EBooks in Special Libraries: Final Report of the Federal Reserve System Libraries Work Group on EBooks

From the Government Info Pro:

Thanks to Luke Mueller, Technical Librarian, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, for this informative guest post: EBooks in Special Libraries: Final Report of the Federal Reserve System Libraries Work Group on EBooks.

Read on…


Luke Mueller (FRB Philadelphia) led the E-Book Aggregators and Publishers Subgroup, which included members Joyce Hannan (FRB Boston), Christine Le (FRB Philadelphia), Coleen Neary (FRB Richmond), and Ryan Williams (FRB Minneapolis). The members of this group evaluated the e-book market with the goal of discovering any services that might benefit the Federal Reserve System libraries. Within the System, there are 13 economic research libraries, including one in each of 12 Districts throughout the country and one at the Board of Governors in Washington, D.C. These library collections support the Federal Reserve’s mission to conduct monetary policy, provide financial services, and regulate the financial system. The e-book work group looked for viable e-book provider business models, notable collections, and generally any e-book services that might make our collections more affordable, usable, and accessible.

The group evaluated 10 e-book aggregators, six retailers, and 23 publishers of economics and business e-books. These entities were evaluated based on several criteria such as the number of titles available, pricing, intended audience, licensing and access, and viewing format and availability through aggregators. The group sought information on how acquisitions, lending, and use might vary from one provider to another, and how e-books can be integrated into current library functions and policies.


Our results show that although the e-book market is still extremely young, it is changing rapidly. More publishers are offering e-books every month, and established publishers are expanding their collections and access options. As a result, the group’s evaluations provide only a snapshot of the market’s rapid changes.

Publishers are looking toward e-books as a major source of future revenue. Covering initial conversion costs and finding reliable sales channels are the biggest obstacles. According to a recent survey,1 75 percent of publishers consider e-books to be of either high or moderate importance for their business strategies and growth. Fifty-three percent of publishers already produce e-books, and 60 percent of those that do not currently publish e-books plan to do so in the near future. From these numbers, one can estimate that 80 percent of publishers will be selling e-books within a few years.

The same survey suggests that publishers are not taking sufficient advantage of existing sales channels. However, we saw several publishers bucking this trend. For example, publishers such as Stanford University, University of Chicago, and MIT presses used a combination of online content providers. These publishers made their e-books available through retailers such as Amazon and Apple’s iBookstore, as well as through aggregators and sales on their own websites. This multiplicity of options creates confusion because, in some cases, each bookseller has its own terms of use and works with only certain devices…

READ THE FULL ARTICLE IN PDF: EBooks in Special Libraries: Final Report of the Federal Reserve System Libraries Work Group on EBooks.

∗ The views expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia or the Federal Reserve System.

Subscribe to the Goverment Info Pro via RSS or Sign Up for Government info Pro E-Mail Updates.

Follow me on @libraryfocus on Twitter.

Leave a Comment

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply