This e-Forum was held on December 20-21, 2022. It was co-hosted by Will Stuivenga, Library Development Cooperative Projects Manager at the Washington State Library, and Lisa Sallee, Assistant Director, Ocean State Libraries (RI).
Public Library eBook and eAudiobook collections are facing difficult circumstances due to the increasing use of restrictive (metered) licensing models by major publishers, including licenses that expire after a specified period (e.g., 12 or 24 months) or after a limited number of checkouts. Originally confined mostly to eBooks, publishers are increasingly applying similar restrictive licenses to audiobooks as well. The Covid pandemic and resultant lockdowns put increased pressure on digital collections, with many libraries shifting budgets from print to digital in response. Metered licenses purchased during this period are now expiring, creating a sustainability crisis for many libraries, especially those with limited budgets.
This e-Forum explored some of the ramifications of this situation, asking and discussing how libraries are coping, with the goal of sharing techniques and methods used to mitigate or manage these kinds of problems. Some of the practical questions considered included:
- What is the approximate balance between budgeting for new content for your eBook/eAudio collection vs. money used to fill holds, reduce wait times, and to replace expired licenses?
- What holds ratio does your library use for its eBook/eAudio collection and why? Have you made use of varying holds ratios for different publishers, different license models, or different price points?
- Are expired licenses routinely weeded, or allowed to remain in your eBook collection? What criteria are used for deciding when or whether to replace expired licenses?
Read the full summary (1MB, PDF)