Category Archives: Business Models/Pricing

New Audio Interview with UT-Austin Librarian, Lindsey Schell

UT-Austin Libraries has a huge eBook collection, about 600,000 titles in all.  Lindsey Schell, Librarian for Journals, English Lit, and Women’s Studies, has had plenty of experience in acquiring eBooks for UT-Austin.

In this interview, Lindsey and I discuss the variety of eBook collections/platforms at UT, the successes and challenges of their eBook program, purchasing eBooks through Patron Driven Acquisition, and other neat and cool things about eBooks.  So, if you have eBooks, want to expand your collection, or are on the fence about starting an eBook collection, give it a listen.   You’re bound to learn something. And, hopefully you’ll be jazzed about eBooks!

Other NSR interviews can be found on our Interviews page.

More on Gale/Cengage and HighBeam

I just had a nice conversation with John Barnes, Executive VP Strategic Marketing and Business Development, at Gale/Cengage.  I asked John if Gale would be introducing new business models directed towards end users with their recent acquisition of HighBeam.  Below is a brief summary of our discussion.  Thanks John.

HighBeam’s clients are a combination of students and small businesses.

Gale/Cengage for several years has offered Goliath:  Business Knowledge on Demand, which consists of business information, targeted to small business clients.

With the acquisition of HighBeam, Gale now owns, which John says, “has untapped potential to connect users to the library.” Their mission, to place “high quality embedded information in front of end users.”

So, rather than a new business model for end users, Gale will continue to make information more discoverable to end-users through, Goliath, and their existing AccessMyLibrary product.  AccessMyLibrary allows a small slice of InfoTrac to be indexed by search engines.  When users “want to see more” they are prompted to enter information about their library, which in turn takes search engine traffic to libraries.

Discoverability.  It’s all about end users discovering our content, trapped in that invisible web.  I’m anxious to see how Gale can embed quality content into  Wishful thinking, but maybe in time this could rival Wikipedia, with links to scholarly resources and digital and special library collections.

For more on discoverability, read John’s (and other reference publishers) comments in these articles in Booklist Online:

The Future of Electronic Reference Publishing:  A View from the Top, Part 1

The Future of Electronic Reference Publishing:  A View from the Top, Part2

Patron Driven Acquisition (PDA)

The current NSR poll asks, “is your institution using patron driven acquisition to purchase eBooks.”  PDA is a business model, offered by (currently) 3 ebook aggregators  – NetLibrary, EBL, and Ingram Digital.  In this model, patrons determine which eBooks are purchased based on the eBooks they use.  There are many variations to PDA, but each variation does allow for librarians to pre-select groups of titles to choose from, establish budgets, and put controls in place to monitor usage and purchases.

For a more thorough look at PDA, you can read my upcoming Off The Shelf column in Booklist Online.  It will be published in the January 1, 2009 issue.  �

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!