Giblin et al. (2019b)
|Giblin et al. (2019b)|
|Title:||What Can 100,000 Books Tell Us about the International Public Library e-lending Landscape?|
|Author(s):||Rebecca Giblin, Jenny Kennedy, Charlotte Pelletier, Julian Thomas, Kimberlee G. Weatherall, Francois Petitjean|
|Citation:||Giblin, R., Kennedy, J., Pelletier, C., Thomas, J., Weatherall, K.G., and Petitjean, F. (2019) What Can 100,000 Books Tell Us about the International Public Library e-lending Landscape? Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 19/21|
|Key Related Studies:|
|About the Data|
|Data Description:||Data on 94,328 book titles were obtained via eBook aggregator, Overdrive, including details on authors, publishers, prices and licensing terms.|
|Data Type:||Primary and Secondary data|
|Secondary Data Sources:|
|Data Collection Methods:|
|Data Analysis Methods:|
|Cross Country Study?:||Yes|
|Government or policy study?:||No|
|Time Period(s) of Collection:||
“Introduction: We investigated the relative availability of e-books to libraries for e-lending in five English-language countries, and analysed their licence terms and prices.
Method: We created a unique dataset recording author, publisher, price and terms for 100,000 titles and 388,045 e-lending licences across Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United States and United Kingdom via aggregator Overdrive. We developed new algorithms to estimate the original publication year for each title, and to match titles across jurisdictions.
Analysis: We examined the relationships between title price, age, terms, jurisdiction, publisher and publisher type using various statistical analyses and machine learning.
Results: Price and licence differences across countries are largely attributable to ‘Big 5’ publishers. Prices are largely independent of title age (unless the title is in the public domain) or the rights libraries obtain in exchange. Licence terms are not affected by age either, meaning that the most restrictive terms are often applied to older, less demanded books.
Conclusions: By setting terms independent of titles’ value to libraries, publishers may discourage libraries from adding older and less-demanded books to their collections. We will test this hypothesis in a follow-up library survey.”
Main Results of the Study
The majority of eBooks are offered to public libraries under a ‘one size fits all’ licence; 82.8% of the titles surveyed had identical licensing terms, and 97% had only one licence available in each jurisdiction. Where licence terms do vary, this is usually attributable to the title belonging to one of the Big 5 publishers, and is unaffected by e.g. book age.
Overall, there is little variation in prices across jurisdictions. Again, where price differentiation does occur this is usually attributable to the title belonging to the Big 5, with smaller and independent publishers less likely to vary their prices (due to lack of e.g. resources and infrastructure). Factors such as the duration of the licence and number of checkouts also bear little relation to the licence price, suggesting that licence characteristics are not the most important determining factor here; instead, the study suggests again that titles from the Big 5 have a more significant effect on price.
Policy Implications as Stated By Author
Whilst the study does not offer any explicit policy recommendations, the authors note that ‘one size fits all’ licensing models may dicincentivise the uptake of older titles which, whilst culturally significant, may be valued less in demand when on the same terms as newer titles.