Panel 13, May 31, 2011, 2:00 pm-3:00 pm

Moderator:     Adán Griego, Stanford University
Presenters:     Melissa Guy, Arizona State University; Felipe Varela, e-libro.com; Lluis Claret, Digitalia; Barbara Casalini, Casalini Libri
Rapporteur:    Meagan Lacy, Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis

These presentations focused on e-book trends from the perspectives of students, academic librarians, and vendors.

Adán Griego opened the panel with a PowerPoint presentation introducing the evolution of the e-book, emphasizing that the availability of e-books in Spanish are not meeting user expectations. Griego cited a study in Library Journal to show that academic libraries are ripe to provide e-books in Spanish. Griego also cited an informal survey (sent out to SALALM libraries) that collected information about which platforms these libraries used (Ebrary, Netlibrary, Digitalia, Alexander Street Press) and whether or not, to the respondents’ knowledge, they provided content in Spanish. These results implied that public libraries are more ready than academic libraries to provide e-books. Anticipating skepticism, Griego stressed that e-books are a solution to space issues in libraries and that future college students, “digital natives,” will expect to have access to e-books. Griego concluded the presentation by listing resources academic librarians can peruse in order to keep current about the e-book market. Resources included: Blog de Libros y bitios (http://jamillan.com/librosybitios/), Libros electronicos (open group on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/groups/universoebook), and Javier Celaya (on dosdoce.com).

Melissa Guy continued the panel discussion (see PowerPoint here) describing how the systematic, patron driven acquisitions (PDA) program at Arizona State University (ASU) has affected e-book usage. ASU serves over 70,000 students in the Phoenix metropolitan area, many enrolled in its distance education programs. In order to serve this scattered student body, ASU prefers electronic sources. Due to the recession, however, ASU was unable to purchase anything for its collections between 2008 and 2010. This environment forced ASU libraries to devise a new system.

In 2009, Guy noted, ASU partnered with Coutts because they could provide an immediate, e-preferred approval plan. This plan had three components to accommodate the purchase of electronic books, books in print, and books from university presses. E-books are collected using a three-click model. Records to titles not exceeding $150 and that fit subject parameters are streamed in the catalog and after the third user clicks on the title, that e-book is purchased (so two uses are free). For print books, again records are streamed in the catalog, and titles are purchased automatically (through acquisitions) after the first click. Books from university presses are collected using the more traditional approval plan method (arriving automatically in print). One challenge with this system is deciding when to stop streaming MARC records in the catalog after they have been loaded (i.e. how to remove records to materials not purchased). ASU can buy books from other e-book vendors, but the PDA program runs on the Coutts My iLibrary platform.

At this point, there are 4,700 MARC records for print titles. E-books were loaded in 2009. It took an additional year to get print titles going because of backend issues. Because the plan is e-preferred, ASU has a 90-day hold on print titles. What this means is that when a print title is available, Coutts waits 90 days to see if the title will be made electronic, at which point it will be streamed as an e-title. If there is no e-version after 90 days, the record to the print title is streamed. If a book available in print becomes available as an e-book, the electronic book record replaces the print record, which has caused challenges for acquisitions.

Not surprisingly, social sciences and humanities disciplines dominated print titles, while demand for e-books was led by STEM disciplines. Almost all print books were selected by faculty (45%) and graduate students (40%). In FY2011, ASU spent $100,000 on print titles from University Presses, $152,000 on PDA e-books, and $24,000 on print books (much of these orders were fulfilled by Amazon since Coutts doesn’t have titles in stock).

Another challenge, according to Guy, included assessment as well as implications on area studies and foreign language collection development. Involving subject librarians from the beginning, continuing the approval plan with university presses, and permitting firm orders have all worked to mitigate some problems. When the PDA program was established all of the regular fund codes were eliminated, so subject librarians were drawing from the same pool of money for firm orders. Presently, since less money is spent on PDA, more money is available for firm orders. Also, area studies librarians were the exception; they had their own budget outside of firm order funds, so approval plans with international vendors could remain in place.

