenance – 16 per cent – hopefully this will filter to library price maintenance too

eBooks, DRM, and ILL, a superior blend or a toxic cocktail?

My recent discussion with Cynthia Cleto from Springer got me thinking about some issues.  I’m curious if Springer’s model – no DRM and ILL rights – is unique or if other ebook publishers and aggregators offer similar things.  To me, it’s a superior blend, but I’m thinking that most publishers and aggregators feel it’s a toxic cocktail….

DRM – Digital Rights Management.  Springer uses none.  What about others?  I know the services with one book – one user biz models use DRM to control access and checkout/due dates.  But, there are many other services with unlimited simultaneous user access, full print and cut/paste features.  Are they using DRM?  Ones that come to mind are GVRL, Sage, Oxford, Greenwood, and Credo.

Interlibrary Loan – wow, I’ve never heard of any eBook service offering ILL.  Springer allows full ILL on its content, following normal ILL procedures.  Is anyone else doing this?   Typically, ebooks and ILL don’t mix, which is a major disadvantage of ebooks, probably one that is preventing many from taking the eBook route.   Traditionally, we’ve been able to send most of our purchased items via ILL, but with the advent of licensing agreements and authorized uses, we are losing our ILL rights.  It’s nice to see that Springer is not following that road.

I think I’ll start investigating more about DRM and ILL in the eBook world.  That will give me something else to rant about instead of my usual rant – one single platform!

If you have comments or more information on these issues, I’d love to hear them.

October Audio Interview – Cynthia Cleto, Springer

Yesterday I had a wonderful conversation with Cynthia Cleto, Global eProduct Manager for eBooks, Springer.  We discussed the Springer content, business models, and results of some usage surveys they have done.  IMHO, it’s very informative and touches on some interesting eBook issues like DRM and Interlibrary Loan.  Yes, I did just mention eBooks and ILL in the same sentence!

Check it out here, or on the interviews page.

Infobase to release eBook platform this Fall

Attention public, school, and community college libraries.

Infobase, publisher for Chelsea House, Facts on File, Ferguson, and Bloom’s Literary Criticism will release it’s own eBook platform this Fall.  However, titles will still be available from previously established interfaces.

Current titles and backlist titles will be available at launch (1800+) and forthcoming titles will also come in e version.

Looks like the business model is similar to GVRL – unlimited simultaneous access and an archival PDF copy of each title purchased.  Which, leads me to believe this will NOT be a subscription product.  No word yet on pricing.

I’m hoping to get a sneak peek at the interface in the next couple of weeks, so details on the interface bells and whistles to follow.

Duke University Press releases eBooks, and the price is right!

Super cool!  Duke University Press has just released their scholarly eBook collection.  The collection includes over 100 titles and is run on the ebrary platform.  If you are not familiar with ebrary, they are an eBook aggregator and offer institutions the opportunity to load their own material into the ebrary platform.  Clearly, Duke University Press has taken advantage of this option, which is the first I’ve seen.  The Duke content is not part of other ebrary collections, but can be cross searched with  titles libraries already own in ebrary.

Those who purchase the eBooks can also get access to 900 backlist titles, depending on which years they purchased the print.  And, for an extra $500.00 libraries will receive the cloth editions of all titles from a given year.

Duke was actually bold enough to post their pricing – way to go Duke!  And, it’s incredibly reasonable.  For the 100 title collection, prices range from $500 to $6000 depending on a library’s Carnegie classification.  So, if my math is right (which usually isn’t), that’s 100 titles for $5.00 each up to $60.00 each.  No, that’s not a typo, I didn’t misplace the decimal point!  I’d like to see those kind of prices for all my eBooks 😉

University Presses, jump on the ebrary wagon.  This is awesome.  Hey ebrary, will you work with independent publishers too?  If so, Kevin Sayer, then you’re truly a rock star!

Charleston Program to feature plenty on eBooks

Anyone interested in eBooks should take a look at the Charleston Conference program, November 5 – 8th.  There are a plethora of sessions including:

Ebook use among a group of large academic libraries
To Supersede or Supplement? Profiling E-book aggregator collections
eBook Intelligence: The 8th Annual Health Sciences Lively Lunch
E-Books – How are they different/how are they the same as online journals?
Expanding the Ebooks Buying Experience: Approval Plans
Patron-driven Purchasing in Ebooks
Top Ten Things to unlearn about eBooks
Integrating Print and Digital Reference Resources
Student’s Perception of E-books: Survey Results and Discussion
electronic books into a UK University Library collection
The E-book Challenge: From Start to Finish, and Beyond
Bouncing, Viewing and Power Browsing: Understanding How Students REALLY Use Your E-books
Identifying and describing e-books: challenges facing publishers, librarians and their partners

I’m very excited to attend many of these sessions, particularly the one on patron driven purchasing – a great new business model offered by some aggregators.  EBL and NetLibrary are the two that come to mind.

Please excuse my personal plug here, but if you have an opinion on patron driven purchasing, stop by the Lively Lunch session Friday at Charleston.  Alice Crosetto (Univ. of Toledo) and I will debate traditional collection development with patron driven purchasing.  We may even have Michelle Harper from NetLibrary with us to describe this biz model better.  Friday – 12:50 – 2:00 “Tossing Traditional Collection Development Practices for Patron Initiated Purchasing:  A Debate.” Embassy Suites


The Evolution of the Reference EBook

At ALA Annual in Anaheim ABC-CLIO hosted focus groups for academic reference librarians to discuss the changing face of electronic reference books and hear what they had to say about what they hoped to see for the future of these products.

Here are the items we discussed and the general feedback we received. We encourage all readers of the No Shelf Required blog to post comments or questions – we want to hear what you have to say too!

Is print reference still viable?
It was generally agreed that print reference is still viable. Whether or not the librarian would purchase the print version depended upon the subject of the title and if their budget prohibited purchasing the electronic version. However, nearly half of the 20 attendees said they are no longer buying print reference at all.

What comes first, the book or the eBook?
As stated above, most answered that they would purchase the eBook and not the print, so the question for them was moot. Others stated that they would be inclined to purchase an eBook version of a title prior to the release of a completed print version if subsquent updates were provided and the final print version would be available within 12 – 24 months.  The original release of the eBook version would have less content than the print, but both versions would be identical by the time of print publication.

Important Features

  • Unlimited simultaneous usage & remote access
  • Export to citation programs
  • NO plug-ins
  • Open to Google and federated searching – access to all eBook platforms through one search engine

Ordering

  • Make ordering easier by offering eBooks via the usual print distributors

Purchase vs. Subscribe
Continue reading The Evolution of the Reference EBook

What do you want from us? Reference Publishers want to know.

The last question asked during the ALA panel was asked by panelist, Michael Ross from Encyclopaedia Britannica.  He wanted to know from the librarians in the audience, “what do you want from us?”

Librarians were not shy in extending several responses:

§  I need to make my purchasing decision based on reviews. So, I need to find reviews and awards information easier on a publishers site, to determine and justify my purchase decision

§  More creative pricing models – to support many sizes and needs of institutions (ie. 2 simultaneous users, own, subscribe, collections)

§  Reference sources are duplicated too much. We have dozens of articles with same information. Can you all publish unique things?

§ Consistency in search protocols across platforms – boolean, truncation, plurals, default search, etc (better yet, how about one single platform, SP)

Librarians, what else is on your wish list for reference publishers?  Place your comments here so our panelists can see them.