Is anyone using eBooks?

Kari Paulson, President of EBL, offered these statistics at the Charleston Conference last fall. I verified them with her today. The stats are from EBL. Kari collected these anecdotal stats to respond to the common question, is anyone using eBooks?

At EBL, in the month of October, 2007
The average patron spent 32 minutes reading online, per title (does not include browse time)
16% of the sessions lasted over one hour
17.5 pages were accessed per session
50/50 split between downloading the titles and using the online reader

She also looked at the overall usage of library accounts who used EBL in both October 2006, and October 2007. Usage grew 464%. Granted, the libraries added additional titles throughout the year, but the increase in usage is still amazing.

I wonder how many of the pages got printed ;)

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.

Read an eBook Week

E-Books Can Help Reduce Your Carbon Footprint:
You see and hear the buzz words everywhere – carbon footprint, environmentally friendly and green. We’re encouraged to buy, use and dispose with the environment in mind. While it’s easy to recognize the negative impact of excess packaging and chemical content in many of the products we purchase, it’s not so easy when it comes to reading material.

Consider This:
E-books are created electronically. No trees are cut to produce them. No ink is used to put the words on the page. No fossil fuel is used to run presses or power trucks to move them around the country. No storage facilities need to be heated to store boxes of books until they are shipped to bookstores. E-books are delivered to the end user electronically. They are read electronically. They are disposed of with a push of a delete button, without ever taking up room in a landfill.
Consider This:It takes 12 trees to produce a ton of printing paper–24 trees for higher grade writing paper.** A mature tree can produce as much oxygen in a season as 10 people inhale in a year. Up to 35% of books printed for consumers (down from nearly 60% several years ago) are never read. They are returned to the publisher and end up in landfills. And with e-books, you can shop for your book without ever leaving home!
NEWS FLASH!Reading e-books can help you meet your commitment to reduce your carbon footprint.

Rita Toews created Read an E-book Week in 2002. She has written and co-authored award-winning children’s books, crime novels and historical dramas, available through www.domokos.com.

Steve Jordan is an avid e-book reader, writer, visionary, and promoter. He developed the Right Brane e-Publishing model as a fair, practical and sensible way to sell e-books online. His e-books are available at www.SteveJordanBooks.com.

Join the new eBook blog

Dear Collegues,
I welcome you to participate in a new blog about eBooks. You’ll find a brief overview of the blog, No Shelf Required, below. It is live and available for your comments now. I hope you can join what will be a lively discussion on all aspects of eBooks in libraries. Regards, Sue Polanka

Sue Polanka Head, Reference and Instruction, Paul Laurence Dunbar LibraryWright State University, Dayton, Ohio 45433 937-775-3142 sue.polanka@wright.edu spolanka@gmail.com

No Shelf Required http://noshelfrequired.blogspot.com/

No Shelf Required provides a forum for discussion among librarians, publishers, distributors, aggregators, and others interested in the publishing and information industry. The discussion will focus on the issues, concepts, current and future practices of Ebook publishing including: finding, selecting, licensing, policies, business models, usage (tracking), best practices, and promotion/marketing. The concept of the blog is to have open discussion, propose ideas, and provide feedback on the best ways to implement Ebooks in library settings. The blog will be a moderated discussion with timely feature articles and product reviews available for discussion and comment.

No Shelf Required will be moderated by Sue Polanka, Wright State University. The role of the moderator will be to articulate discussion topics, provide feature articles and product reviews, and ask poignant questions to the group in order to stimulate open discussion and collaborative learning about Ebooks. The moderator will also provide audio content in the form of interviews with librarians and those in the publishing industry.

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?

Book Sales Increase at Year’s End

Book Sales Increase at Year’s End

February 13, 2008, New York, NY:

Sales of University Press Hardcover books were up by 3.3 percent in December with sales of $6.8 million; sales were also up by 8.1 percent for the year. University Press Paperback sales posted an increase of 0.6 percent for the month with sales totaling $10.1 million; sales were up 3.2 percent for the year. Sales in the Professional and Scholarly category were down by 12.4 percent in December ($99.0 million); however sales were up 2.9 percent for the year.

The Association of American Publishers is the national trade association of the U.S. book publishing industry. AAP’s more than 300 members include most of the major commercial publishers in the United States, as well as smaller and non-profit publishers, university presses and scholarly societies—small and large. AAP members publish hardcover and paperback books in every field, educational materials for the elementary, secondary, postsecondary, and professional markets, scholarly journals, computer software, and electronic products and services. The protection of intellectual property rights in all media, the defense of the freedom to read and the freedom to publish at home and abroad, and the promotion of reading and literacy are among the Association’s highest priorities.

NOTE: All sales figures cited in this release are domestic net sales

Reference Universe – Paratext

Reference Universe.
Nov. 2003.
Paratext
REVIEW. First published November 1, 2003 (Booklist).

Reference Universe
Here is a database that librarians will really appreciate. We have spent countless hours selecting, storing, and carefully weeding our reference collections. But patrons would rather search on the Internet, and get any old answer, than use our pride and joy, our reference collections. Reference Universe has taken article titles and indexes from more than 2,000 reference works “from both major and minor reference publishers.” These entries have been compiled into a user-friendly database that covers topics from a wide variety of disciplines. It is searchable by singular or plural forms, word variants, exact phrase, or exact words. It also includes searches by all of the words and any of the words. Searches can be limited by publication date and by number of hits (the default being 1,000). A Browse Mode allows users to browse for books by publisher, title of work, subject, or Library of Congress classification number or to browse the Reference Universe index of terms.
After searching, the system presents a list of reference titles in relevancy-ranked order. Besides the title, the brief display includes publisher and date and the total number of index entries or article titles containing the term. There are also links to the local catalog, a full-text e-book version if it is available, article titles and index terms, and a fuller bibliographic record. The full record in turn links to other reference books on the subject, other reference books by the author, the record in MARC format, and a review from ARBA Online, available to subscribing libraries. A notes field generally contains brief bibliographic information. As of this writing, Paratext plans to add reviews and publisher links and has installed a prototype that will automatically indicate whether a library owns a title that appears in a list of results.
Do you remember First Stop: The Master Index to Subject Encyclopedias, published by Oryx Press in 1989? Reference Universe has a similar idea but with a modern interface. Titles indexed seem to have good recency, and keeping the electronic version up-to-date will be easier than updating a printed version. General searches will produce many hits. It may take discernment to determine which subject encyclopedia is best for a particular query, but because this is a librarian’s tool, finding the best references for a patron shouldn’t be a problem.
This metaindex is an exciting product that will get a lot of use at reference desks in both public and academic libraries and also has uses as a collection development tool. Highly recommended.— Jack O’Gorman

ALA Program – The Future of Electronic Reference Publishing

2008 ALA Annual, Anaheim
Monday, June 30, 2008 10:30 – 12:00
Reference Books Bulletin (Booklist) sponsored program:

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

Top managers from reference publishing share their views about planning for tomorrow in a digital age and the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

Speakers:
John Barnes, Exec. V.P. Marketing and Strategic Planning, Gale/Cengage
Casper Grathwohl, V.P. and Publisher, Oxford University Press
Alison Mudditt, Executive Vice President, Higher Education Group, SAGE Publications
Michael Ross, Sr. V.P. Corporate Development, Encyclopedia Britannica

Moderator:
Sue Polanka, Chair, Reference Books Bulletin Editorial Board

A blog discussing the news and issues surrounding eBooks, for librarians and publishers.