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Buying by the Bucketful for UKSG

A comparative study of eBook packages for the UKSG Conference 2011

Terry Bucknell

on 17 October 2011

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Transcript of Buying by the Bucketful for UKSG

Buying by the Bucketful Now budgets are tight...

Are these packages being used enough?
Are they giving us good enough value?
Can we afford them in the future?
Would PDA be better value?
Back to title selection?
Study the evidence... Our STM depts choose to spend 95% of their library budget on journals.

But when eBooks are made available they account for 40% of usage on SpringerLink. eBook purchases are a medium to long-term investment for the future, with no 'back history' of usage data.

We make journal renewal decisions based on the past year's use, mainly of previously-purchased articles published in previous years. After 1 year of ownership about 45% of titles have been used

After 2 years of ownership about 65% of titles have been used Experiences from Japan

Waseda University

eBooks are 44% of SpringerLink downloads

University of Tokyo

40% of titles used in first year of ownership
60% of titles after two years of ownership

Told you we were typical! Liverpool's experiences
with Springer... Scope for prioritising which subjects to buy in the future? Are we seeing subjects starting to plateau out at 3 different levels? Or will they all plateau out at about the same level and just take very different lengths of time to get there? So if we only need 20% of the titles to get 80% of the downloads, the other 80% of the titles aren't needed and we just need to find a way to choose the right 20%...

Right? WRONG! Single eBook titles on
aggregator platforms

Chosen by academics, or
heavily-borrowed in print 3 titles (out of 465)
account for 21%
of full-text access 1 title (out of 190) accounts for 35% of full-text accesses A third of titles have had 2 full-text accesses or fewer - in 33 months of ownership!

Is that any better than buying a package? A slightly higher proportion of low use titles than a hand-picked collection.

But not bought at full price!

But with Patron Driven Acquisition all titles are used.

So that must be the best solution...

Right? "models don't matter, only prices do" really? ebrary PDA model

Purchase triggered by:

10 page turns in a title in a user session (not including front matter or index)
10 minutes in a title in a user session
1 x copy and paste from a title
1 x print from a title model this using COUNTER stats from packages

make assumptions:

Liverpool ebrary stats show average pages per session = 11

Assume each session is for a single book (sessions usually start at catalogue, so not unrealistic?)

'Average of 11' means <11 pages read in half of sessions

Model by saying any book with 2 chapters downloaded or more in a Springer BR2 report would be a purchase under the ebrary PDA model

Conservative: says no books with a single chapter download would be purchased under the ebrary model other PDA models have a higher purchase threshold, but:

rental costs for not-yet-purchased titles

purchase titles at > list price because of prior rental For price of package, could only buy titles with 7 or more chapter downloads at list price

What PDA model is going to better that? Conclusions My ideal (e) books portfolio:

Packages where they give best value

Full-text eBook databases to give a cheap critical mass of 'stuff'

Single title selections for core texts

PDA to fill the gaps, not to form the foundations

Much like our (e) journals portfolio in fact Implications for publishers:

Discounts of 10%, 20% or 25% (or nothing!) off total list price do not make an attractive package proposition - PDA would be cheaper.

Need to see a 50% discount for an offer to be worth considering

At a discount of 70-75% its probably a no-brainer (if you publish relevant content)

Better to sell packages to lots of libraries at low cost, than to a few libraries at high cost, or a few books to many libraries at full price?

Boost sales of eBooks, give libraries cuts to journals expenditure by bundling 'content' together and dividing the price differently Implications for libraries:

Need to centralise book budgets

Rapid movement to e-only book acquisition

A hard sell to (some) faculty

Implications for space, staffing, services

Spend more on e-content, less on servicing dead trees Since Oct 2006 we have purchased (or subscribed to) 19 eBook bundles

Mainly end of financial year purchases

A good way to spend end-of year funds for the benefit of the maximum number of staff and students

Better than e-journal backfiles? Founded 1881

Research intensive (Russell Group)

Most disciplines:
Biological Sciences
Veterinary Science
Physical Sciences
Social Sciences & Law
Management School

Fairly representative (?) Purchased all-subjects collections:

©2005-2008 in July 2008

©2009 in June 2009

©2010 in January 2010

©2011 in January 2011 I'm cheating!

Our 2008 purchase included 2005-2007 at very little cost

But that's one of the benefits of buying packages

So let's take out 2005-2007 and adjust the 2008 payment down a little 3 package purchases in this period adds complexity

3 tranches of content exposed to the PDA model

Let's look at a single year's collection for clarity... Duh... you did the modelling wrong then! Iowa ebrary PDA pilot

Deposited $25k to start
19k MARCs loaded (meant to load 100k)
Started Oct 1
By Nov 30 spent $28k on 262 titles
Weekly spend increasing
Bought Wiley, Springer, Elsevier packages
Slashed the titles exposed to PDA
Carry on... Evidence-based purchasing

Pay a modest sum up-front
A year's access to everything
At the end decide what to retain access to
Up to the price you've already paid
Unless you want to pay more

Foolproof? But a useful evidence base to agree on fair pricing for a package? We've already done it!

Started July 2007 with a year's access to everything
After 1 year purchased ~580 titles with 7,150 downloads
In Year 2, 77% were used, 4,686 downloads
In Year 3, 73% were used, 5,848 downloads
61% were used in all 3 years
What about the titles we didn't buy?
How well would they have been used in years 2 and 3? Other things to think about... Charge much less, sell much more Mark Ware, ASA Conference 2011 War is declared at the ASA Conference "can't pay" "won't pay" "Tough. Get more efficient (like publishers already have)" Phil Sykes,
University of Liverpool David Prosser,
RLUK David Hoole,
NPG Crisis in academic monograph publishing

Print run 3,000 in 1980, 350 now
Wouldn't OA be great?
But how to fund it?
Who's awash with money? Libraries! (??)
International Library Coalition for Open Access Books (ILCOAb)

Frances Pinter,
TOC 2010
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