23:3 (2008:09) 23rd Conference (2008): Tactics Session: E-Books vs. Print

August 27, 2008 at 11:26 pm | Posted in Tactics Sessions | Leave a comment


E-Books Vs. Print: Which Is the Better Value?
Jonathan Bunkell, Elsevier
Reported by Amy Carlson

ScienceDirect provides three different types of electronic book collections at present: major reference works, book series and their e-book collection of monographs. Jonathan Bunkell presented research conducted by Elsevier to determine advantages and cost effectiveness of a distinct subset of electronic books that they offer. They looked at expenditures, usage statistics and access information from members of the Association of Research Libraries (ARL), the Society of College, National and University Libraries (SCONUL), and the Council of Australian University Libraries (CAUL) to assist in their value comparisons.

Their results show that electronic books are substantially more cost effective than print. Electronic books offer greater access and discoverability, and increase usage and cross linking between titles and resources. In a comparison of cost per use between a print and an e-book, where print factors include the processing and housing of the book, e-books’ cost per use appears lower and decreases over time and with uses. E-books offer greater accessibility than the print version, particularly if more than one online viewer accesses the book at a time. Off campus usage increases the overall usage for a title. Cross linking connects different online resources, offering greater contextualized information and a richer picture of where information sits within a broader discipline.

Bunkell noted the importance of putting books online on a highly accessible, familiar research platform to generate more usage. Models for pricing include usage, subscription, and perpetual access. He concluded the presentation by asking the audience, if, after experiencing the iPod, they would return to the walkman

Questions at the end of the session clarified some of the cost analysis factors and pricing models discussed in the presentation.


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