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Eduserv e-Book Survey 2010

A summary of the responses to Eduserv’s recent survey of current and future institutional attitudes to e-books is now available. For those of you who don’t want to read the whole thing (25 pages or so), the executive summary is excerpted below:

e-Book Survey 2010
During June 2010, Eduserv undertook a brief online survey, targeted primarily at the UK higher education sector, looking at current and future institutional attitudes to e-books, with a particular emphasis on e-book budgets, purchasing and associated decision making. This report summarises the findings of that survey. The survey resulted in 111 responses (from 87 unique institutions), 61% of which were from HE and 20% from FE. Nearly all respondents were from Library or Learning Resources departments

“Executive summary

Background information

These results are based on a survey of 87 respondents carried out in June 2010. 61% of these respondents were from HE and 20% were from FE. Nearly all respondents were from Library or Learning Resources departments.

Current situation

Currently spending on e-books was relatively low with 71% of respondents’ institutions spending less than £20K on e-books in the 2009/2010 academic year (Question 7). This is reflected in the responses to Question 3 where overall 67% of respondents indicated that none or less than 10% of their course modules currently recommend or mandate the use of e-books as part of their recommended reading list.
For the vast majority (81%) of institutions the Library is the main budget holder (Question 6).
From responses to Questions 14 and 15, it is clear that Coutts and Dawsonera are currently the most widely used publishers amongst the respondents.

Factors which influence decision over whether e-books are purchased

There are several factors that influence whether an e-book is likely to be purchased. Some are dependent upon how the publishers make the e-book available, others depend on the target audience of the e-book . Furthermore, general strategies for dealing with e-books vary between institutions. (Questions 10 and 11) .

The most important drivers were from distance learners and general demand from students.

Publishers (Question 11)
 The availability of e-books from publishers
 The cost of the e-book.
 The purchasing model.
 The platform in which the e-book is delivered.

Target audience
 Distance learners were seen to be an important user group for e-books (Question 10).
 Certain subject areas seem to make more use of e-books than others (Question 5).
o Business and Management, Social Sciences, Health and Medicine appear to be the subject areas most likely to recommend the use of e-books to their students.
o Art, Languages and Maths appear to be the subject areas less likely to recommend the use of e-books to their students.

Departmental factors/Institutional strategy (Question 11)
 Cost of maintenance for print books is a driver for e-books
 Library shelf space
 Departmental budget.
o Amount (Increases/decreases)
o There were indications that e-books tend to be purchased at the end of the year to use up budget
 General policy – For example, provision for accessibility.

Resource details

The level of demand for the title affects the decision to purchase an e-book. In particular, if it is likely to be widely used for short period then an e-book version of a title is more likely to be purchased. Furthermore, if a title is on the reading list, then an e-book version of the text is more likely to be purchased.

Preferred purchase models

There appear to be two purchase models for e-books:
 One off outright purchases
 Subscription models

Generally one off outright purchase models (Question 12) seems to be preferred for the following reasons:
 Easier to budget for
 Ease of administration
 Clarity of ownership

Although subscription models are less popular (Question 13), they are thought to be useful in situations where content is likely to go out of date and they may be less costly than outright purchases.

Future predictions

A large proportion of the respondents foresaw a significant growth in the use of e-books over the next 2 years with 77% of respondents thinking that the use of e-books would double (or more than double) over the next two years (Question 4).

However there was a lot of uncertainty over the increase in budget for e-books for the next 2 years. Only 33% planned an increase of over 100% for the e-books budget and around half of the respondents did not know what the increase would be. This is partly because many institutions do not have a separate e-books budget. (Question 8)

It seems likely that any increase in the use of e-books is likely to have more impact on print books than on other library resources. (Question 9)

Overall conclusions

Although current use of e-books is relatively low, the respondents predicted a high rate of growth over the next two years. However, predictions for future budgets do not appear to be in line with the predicted increase in use of e-books, and this indicates that there may be a shift in funding from printed books to e-books.”

Download full report here (25 page PDF)


Posted on: August 17, 2010, 11:12 am Category: Uncategorized

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