Following Guy, Felipe Varela (e-libro.com) opened his presentation by providing updates about changes happening at e-libro. First, ProQuest bought ebrary, and ebrary and e-libro have been working in tandem since 1999. So, ebrary and ProQuest will now distribute e-libro around the world. Ebrary will distribute e-libro in the United States; ProQuest will distribute e-libro throughout the rest of the world. Also, if any libraries subscribe to Academic Complete with ebrary, they can now update to Academic Complete con Español, which includes approximately 3,700 e-libro’s titles. The e-libro’s platform is exactly the same as ebrary so the features (highlighter, dictionary, translator) and the process for searching the text are familiar except that the searches can now be accomplished in Spanish. Students can print twenty pages a session or 40 pages per day – a restriction e-libro grants in order to please publishers and thus sign them. Also, every student can create their own library, which allows them to save their highlighted text and notes for later review. Currently e-libros holds about 45,000 titles including theses, articles, and books. Every year, e-libros is building momentum, and it is getting easier for the company to obtain new titles. For instance, they currently have 86 titles from Fondo (working toward another 200), Instituto Politécnico Nacional, UNAM, and Universidad de Guadalajara. In Spain, they have Siglo XXI. Other titles come from the Universidad de Buenos Aires and Grupo Planeta.

 

Valera further explained that the price for e-libro depends on FTE at the university. Worldwide, e-libro has approximately 500 clients – doing well especially in Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, and Peru. In the US, they have four clients (all in Florida because Varela lives in Florida). Since e-brary is now distributing e-libros titles, e-libros expects to have more US clients.

 

Next, Lluis Claret (Digitalia) introduced his products and services. Digitalia was formed five years ago with a mission to provide quality e-content to libraries without disrupting traditional models for selection and acquisitions. The company has concluded that there are basically two purchasing models: subscription and ownership. Subscription works well in Latin America but not the US, where libraries prefer perpetual access. Claret admitted that PDA is a third option but intimated that it is not realistic for publishers who would be forced to do more “commercial stuff.”

 

Digitalia offers three purchasing models where customers can subscribe, buy, or lease-to-buy. New York Public Library uses this latter model, which allows them “the best of the subscription” as well as some perpetual rights. One feature that sets Digitalia apart from other vendors is that they provide subscriptions to e-books and e-journals. In addition, all titles are accessible by multiple users, and users can print as much as they want. The platform is very similar to myilibrary. Claret emphasized that Digitalia is academic and research focused and is working mostly with academic libraries. Digitalia is committed to acquiring quality academic titles in Latin America and the Caribbean as quickly as possible.

 

Finally, Barbara Casalini (Casalini Libri) explained how Casalini Libri, founded in 1958 in Italy, is fulfilling its mission to bring publications in the Romance Languages to Academic Libraries worldwide in the digital age. Its digital division started in 2000, and in 2004 they launched Editoria Italiana Online (EIO) and in 2006 Edición Española Online (EEO).

 

Recently, the EEO platform was launched. To demystify how Casalini Libri operates, Casalini explained the process of acquiring e-content. First, she said that they contact publishers who provide a print-ready PDF of the content. Then, MARC records are created. Finally, they sign the Digital Rights Management contract. The objective is always to develop a collection that is of enduring value to libraries (“long tail” titles). Casalini acknowledged that libraries need to know what content is available electronically in a timely manner.

 

Next, Casalini demonstrated EEO, mentioning that it holds approximately 500 books from 14 publishers and is growing. Spanish content is provided in the eBook format only (as opposed to being divided into clickable chapters), but features will eventually be enhanced. Currently, the subject content is focused heavily in Social Sciences and Law though subject content is expected to grow.

