The state of scholarly e-books today and tomorrow: Scott Wasinger, EBSCO

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E-books play an increasingly important role in research libraries. We ask people from across the industry for their perspective on scholarly e-books today

Scott Wasinger, vice president, e-books & audiobooks, EBSCO

We find that the most popular model for acquiring e-book titles is an ownership model, with flexible options based on the number of simultaneous users that a library wants to establish for each title purchased.

Patron driven acquisition (PDA) helps libraries to preserve their budget while maintaining control over the collection development process. Libraries can create PDA title lists using specific criteria and expose the bibliographic records to end users without purchasing the titles. A title on the PDA list is triggered for purchase when a patron directly accesses the title, guaranteeing that only those titles with significant usage are purchased.

There are e-book packages offered on an annual subscription basis with unlimited simultaneous user access at a fraction of the cost of purchase. The packages include a large number of titles across a broad range of subjects, with new titles added regularly at no additional cost.

A new option is the short-term loan model for libraries that need to fulfill a patron title request but do not wish to purchase the title outright. This rental option can also help libraries avoid turn-aways for titles with high check-out probability.

There is a wealth of difference in how we experience a book electronically, depending on the kind of book it is – fiction, nonfiction, a scholarly work, an encyclopaedia, a dictionary, or, indeed, not a book at all, but rather a magazine.

Within an e-book, users have extensive options for navigating, searching, note-taking, saving, downloading, exporting citations, and creating durable links to pages or chapters. As an aggregator, EBSCO is not able to control the content of e-books but having e-books available on our platform allows users to cross-search magazines, journals, newspapers and other types of content along with e-books. Libraries have to understand the various platforms, content, and methods of collection development available and integrate this understanding in their current processes.

Lack of patron understanding of e-book models can cause frustration when they find that an e-book is not available. This is beginning to be less of a challenge as more and more publishers are making their content available under an unlimited user option.

EBSCO has partnered with YBP to allow librarians to order EBSCO e-books through GOBI3. This partnership means that librarians accustomed to selecting and managing their e-book collections through GOBI now have additional access options for the nearly 370,000 e-book titles from EBSCO. EBSCO has also partnered with Ingram to allow ordering through OASIS. These partnerships allow libraries to buy EBSCO e-books without creating a new workflow for their selectors and approvers.