May 18, 2022

Mike Kelley on “The Rise in Digital Pricing” and Libraries

From the Publisher’s Weekly “Check it Out” Column by Mike Kelley:

…library pricing is once again in the news, this time for e-books, after a recent decision by at least 17 commercial and university press publishers to increase e-book fees for academic libraries and consortia.


Specifically, the higher fees in question are being levied for “short-term loans” (STL) of scholarly e-books associated with “demand-driven acquisition” (DDA) programs. They were announced in mid-May by the aggregators ebrary and EBL, units of ProQuest, and went into effect June 1 and July 1, respectively.


Officials at Orbis Cascade and CARLI told PW they have been stunned not only by the price increases but also by their timing, given that budgets were already in place when the fees were announced. CARLI launched its DDA project with EBL in May, but, now, just months into the program, it will have to trim the number of titles in its consortial pool, as will Orbis Cascade and BLC.


What’s driving the latest battle over price hikes? In a word, as [Dan] Dyer [head of sales at the Royal Society of Chemistry,] suggests, sustainability. The DDA model was designed to offer library users a free glimpse at e-book content as well as a certain number of fee-based STLs before triggering an automatic purchase at full list price.

The column also includes comments from:

  • Kari Paulson, vice president and general manager for e-books, ProQuest
  • Lisa Nachtigall, director of sales development for digital books, John Wiley & Sons
  • Carol Mandel, Dean of the Division of Libraries, New York University
  • Linda Teresa DiBiase, chair of the Orbis Cascade’s E-book Working Group & a collection development librarian at the University of Washington Libraries
  • Susan Stearns, executive director of the Boston Library Consortium
  • Tony Sanfilippo, assistant director of the Penn State University Press

Read the Complete Column (1673 Words)

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.