S urvey of Ebook Us age in U.S. Acade mic L ibra ri esTable of ContentsExecutive Summary.4Déjà Vu All Over Again. 4More Ebooks Offered . 5Circulation Trends . 6Ebook Spending Still Up. 6Ebook Purchasing Terms . 7Ebook Subjects and Categories . 7User Experience. 8Ebook Readers and Formats. 9Libraries & Their Vendors. 10Discounts? .10Conclusions. 10Introduction.12About the 2012 Library Journal Ebook Survey . 12Structure of this Report . 12For More Information. 131. Profile of Respondents.14Type of Library . 14Public or Private . 14Number of Total Volumes in Library . 15Acquisition Budget. 16Library Location. 17Respondent Job Title/Ebook Recommendation Authority . 19Ebook Purchase/Recommendation Authority .20Onward. 212. Ebook Collections.22Offer Ebooks . 22Ebook Holdouts .23Number of Ebooks Carried. 25Increased Demand for Ebooks. 27Ebook Formats and Devices . 28Downloaded Ebooks vs. Online Ebooks .29Ebook Formats .30
2012 Survey of Ebook Usage in U.S. Academic Libraries3Ebook Reading Devices .31Ebook Categories and Disciplines. 33Categories in Demand .36Disciplines.37Discipline Growth.39General Conclusions . 41In Their Own Words. . 423. Ebook Acquisition, Licensing, and Circulation.45Acquisition . 45Ebook Purchasing Terms . 48User-Driven Acquisition .50Consortium Program . 51Ebook Usage Statistics . 54Ebook Usage/Circulation Trends. 55Circulation Figures.55Ebook Circulation Increasing/Decreasing .57Barriers to Ebook Consumption. 59General Conclusions . 61In Their Own Words. . 624. Ebooks and Acquisition Budgets.64Ebooks in the Budget . 64Spending On Ebooks.67General Conclusions . 68In Their Own Words. . 695. Libraries and Ebook Vendors .73Vendors Used. 73Preferred Vendors . 76Discounts.78Important Attributes in an Ebook Vendor. 79General Conclusions . 83Appendix .84The Survey Methodology . 842012 Academic Library Ebook Survey . 85 2012 Library Journal. All rights reserved.www.libraryjournal.comSPONSORED BY:EBSCO Publishing & eBooks on EBSCOhost
2012 Survey of Ebook Usage in U.S. Academic Libraries4EXECUTIVE SUMMARYAcademic libraries, those that serve colleges, universities, and other institutes ofhigher learning, have two essential mandates: to serve the student body, whichrequires comprehensive research materials to complete class papers, dissertations,and other projects, and to serve the faculty, who are also heavily immersed intheir own primary research projects, many of which (they hope) end up publishedin the professional academic journals the library may carry. For both groups, anessential part of any research project is a comprehensive literature review, oridentification of what prior research has been done on a given topic. For students,their academic lives and subsequent careers are shaped by the work they do incollege, and for faculty (and the graduate students who work with/for them),professional careers are made or broken by these research projects.Access to research materials—in all their myriad forms—is absolutely essentialfor all. Meanwhile, distance learning programs have made remote access tolibrary materials a necessity, thus further driving the demand for electronic media.Within academic libraries, “ebooks” is a fairly nebulous concept, unlike thegenerally distinct meaning it has in, say, public libraries, where an “ebook” can beessentially defined as an electronic version of a book you would once have beenable to find in print at your local Barnes & Noble. In academia, however, ebookscan have that same definition, but the term can also refer to reference books,electronic reference materials that may not even resemble a book as we know it,1academic journals, scholarly monographs, etextbooks, even long documentsavailable solely as :eb pages.Déjà Vu All Over AgainSince academic libraries were largely ahead of the curve technologically to beginwith, there are not many dramatic changes from last year to this year, or evenfrom 2010 to this year. But, for this market especially, the goal of these surveys isto find out where ebook publishers and vendors can do a better job helpinglibraries serve their users who are increasingly demanding ebook content, andthere is more than enough food for thought herein. The ebook market continues tochurn and evolve—or perhaps devolve, as some librarians might be tempted tosay—and academic libraries are often on the bleeding edge of these changes.There has scarcely been a more contentious relationship between book publishersand libraries when it comes to ebooks. This battle is especially heated in thepublic library space, but fears of piracy have endangered the generally amicablerelationship book publishers have long had with libraries—and in many cases areinterfering with libraries’ ability to serve their users. Our survey this year found1It has been estimated that if Wikipedia—which is often used, with care, in academia—were to be printed, it wouldactually be the size of a entire library (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Size of English Wikipedia.svg). Of course,this hasn’t stopped people from attempting to produce giant print editions of d-book/9136/.) 2012 Library Journal. All rights reserved.www.libraryjournal.comSPONSORED BY:EBSCO Publishing & eBooks on EBSCOhost
