May 17, 2022

Choice Releases Study on Ebook Collection Development in Academic Libraries

From a Publication Announcement:

Choice, a publishing unit of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), conducted a research study to shine a much-needed light on the ways academic libraries are responding to the increased demand for digital content. Highlights include data showing that ebooks are an established part of academic library collections, many academic librarians’ overarching acquisition model favors ebooks over print and both libraries and patrons have fully integrated ebooks into their workflows and practices.

The Ebook Collection Development in Academic Libraries report provides a comprehensive view of academic libraries’ attitudes toward ebooks and audiobooks — including both academic and curriculum-based materials as well as popular fiction and nonfiction — and how they implement the purchase of these titles into their collection development workflow.

The 2020 report was created by Choice and underwritten by OverDrive Professional, a division of OverDrive.

Key findings include:

  • 98% of survey respondents reported providing ebooks at their college or university, including popular fiction and pleasure reading
  • Ebooks comprise one-third of academic libraries’ monograph collections on average
  • More than 50% of academic institutions believe readers are “format agnostic,” and acquisition models focus on the content, not the format
  • 93% of survey respondents cited anytime, anywhere access as the key advantage of providing ebooks
  • 82% of respondents noted their ebook spending has increased compared to what they were spending three years ago
  • 61% of respondents indicated they plan to increase their ebook purchasing budget in the coming year

Source: Choice: “Ebook Collection Development in Academic Libraries: Examining Preference, Management, and Purchasing Patterns”

Survey results show that title-by-title purchases are the most widely used primary acquisition method and that academic librarians view ebook collection development as part of overall collection development rather than a separate strategy. The report also covers important items in budgeting for ebooks on college campuses, the power of data driven acquisition decisions and valuable trends in ebook acquisition. Since the survey examined the state of ebooks both before COVID-19 and at the onset of the pandemic, the results show a clear impact from colleges and universities moving to remote and hybrid learning.

The report was written by:

  • John Novak, University of Maryland, College Park
  • L. Angie Ohler, University of Arkansas
  • Annette Day, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Direct to Full Text Report
66 pages; PDF.

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.