Noticed that an ebook you’ve previously seen no longer appears available? There are several possible reasons, but the most likely one right now is that it was removed from our collection because of its cost. The library has many sources for ebooks, and the largest one is a company called Ebook Library (EBL). We have some 200,000 EBL records in our catalog, of which we own only .6%. The rest are there for access as needed, and we don’t pay for them until they’re actually used. This is a recently developed program called Demand-Driven Acquisitions (DDA). A vastly oversimplified description is that for the first four uses, the library pays a percentage of the full purchase price, and the fifth use triggers an automatic purchase. DDA lets us offer a tremendous range of ebooks at a small fraction of the full purchase price. Over the last four years, we’ve paid less than $500,000 for access to more than $8 million worth of books.
However, in the last two years, many publishers have decided they weren’t making enough money, so they dramatically hiked their fees for those first four uses, which has sent our library’s costs skyrocketing. We’ve shifted some funds from print purchasing to cover the additional ebook costs, but the only way to moderate expenditures for the longer term is to remove the most expensive titles, along with titles from the most expensive publishers.
What to do? If you’re not finding something you’d previously seen, or if you come across a catalog link that doesn’t work (removing the catalog records tends to lag behind the actual ebook access), email us right away, and we might be able to get it back. If we can’t, we’ll work on finding another way to lay hands on the material for you.