The following accepted for publication preprint is scheduled for publication in the January 2018 issue of C&RL (College and Research Libraries).
From the Introduction
Since publication schedules vary, even between books by the same publisher, knowing how long to wait for an e‐book is difficult. A common practice is to decide on a standard amount of time that a library is willing to wait to see if an e‐book becomes available. Libraries that use approval plans set the length of their wait period for each subject profile. The length of the wait period can be decided based on overall publication patterns, the strength of the library’s preference for e‐books, and the value the librarians or users place on acquiring books promptly after publication. However, there is very little literature on publication patterns to help librarians select the length of their wait period in an evidence‐ based way. With the goal of providing data to help librarians make informed decisions, this paper presents and analyzes recent e‐book publication patterns by subject and asks, is there an optimal wait period that balances the desire to get books soon after publication with the desire to get as many as possible electronically?
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