Ward, Suzanne M. and Rebecca A. Richardson. 2016. “Use and Cost Analysis of E-Books: Patron-Driven Acquisitions Plans vs. Librarian-Selected Titles.” In Academic E-Books: Publishers, Librarians, and Users (ed. Suzanne M. Ward, Robert S. Freeman, and Judith M. Nixon, West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Press:127-144.


Many academic libraries have experimented with e-book patron-driven acquisitions (PDA) plans as small projects to test the concept of offering users thousands of titles, yet only paying for them as they are used. At the same time, many librarians continue traditional patterns of buying e-book titles the same way they bought print books for decades – purchasing titles based on their belief that these selections will be ones that local users need. This study shows that many librarian-selected e-book titles suffer the same fate as the traditional model of librarian-selected print books: many receive little or no use. The PDA model is far more effective, both by making large numbers of titles available and by leveraging tight collections budgets. This paper analyzes cost and use factors of three years of data from the Purdue University Libraries’ PDA plan, and examines the same factors for librarian-selected e-books during the same time period. The authors conclude that it may be time to consider moving PDA from its current role as a small ancillary collection development tool to become a major component of an academic library’s monograph collection development program and to suggest that selectors modify their title-by-title selection habits for e-books.


e-books, patron-driven acquisitions, cost analysis, collection development

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