January 28, 2022

New Research Article: “Cost Differentials between E-Books and Print in Academic Libraries” (Preprint)

The following research article (preprint) was made available today on the College and Research Libraries web site. It was accepted for publication on October 14, 2013 and is scheduled for publication in the January 2015 issue of C&RL.


Cost Differentials between E-Books and Print in Academic Libraries


Timothy P. Bailey, Systems Librarian
Auburn University at Montgomery 

Amanda L. Scott, Cataloging Librarian
Auburn University at Montgomery

Rickey D. Best, Collection Development Librarian
Auburn University at Montgomery 


College and Research Libraries (C&RL)


Academic libraries continue to face funding pressures compounded by the need to provide students with access to electronic resources, both in journal and book formats. With space constraints and the need to repurpose library space to other purposes, libraries must carefully examine the move to e-only formats for books to determine if the format makes reasonable economic sense.

A survey conducted at Auburn University at Montgomery (AUM) has confirmed for academic libraries the work of Gray and Copeland on e-books being more expensive than print for public libraries. For AUM, the mean cost for e-books are significantly higher than for the print counterpart of those titles. The cost differentials between the two formats show e-books as being consistently higher than print in initial price. This consistency holds true across all LC classifications, regardless of whether or not the title is published by a university press or a commercial press.

Direct to Full Text (24 pages; PDF)

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) 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 Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.