2012 Survey of Ebook Usage in U.S. Academic Libraries5continued increases in demand from library users, as well as increased challengesfor libraries to provide this content—and not all of them technological.More Ebooks OfferedAcademic libraries were early adopters of ebooks—we found that the 339 U.S.academic libraries we surveyed this year have been offering ebooks for, onaverage, 5.2 years (i.e., since about 2007), with 19% saying they have carriedebooks for more than eight years (circa 2004).As a result, ebook adoption has plateaued in academic libraries, with 95%currently carrying ebooks. This has remained essentially unchanged in the lastthree years. Changes have occurred within the academic ebook marketplace in thelast year, however, which are reflected deeper in the survey.The number of institutions adopting ebooks in general may be flat, but the numberof ebooks offered continues to rise. The overall percentage hike in number ofebooks from last year to this was 41%.Average number of ebooks offered in Graduate/Professional librariesUndergraduate librariesCommunity College/2-year 025,200138,80080,70032,400Of the very few academic libraries that do not carry ebooks, “no money forebooks” and “waiting to see what the best platform will be” are the top twofactors. Still, the vast majority of this tiny minority admit that they will be addingebooks in the next couple of years, at the latest. Among academic libraries ingeneral, 69% have seen an increase in demand for ebooks.The lead story in this market is all about access; in the 2010 and 2011 surveys, thetop driver of ebook acquisition was “projected usage.” In 2012, the topinfluencing factors are “24/7 access”—selected by 74% of respondents—and“supports distance learners,” cited by 72%. “[Allows] multiple users at one time”is third at 70%.“We would like to purchase more ebooks, but the number of options and choicesavailable means that we have to devote too much of our very limited staff time to thedecision-making process.” 2012 Library Journal. All rights reserved.www.libraryjournal.comSPONSORED BY:EBSCO Publishing & eBooks on EBSCOhost
2012 Survey of Ebook Usage in U.S. Academic Libraries6Circulation TrendsEbook usage/circulation for the 2010–2011 academic year, on average, was24,700, up considerably from the reported ebook circulation figure of 6,849 in2009–2010. There was a major surge of undergraduate ebook circulation.Community colleges are still lagging behind other types of post-secondaryschools.Mean ebooks circulation/usage.Graduate/Professional librariesUndergraduate librariesCommunity College/2-year libraries2009–2010school year2010–2011school year16,2004,8003,20035,88127,5503,873Two-thirds of respondents expect ebook circulation to increase in the next year.Overall, the anticipated increase in circulation expected by libraries is not terriblydramatic, actually declining slightly from 17% last year to 15% this year.“Use slowed last year, we don’t have a full picture of use this year. Prices too highwith few if any discounts.”Ebook Spending Still UpAcademic spending on ebooks, as befits the “plateau” effect remarked uponearlier, is focused on new releases and updates to reference titles and etextbooks.The average amount spent on ebooks by respondents during the 2011–2012academic year was 67,400 (median 16,600). Last year, academic libraries spenton average 65,000 (median 17,500). If projected over the library universe (andaccounting for libraries not offering ebooks), academic libraries nationwide spent 293 million on ebooks in the 2011–2012 school year, up from 249 million inthe previous year.Average amount spent on ebooks.Graduate/Professional librariesUndergraduate librariesCommunity College/2 year libraries2010–2011academic year2011–2012academic year2 99,900 42,600 15,600 142,272 36,356 14,123Currently, ebooks represent an average of 9.6% of academic libraries’ totalacquisitions budgets, while last year they represented 7.5% of the totalacquisitions budget. Community colleges (8.4%) dedicate the highest percentageof acquisition budgets toward ebooks.On average, institutions that offer ebooks predict that ebooks will represent 19.5%of their acquisition budgets by 2017. About one-fourth of respondents speculatethat ebooks will account for greater than 25% of their acquisition budgets in 2017.Still, five-year projections for ebook spending have tempered slightly from thepast two reports.2This is a disproportionately high number likely due to outliers; median spending was 37,500. 2012 Library Journal. All rights reserved.www.libraryjournal.comSPONSORED BY:EBSCO Publishing & eBooks on EBSCOhost
