eContent Quarterly Issue 1: Partnering for Sustainable Collections and More

By Patrick Hogan |


ALA TechSource has published its first "official" issue of eContent Quarterly, edited by Sue Polanka and Mirela Roncevic. During the summer, we published the preview issue, still available for download in PDF, EPUB, and MOBI formats. Now we’re ready to take your subscription order and deliver Vol. 1, No.1. Regularly priced at $150, one-year subscriptions are now $99 with this coupon code: SECQ13.

Access to the current issue and the archive as it builds will be by email account and password authentication. As you place your order in the ALA Store, you’ll be prompted for a name, email address, and institution for the account. A confirmation email will provide information for accessing your first issue.

Over at No Shelf Required, Mirela and Sue have described the Issue 1 articles in their announcement post . As a publisher to the library community, I appreciated the article “Supplying and Collecting Books,” by Michael Zeoli, of YBP. Calling for engagement across the supply chain, Zeoli writes, “What is common knowledge in one part would be better known in other parts; removing some of the surprises would lead to to more realistic expectations and better outcomes.” Supporting such an exchange of information is in fact the goal for eContent Quarterly.

Michael shares some numbers on the obvious growth of e-book availability in academic publishing. In the past couple of years, YBP’s availability of simultaneous print and electronic versions of books has gone from 6 percent to 40 percent of books, and sales of e-books have increased from fewer than 500 per week to nearly 10,000.

The article compares sales data of two similar, unnamed publishers along with number of titles made available across three unnamed e-book aggregators. The publisher making more titles available was more successful in gaining library purchases. But the issue is not one of making content available or not, but doing so sustainably. The downward pressure of library budgets moves up through the supply chain. Also, the trend of deferring print and e-book orders to Demand Driven Access or Short Term Loan poses the most immediate threat to sustainability for publishers and vendors. A much-talked about metric at a recent meeting of nonprofit publishers was that the gross revenue on STL was averaging $2. Not sustainable. Hopeful that “outstanding solutions” are out there, Michael advocates for partnerships among consortia, publishers, and vendors, citing the MaRLI collection model with Oxford University Press and its partners as an example.

Subscribe to eContent Quarterly. You will learn about digital content marketplace with perspectives from both vendors and librarians.