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Elizabeth Lorbeer's picture

Recap on Publisher-Vendor-Library Relations Interest Group (PVLR-IG) Annual Meeting Discussion, June 27, 2011

As monograph collections transition away from print holdings, Managing Your Future E-Book Collection, a panel sponsored by the Publisher-Vendor-Library Relations Interest Group, focused on new opportunities and challenges among librarians, vendors and publishers.  Michael Zeoli, from YBP Library Services, gave a historical review of book publishing from the Renaissance era.   Both early and today’s modern book publishers share the same problems, including product costs, multiple versions and marketing their content.  This introduction led Zeoli to discuss the steady growth of digital e-book content being offered for sale.  Many books are still only available in print format and none of the e-book platforms offer comprehensive access to the publisher’s front list collection.  Approximately 20% of new titles profiled by YBP are available online, but even less if the title is earmarked for demand driven access or short term loan.  Melanie Schaffner from Project MUSE spoke about e-book challenges that include availability of content from publishers, lack of industry standards, and sales models.  Further discussion focused on development of subject collections, determining pre-publication pricing, and most importantly keeping the sales transaction simple.   Ms. Schaffner touched upon complicated issues such as eILL and demand driven models which are still untested by many publishers.  The last speaker was Beth Fuseler Avery, from the University of North Texas, who created a punch list of twenty items that affect how libraries acquire e-books.  Most notable is that most electronic titles are still not immediately available for sale at the same time as their print counterpart.  This delay means the library will have to wait for the electronic version to be released, and if the title is urgently needed for the collection they may have to purchase the print format.  Ms. Avery touched upon the differences in print vs. electronic acquisitions and discussed cataloging, access and archiving issues which are very different from traditional collection practices.  Ms. Avery called for more platform options and the freedom to buy a chapter or title on demand to fit specific needs of the institution.