May 29, 2022

eBooks: “A Demand-Driven Acquisition Model Based on Price”

A report from the University of Kansas Libraries by Lea Currie, Head of Collection Development. This article appears in the July 2012 Issue of Library Connect, an Elsevier newsletter for librarians.

In 2010, the University of Kansas Libraries developed a pilot project to purchase print books using a demand-driven acquisition (DDA) program. Library users can request a purchase through a record loaded in the library catalog. The library rush orders the book and notifies the patron when it arrives, usually within five business days. E-books became the obvious next choice for inclusion in the DDA program, but with two differences from print books. First, e-book records remain in the catalog indefinitely, while print DDA records must be purged after a year because they are likely to go out of print and become difficult to rush order. Second, library users have immediate access to the DDA e-books that they request.

Using Ebook Library (EBL) as our vendor, we take advantage of the short-term loan option, where we “rent” the book at 10 percent of the list price the first three times it is requested, and purchase on the fourth checkout. We based our electronic DDA model on the assumption that most titles will not be used at all, with diminishing numbers for one, two, three and four or more uses. If a subject librarian is fairly certain that an e-book will be requested often, it is cheaper to purchase the book outright, and librarians do have this option.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.