Posted by: bluesyemre | January 31, 2019

#LibraryAcquisition Patterns – Katherine Daniel, Joseph J. Esposito, Roger C. Schonfeld


Executive Summary

The Library Acquisition Patterns (LAP) project was undertaken with the support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation with the aim of examining trends in US academic libraries’ book purchasing. The project utilizes data supplied by libraries that record their acquisitions in either Ex Libris’s integrated library system, Alma, or OCLC’s WorldShare Management Services (WMS). The sample of acquisition items is limited to print and electronic books acquired on a one-time, title-by-title basis within a specified price range to mitigate the inclusion of miscategorized items. This is in contrast to information materials acquired via subscription and/or grouped together within a package, which may also be important mechanisms for acquiring book content in many academic libraries.

The findings of this report consist of two distinct areas: 1) an analysis of library book acquisitions within the specified sample for fiscal year 2017 at 124 US academic institutions, and 2) a trend line analysis of print and e-books acquired within the specified sample, the university press presence in these libraries, and the leading vendors of books at 51 US academic institutions for fiscal years 2014 through 2017. While these samples are not representative, they afford a broader overview of the acquisitions patterns and practices of US academic libraries than we believe has ever been conducted to date.

The key findings from the review of 2017 acquisitions include:

  • On average, the libraries in this study spent $3.61 million in 2017 and added 4,750 print books and 345 e-books acquired on a one-time, title-by-title basis within our sample
  • Ongoing resource expenditures account for three-quarters of total materials expenditures, while only a fifth go toward one-time resource expenditures
  • Serials and other continuing resources, which fall under ongoing resource expenditures, account for more than 60 percent of total materials expenditures; books, many of which are one-time resource expenditures, constitute 24.5 percent of materials expenditures
  • Libraries spend 42.6 percent of their print book budgets on humanities titles. Forty-nine percent of books added by libraries to their collections were in the humanities
  • Social science titles accounted for 32 percent of both the total e-book expenditures and the number of e-books obtained, making this field the largest for e-book acquisitions
  • University presses held 23.6 percent of the print book market and 18.5 percent of the e-book market. Oxford and Cambridge unsurprisingly made up the largest share of the university press market
  • GOBI Library Solutions is the dominant vendor of both print and e-books within our sample. Amazon is the second largest print book vendor but trails by a wide margin, and has no meaningful presence in the e-book market
  • The majority of university press book acquisitions are made through GOBI and Amazon

The key findings for the 2014 to 2017 trend line analysis include:

  • Library material expenditures increased in real terms, with more than 70 percent of expenditures going toward ongoing resources and between 16 and 21 percent going toward one-time resources
  • Expenditures made for print books obtained on a one-time, title-by-title basis decreased year to year, while e-book expenditures obtained in the same way experienced a net increase; however, within this sample of books, expenditures for these e-books were not increasing enough to offset the drop in spending on print books
  • The average cost of an e-book in our sample rose by 35 percent between 2014 and 2017, while the cost of print books remained stable
  • Print book expenditures in each disciplinary field declined, with humanities titles seeing the smallest drop and STEM the highest
  • The social sciences accounted for the highest expenditures in any field for e-books, and e-book expenditures in the social sciences and humanities increased
  • All degree-granting institutional types experienced a decline in their average print book expenditures, but have more varied spending on e-books. Only master’s degree-granting institutions saw a decline in e-book expenditures
  • One-time expenditures for university press print books fell by 17.7 percent between 2014 and 2017. However, the proportion of university press titles being acquired compared to commercial press titles has remained relatively stable, with the former accounting for approximately 20 percent of one-time print book expenditures across all four years
  • While expenditures for university press e-books saw wide fluctuations from year to year, there was effectively no net change in spending
  • GOBI and Amazon were the leading vendors of print books in our sample, but libraries acquired print books from a variety of specialized vendors to meet their collection needs. GOBI was the leading vendor of e-books

Library Acquisition Patterns (Full report)


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