eBooks ... By the Numbers
PDA: Heating Up in Libraries
PDA, commonly known as an acronym for public display of affection or personal digital assistant (e.g., Palm Pilots), now has a new (relatively speaking) meaning in the book industry: patron-driven acquisition. It's a system whereby library patrons can browse e-books that a library hasn't purchased yet, and as a book is "checked out," the library is charged for single use or for buying the title that then makes it part of the library's collection.
PDA has been increasingly adopted by libraries, and more digital distribution services are offering this as a purchase option, in addition to direct purchase and subscription-based access.
Digital content and service provider ebrary is among the latest to offer PDA to libraries, announcing its new service in mid-October. Its launch includes more than 155,600 e-books for PDA (which can be previewed at Site.ebrary.com/lib/pda) including titles from publishers such as ABC-CLIO/Greenwood, Cambridge University Press, Elsevier, The McGraw-Hill Cos., Palgrave Macmillan, Taylor & Francis and Wiley.
Ebrary joins Ebook Library (EBL), NetLibrary and Ingram's MyiLibrary in offering PDA to libraries, according to an article in LibraryJournal.com. "Nearly all librarians sharing pilot PDA experiences report positive results, to say the least—one report from Duke's patron-driven project indicated that the $25,000 set aside for the project was spent in just 14 days," reported the LibraryJournal.com article. "That quick spending is a testament to the success of the PDA model, said Nancy Gibbs, department head of acquisitions at Duke University, who added that the funds would have been spent even more quickly had the project been advertised. Since joining the ebrary pilot in November 2009, Duke has purchased 347 titles in two similar two-week periods, spending $25,000 and $24,000 respectively," according to the article.
Many publishers have voiced concern over the PDA model, as it would seem to ensure fewer copies of books sold. But with budget cuts widespread among libraries nationwide, the PDA model offers a way for libraries to pay for only what their customers are using.
According to a recent survey by Publishers Communication Group—the results of which were presented at the Spring Conference of the International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers and reported on the No Shelf Required blog (libraries.wright.edu/noshelfrequired):
• 32 libraries (out of the 250 surveyed) have PDA programs in place;
• 42 planned to have programs deployed within the next year; and
• 90 plan to launch a PDA program in the next three years.
Libraries & E-books
On average, 65.9 percent of U.S. public libraries provide access to e-books. Hawaii leads the pack, with 100 percent of its libraries offering e-books.
Source: "Libraries Connect Communities: Public Library Funding & Technology Access Study 2009–2010" study by the American Library Association, reported on Teleread.com.
E-books: More Fun for Kids?
From ages nine to 17, the time kids spend reading books for fun declines while the time they spend going online for fun and using cell phones to text or talk increases, according to a recent study conducted by Scholastic Inc. and Harrison Group. Forty-one percent of parents expressed concern that the use of electronic and digital devices negatively affects the time kids spend reading books.
However, the study also found indications that technology could be a positive motivator to get kids reading: 57 percent of kids (ages nine to17) say they are interested in reading an e-book, and one-third of children ages nine to 17 said they would read more books for fun if they had access to e-books on an electronic device. This included children who read five to seven days per week (34 percent), one to four days per week (36 percent) and those who read less than one day per week (27 percent).
Source: "2010 Kids and Family Reading Report" a national survey conducted by Scholastic Inc. and Harrison Group.