 

The new EEO platform was designed to sustain different economic models and meet Web 2.0 expectations. Its interface is available in 5 languages (Spanish, English, Italian, German, and French) and allows for customizable skins (to match institutional theme). From the user end, libraries can choose to either show e-content that it has acquired or show all of the content available, accommodating PDA in a variety of manifestations. Also, the platform was designed with federated searching (SUMMON, PRIMO Central) and usage statistics in mind.

 

In the future, Casalini Libri aims to acquire more titles from university presses and content that is already available in Open Access and to design a mobile interface. Finally, it is striving to facilitate agreements with CLOCKSS and Portico to promote digital solutions to publishers in Spain and Portugal and to collect more regional content.

 

Questions & Comments:

 

Jesús Alonso-Regalado (University at Albany, SUNY) questioned the fairness of pricing models based on FTE since Spanish readers are a minority on university campuses, and he asked the vendors whether or not they charge customers for Open Access content (such as that from CLASCO). Varela responded that FTE is the best solution they currently have to charge customers and that customers pay for a subscription – whether or not some of the individual titles are freely available. (E-libro was deleting free content, but customers complained when titles started to disappear from the database.) Casalini said that Open Access content has no fiscal bearing on the subscription price. Valera added that whenever e-libro signs a publisher, he only obtains what the publisher wants to give. In other words, he does not obtain exclusive rights. So, publishers are able to put their content anywhere else they choose, including through Open Access channels.

 

Peter Johnson (Hunters Point) asked what consideration the vendors have given to important publications (monographic and serial) that are issued by Think Tanks, NGOs, and branches of the government (at a national, provincial, and city level). Valera said that e-brary has close to half a million titles from NGOs and the like, but e-libro, still concentrating on finding publishers and university presses, is not even close to that number. However, he added that e-libro hopes to gather this kind of content in the future. Claret cited a publication from the government in Valencia that is included in his database and said that it took him three years to negotiate the deal – suggesting that the dearth of these kinds of publications might be traced to the time consuming process associated with obtaining them. Casalini agreed with Claret’s comment, saying his experience resonated with her own.

 

Patricia Figueroa (Brown University) addressed Casalini, asking whether or not she had plans to merge EIO, EEO, and any other platforms. Casalini clarified that the content is already available from one platform but that the interface is available in five languages.

 

Melanie Polutta (Library of Congress) asked Guy how they are receiving MARC records for titles they are streaming but haven’t yet been purchased. Guy replied that Coutts supplies those records but that for items obtained through Amazon, additional processing the MARC records is required on the part of ASU Libraries.

 

Martha Mantilla (University of Pittsburgh) asked the vendors whether or not, when they negotiate with publishers, they obtain exclusive rights. Claret responded that, though they do have some exclusivities, this is not always the case. They are not pushing for exclusivity because it is so difficult to obtain exclusive agreements. In the future, he expects to see that many platforms will have similar content and that it will then be up to the customer to decide which platform she wants to use. Mantilla restated her question, asking whether or not a publisher granting exclusivity to Digitalia could also sell that content to e-libro. Both Claret and Varela said that in the case of an exclusive agreement, no, but that such instances are rare. Now, agreements are almost always non-exclusive.

 

Miguel Angel Valladares (Dartmouth College) addressed Guy wanting to know whether or not there is a limit to the amount patrons can spend. In response, Guy recommended first that the audience participants interested in PDA go to the Library-Bookdealer-Publisher Relations committee meeting where Holly Ackerman (Duke) is expected to give a talk about PDA at Duke. Then, she explained that at ASU the library has the ability to deactivate this feature at any time. In addition, ASU Libraries set aside a large reserve of funds in case “people went nuts.” As it turns out, people didn’t abuse this feature, and ASU actually had a surplus for firm orders. Valladares followed up, asking whether or not ASU publicized the feature. Guy said that ASU libraries did not publicize PDA at all. Valladares’ also wanted to know how many eBooks titles ASU was able to acquire. Guy said that she would find this information and contact Valladares directly. In jest, Valladares asked Guy if he could use her name with his Coutts representative.