Category Archives: Business Models/Pricing

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

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.

eBooks and ILL, is there a solution?

I’ve been hearing lots of conversation about eBooks and the inability to use them for ILL requests.  With a shift in purchasing to electronic, how will this affect the ILL service? Should we be getting ILL rights with purchase?  How would that work in the world of authentication and proxy servers?  Are librarians thinking about ILL needs when purchasing electronic titles over print? What are your thoughts?

Sue

SUNY Press to Offer Electronic Editions of Frontlist Books for just $20.00

From LJ Academic Newswire:

SUNY Press To Offer Electronic Editions of Frontlist Books With the launch of its new DirectText (DT) initiative this week.

SUNY Press has become the first university press in the United States to offer electronic editions of its frontlist titles. With monographs becoming increasingly expensive, often exceeding $75, SUNY Press officials say the new program is aimed at getting content into more readers’ hands. Under the program, SUNY Press’ frontlist titles will be available for download for just $20 directly from the Press’s web site.

Users can download and print PDF versions. A free preview option allows one to view the table of contents, the first two pages of each chapter, and an index of DT titles before purchasing. Dan Flynn, Director of Sales and Business Development at SUNY Press told the LJ Academic Newswire that making chapters or portions of SUNY Press books available for sale is also being planned. To download a book, the purchaser of a DirectText book must register with PublishersRow.com, the program’s vendor, to get a username and password, which places the book in the purchaser’s “bookshelf.” Users may register up to three computers to access a book in their bookshelf, Flynn explained, (for example, their home, work computers and a laptop). “The registered computers may view the DirectText book for 180 days online, may download the book as a PDF document, and may print all or portions of the book.” Press director Gary Dunham, who joined SUNY Press in January of this year, said the DT initiative is about “creating instant access to just-published scholarship” at an affordable rate. “If you want a prestige, jacketed cloth edition, you can still have it,” Dunham said, “but affordability and immediacy are really the cornerstones of this program.” The DT initiative went live on March 30 with 20 titles. Approximately 50 titles will be available by the end of June, and an additional 60 will be available by the end of the year. Dunham says press officials will evaluate DT seasonally. “We look forward to its evolution,” he said.

Now that’s what I call a business model! Wow – price less than print, available before print, browse before you buy, and soon purchase only the chapters you need. (sp)

Berkshire Publishing’s Bookshop launched

Here’s a new spin on eBook publishing and business models. Berkshire Publishing offers FREE searching/browsing of reference titles before purchase. Libraries and/or end users can subscribe to the content, directly from the site for an annual fee. Example: Pricing for their new title, Global Perspectives of the United States, is $49.00 annually. The print list price is $275.00. If you only wanted to own titles for a couple of years, this might be a more economical way to purchase.

http://www.exacteditions.com/berkshire

Paying for eBooks – Business Models

I’m going to go out on a limb here and make a generalization that all librarians think eBooks are overpriced, whether they are reference, textbooks, techy, or monographs. Many librarians comment that eBooks should be comparable, if not cheaper, than the print counterparts due to lack of printing/binding/shipping. Publishers, on the other hand, price eBooks higher due to the costs involved with maintaining multiple formats, creating searchable databases, and the value added benefits of the ebook – 24/7 simultaneous users, multimedia, cut/paste/email/cite, etc. Whatever the price, the eBooks are sold though many business models – own, subscribe, lease, as collections, buy xml content and choose your aggregator, and the list goes on.

What do you think? How do you like to purchase eBooks? How do you prefer to pay for them? What do you think of the costs? ….And, I know you all have an opinion. So let’s hear them.

Should eBooks be updated?

One question asked by many librarians, now that I’m purchasing my reference titles electronically, should publishers be updating those titles and fixing errors prior to (or rather than) releasing a new edition?

How does this impact the print copy? Which copy is the official copy, print or electronic?
Should the eBook title be an exact replica of the print title? Are eBooks meant to be “living” and growing things? If so, how do we archive the older material?

How does this impact pricing? Should subscription based models include updates automatically? What about titles purchased to own (a one time fee)?

What are your thoughts?