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Managing Your Future E-Book Collection - Review by Kay Granskog

“Managing Your Future E-Book Collection” was the theme of the Monday, June 27th  PVLR Forum. 

Michael Zeoli, YBP Library Services referenced The Book in the Renaissance by Andrew Pettegree and reminded that e-books are still developing.  Books were not standard at one time and while history has shown the significance of Guttenburg’s contribution he died discouraged and penniless.  Today, 20% of the e-books YBP handle are published simultaneously with print; last year 6%.  Those numbers are low for anyone considering patron-driven acquisitions; consortia deals for e-content; and short loans for titles that may have been purchased in earlier in print.  Libraries still expect vendors to provide comprehensive coverage of publisher output regardless of platform, and duplication control.

Melanie Schaffner, Project MUSE, explained why Project MUSE added e-books to their offerings:  they had a proven track record with e-journals; proven relationships with journal publishers, many of whom also handled e-books; libraries requested it; and users like an integrated experience.

She addressed the opportunities and challenges e-books bring them.  There are synergies to bringing books and journals to a single platform for an established base of users as a built-in customer base with an entity that has 15 years of experience with e-resources.  On the other hand, e-books don’t work like serials. There are many more titles, lack of standards for e-ISBN, pricing concerns, and difficulty creating an accurate depiction of collection content at invoice time.  Project MUSE has to learn about the book supply chain and decide how far they want to venture into this area.

The final speaker, Beth Fuseler Avery, University of North Texas Libraries, compiled issues that Libraries face when thinking about e-books:

            Work on issues now before the other 80% of e-books are published simultaneously!

Libraries struggle with collecting “just in time” versus “just in case.”

 It makes sense that multiple user costs more as multiple copies do but why does single user cost list price with no discount?

Why ARE e-books later than print?

The problem with short-term lease as an alternative to permitting inter-library loan is multiple platforms.  We want a reader that can be used across platforms.

Can a single user license flip to a multi-user license if needed?

In the future will it be article or journal; chapter or book?  What does that do to royalties?

Quality cataloging records matter.  We like call numbers and subject headings.