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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2031/5167

Title: The E-Book conundrum: they don't know how to sell the stuff, and we don't know how to buy it!
Authors: Douglas, Anne
Storey, Colin
Issue Date: 3-Jun-2008
Citation: Emerging Paradigms for Academic Library E-Book Acquisition and Use: Trends, Challenges and Opportunities. Hong Kong, 3 June, 2008.
Type: Presentation
Abstract: JULAC, the Joint Universities Librarians Advisory Committee, through its Collaborative Development Committee, has been involved in a project to purchase a very significant number of western-language ebooks for all its eight member libraries. This undertaking was funded by the Hong Kong University Grants Committee, based upon a ‘consortial purchase - perpetual access’ model. With this rather untested model as a touchstone, this paper describes how the project has been a voyage of discovery on ebook acquisition, not only for JULAC librarians, but also for ebook vendors and publishers. Buying and selling ebooks in a complex, nascent market means librarians can find themselves assailed by a variety of vendors - the vendor’s own branch offices, the publisher, the publisher’s own branch offices - all with offers to buy the same ebook at a different price. When we add to the mix perpetual access, escrow arrangements, access to a single copy of a title by all libraries in the consortium, differing title lists and so on, then we have a very dynamic and sometimes chaotic environment. This paper will discuss the current market for purchasing ebooks from the academic librarian’s point of view. The paper also notes the lessons learnt by the JULAC librarians in their negotiations with vendors and publishers to acquire ebooks with perpetual consortial access, and suggests possible strategies for the future acquisition not only of ebooks and also of e-journals.
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