New research from Australia has explored how the way eBooks are offered to libraries affect their decisions over what to offer borrowers.
Led by Associate Professor Rebecca Giblin of the University of Melbourne law school as part of the international eLending Project (elendingproject.org), this builds on previous work that has underlined the restrictions, inconsistencies and lack of adaptation to demand that characterises the library eBook market, both in Australia and worldwide.
The new research is based on a survey of libraries across Australia. The researchers sought to understand how publisher licensing practices were impacting library decisions about which ebooks to add to their collections, as well as the trade-offs they were making in balancing scarce resources with their communities’ diverse needs.
Previous work from the library eLending project have identified a series of challenges associated with the library eLending market on the side of suppliers. Not all ebooks are made available for lending (although availability is better in some countries than others). Different publishers take different approaches. Increasingly, they are adopting ‘metered’ (only a certain number of loans are possible) or ‘exploding’ licences (which see the library lose access to a book after a set time, regardless of how many times it has been borrowed. The eLending Project’s previous work had also shown that the licence type and price charged do not necessarily reflect likely demand, with older books just as likely to be made available at high prices and on exploding licenses as the newest ones. But what does this mean for libraries?
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26 pages; PDF.