Why eBook Subscriptions Score High Among Libraries

Library Resources | April 27, 2017

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Libraries turn to eBook subscriptions for convenience and breadth of content.

Academic libraries have many options when it comes to adding ebooks to their digital library including subscriptions, DDA/PDA, CAM, perpetual purchase and short-term loan. To make matters more challenging, some models require librarians to take into consideration how many users can access the titles since vendors offer one user, three users or unlimited users models. According to the Library Journal survey, while many libraries are using a variety of different acquisition models, one model has overwhelming support: 79% of libraries polled rely heavily on subscriptions.

So why are academic libraries choosing the subscription model over others? It can be boiled down to three key benefits:

Content – Subscriptions contain large selections of popular titles in multiple, high-interest subject areas that add a strong layer of foundational content essential to course curricula and research. In most cases, additional titles are added throughout the year at no extra cost.

Access – Subscriptions provide unlimited usage. Librarians prefer unlimited user access with their ebook purchases to reduce turnaways and provide access to all students.

Pricing – The cost of subscriptions is well below the cost of purchasing perpetual access to all the ebooks available under the subscription. It’s a great way to offer a large amount of discoverable content at a low per title cost.

Are subscription collections the right acquisition model for your library? If you are looking to maximize your budget by adding large amounts of scholarly titles, with unlimited user access from leading publishers, then subscriptions are a great choice. Since not all vendors use the same practices when managing subscriptions, including notifying librarians when titles are added or removed; using filler content (maps, global media, deep backlist, etc.); and including frontlist publication dates that don’t match the MARC record dates, it’s worth taking the time to select an e-book subscription vendor whose policies and practices align with the goals and needs of your library.

Download the Subscriptions Infographic for a quick look at trends and best practices.

Download the Subscriptions Infographic

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