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Shaping a strategy for e-books Louise Edwards JISC Collections Manager Outline What is an e-book? Overview of e-book industry Main issues on supply The lowdown on the aggregators Main issues on demand Economic models Forming a collection Marketing strategy

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shaping a strategy for e books

Shaping a strategy for e-books

Louise Edwards

JISC Collections Manager

  • What is an e-book?
  • Overview of e-book industry
  • Main issues on supply
  • The lowdown on the aggregators
  • Main issues on demand
    • Economic models
    • Forming a collection
    • Marketing strategy
  • Conclusions and discussion
what is an e book
What is an e-book?
  • A device by which to read books online
    • Multi-purpose e.g. Palm
    • E-book only e.g. Glassbook
    • Market specific e.g. GoReader
  • A book delivered by any online platform
    • Device
    • Pc or laptop via the Web
  • Material type
    • Monograph
    • Textbook
    • Reference
e book devices
E-book devices





the supply side
The supply side
  • Phase 1 (Late 1990s to late 2000)
    • Entrepreneurial activity in the US
      • New aggregators e.g. NetLibrary, Questia, Ebrary
      • New distributors e.g. Lightning Source, Versaware
      • New retailers e.g. Swotbooks
  • Phase 2 (Late 2000 to Late 2001?)
    • Funding dries up
    • Lower than expected sales
  • Phase 3 (Late 2001 onwards)
    • Consolidation
    • New players
    • Publisher direct

main supply issues
Main supply issues
  • Availability of electronic format
  • Impact on distribution chain
  • Pricing
  • Understanding user demand
trends availability of electronic format
Trends - availability of electronic format
  • Extremes of digitised assets, from 100% of titles to almost zero*
  • Costs of digitisation means selective conversion
  • Most academic publishers currently have less than 10% of front-list and back-list digitised
  • Even over the next five years, many publishers predict less than half of their content will be digitised*
  • New content will gradually be produced in electronic format as part of publishing process
  • Mixed views on print-on-demand

* Source: Publishing 2001

trends distribution
Trends - distribution
  • Traditional and new players in the distribution chain
  • Some aggregators experiencing the ups and downs of the ‘ revolution’
  • Mixed views from academic publishers on the impact of e-books on the distribution chain
    • Around 50% agreed that distribution chains would change over next 5 years, 50% said not*
    • Many expect growth of direct publisher-customer relationship
    • Mixed views on role of traditional players in chain*

*Source: Publishing 2001

the economics of e books are very different
The economics of e-books are very different
  • The relationship between libraries, booksellers, publishers and end users will change
  • Potential to sell content in a variety of ways
  • Financial transactions
    • outright purchase
    • subscriptions
    • pay-per-view
    • new models e.g. leasing
  • Content delivery
    • ‘complete’ individual e-books
    • subject bundles of ‘complete’ e-books
    • chapters; sub-sections
examples of e book aggregators
Examples of e-book aggregators
  • NetLibrary
    • founded in 1998
    • Close relationship with libraries
    • Traditional library business model
    • Up for sale
  • Questia
    • Established 1998
    • 65,000 items in humanities and social sciences
    • Aimed at end user
    • Subscription period from 2 days to 1 year
e book suppliers 2
E-book suppliers (2)
  • Ebrary
    • Backed by Adobe and 4 large publishers
    • Free browsing, micropayments for output
    • Works direct or with partners
    • Publisher Butterworth-Heinemann
    • New approach to textbook publishing
    • Subscription model
jisc e books working group
JISC E-Books Working Group
  • Mission: to provide leadership in establishing a strategy for the develop of electronic books for the benefit of the academic community
    • Monitor and influence ebook industry
    • Acquire content for the DNER
    • Achieve a sustainable economic model
    • Promote content exploitation
    • Understand impact on institutions, libraries and users
    • Advise on content creation
acquiring content learning from nesli
Acquiring content: learning from NESLI

problems of ‘one-size fits all’ - lack of flexibility of single national deals

library budgets - devolved or centralised

flexibility of choice: bundles; unbundling; linking print and electronic

the economics of e books
The economics of e-books

Clifford Lynch

The battle to define the future of the book in the digital world

  • Can e-books be loaned or given to someone else?
  • Do you own an e-book or have access to it?
  • Can you copy an e-book for personal use?
marketing strategy
Marketing strategy

need to consult community extensively

e-books reps list already established

need to prioritise the targeting of specific content

current US bias in e-book collections

market research to map UK requirements

joint research with publishers?

engage user community in developing e-books collections development strategy

engage publishers in marketing initiatives

user studies
User studies
  • University of Texas
    • One-third of e-book collection used
    • Heaviest use in computer studies, economics and business, medicine, engineering
    • Use of e-books through consortium access
  • Columbia University
    • On-line use concentrated on small number of titles
    • High student, low faculty use
    • Useful for identification, skim and then print
  • Cranfield University
    • No enthusiasm for online working
    • Useful as reference tool
  • Electronic version of a printed book or a new genre?
  • New authoring skills required?
  • Roles and relationship between publisher and author?
  • See history e-book project
  • Need to consult the community extensively
  • Prioritise on specific content
  • Market research to map UK requirements
  • Find appropriate economic models
  • Undertake end-user studies
  • Engage all stakeholders, including publishers and faculty

E-book issues paper