Posted by: bluesyemre | March 23, 2013

Struggling to Satisfy Demand

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  • In the period from January 2011 through June 2012, there were many major events that changed how libraries have been able to provide ebooks and digital audiobooks. As a result of these decisions, the ebook/audiobook market is split between vendors and devices. Costs of content and administrative fees are growing. As aggregate “big data” on ebook usage abounds, not all of that data comes from the perspective of libraries. This period has been critical in laying the groundwork for ebook wars among library vendors. With the market split between vendors who have exclusive access to publisher content, and/or support for dominant ebook format, libraries will feel pressure to add multiple vendors. Libraries that rely on vendor-generated data without looking at their local usage see a distorted picture of how ebooks are affecting libraries. This paper presents data from a small sample of public libraries to get a sense of how public library ebook and audiobook collections are being used. While this paper hardly qualifies as “big data,” the snapshot that it captures presents insights into usage that have not been shown in other reports, surveys or studies.

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