2012 Survey of Ebook Usage in U.S. Academic Libraries7Ebook Purchasing TermsWhen libraries purchase ebooks, more often than not (83% of all respondents)they purchase “perpetual access.” The second most popular option is“subscription” (71%).“User-driven acquisition” is a growing option for many libraries, up from 16% twoyears ago to 31% in 2012. The primary advantage, for three-fourths of librariesthat have adopted user-driven acquisition, is that it helps focus acquisitionprecisely on student/faculty needs. Other reasons cited include the allowance formore choice at a reasonable cost and better budget management.Other purchasing terms are declining slightly.“More publishers need to figure out their models and pick a standard. Competingformats are not helping anyone. HarperCollins model of x number of uses isunacceptable and unusable. Patron-driven acquisition has provided the best modelfor our patrons, and I hope they continue to improve.”The percentage of academic libraries belonging to resource-sharing consortia isessentially unchanged from the last survey at just about six out of ten academiclibraries. However, more than 80% of those that are part of a consortium also buybooks independently.Ebook Subjects and CategoriesBy far the largest categories of ebooks carried by academic libraries are generalnon-circulating reference materials and scholarly monographs. Interestingly,etextbooks continue to lag in the fifth position (30%) in the current acquisitionsrace. They lag well behind reference books (92%), scholarly monographs (91%),classic literature (44%) and even general nonfiction (32%). We suspect thatacademic acquisitions librarians may be taking a wait and see attitude, waiting togauge the trajectory and rate of etext adoption by their faculty first.These category trends reflect current demand from library users. The mostdemanded categories of ebooks were “scholarly monographs” and “reference.”Academic libraries are most likely to offer science, business, and technology titlesin digital form. General trade fiction and bestsellers are not generally offered ine-format.When asked to predict which disciplines would increase in ebook usage over thenext two to three years, no real breakaway emerged. Science and technology headthe list, but the numbers are down from last year. Again, this is due to the plateaueffect: growth in top disciplines has flattened as libraries have accumulated manybacklist or “evergreen” titles. 2012 Library Journal. All rights reserved.www.libraryjournal.comSPONSORED BY:EBSCO Publishing & eBooks on EBSCOhost
2012 Survey of Ebook Usage in U.S. Academic LibrariesIn which discipline(s) do youproject the greatest growth ScienceTechnologyMedicineSocial %n/a29%7%53%53%50%47%46%35%30%19%22%User ExperienceLibrary users confront a variety of barriers to ebook access in academic libraries.The top factor remains “unaware of ebook availability,” although it has been onthe decline for the past three years even as “users prefer print” continues to climb.“Limited titles available” rises to 49%, and “complex downloading process”sprints to 41%.Barriers to user ebook access.Unaware of ebook availabilityUsers prefer printLimited titles availableDifficult to read onscreen/onlineComplex downloading processDigital rights management issuesDifficult to find/DiscoverNot available for preferred devicesLack of trainingDifficult to annotateHigh demand titles not available for librariesEbook titles not available concurrent with printreleaseLimited access to ereading devicesFaculty resistanceLong wait times for ebooksOtherAwkward interfaceNot downloadableLimited concurrent usersPrinting limitationsNone of the above 2012 Library Journal. All rights n/a19%18%8%3%n/a2%1%1%1%SPONSORED BY:EBSCO Publishing & eBooks on EBSCOhost
2012 Survey of Ebook Usage in U.S. Academic Libraries9Ebook Readers and FormatsThe personal laptop or computer remains the top hardware device on whichstudents/faculty read ebooks, but other devices used to read ebooks are starting tomake a challenge. Dedicated ebook readers continue to grow, and the iPad (orsimilar tablets), added to the 2012 survey, debuts at 40%. Note that tablets are inmany cases perfectly capable of replacing laptop computers for the vast majorityof tasks, certainly for ereading or accessing PDF-based documents like journalarticles. Some
Within academic libraries, “ebooks” is a fairly nebulous concept, unlike the generally distinct meaning it has in, say, public libraries, where an “ebook” can be essentially defined as an electronic version of a book you would once have been able to find in print at your
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