The EBASS25 project has been funded by JISC to identify feasible models and practical guidelines for acquisition/licensing of e-books as a shared service, with a view to maximizing the benefits for M25 libraries ( Whilst Patron Driven Acquisition (PDA) is a major interest, this work seeks to take a holistic and longer term view of e–Book acquisition options.

Following a well attended workshop in November attended by over 20 M25 institutions (, the project conducted an institutional survey (one response per M25 member) to assess opinions, local commitments and opportunities for consortial action. A total of 30 institutional responses (60% of M25 members) were received to questions covering collection focus, blockages, models, pros & cons of consortia, current suppliers, and open access services.

The priority motivations in offering user e-book choice were:

  • Availability of key titles (e.g. Course Reserve) – 100%
  • Transformation – Encourage user movement to e-access – 80%
  • Enhancement – Supplementing the print collection – 73%

Supporting popularity per se and opening up a long tail of titles were regarded as significantly lower priorities.

The most significant blockages preventing e-books from fulfilling their potential were identified as:

  • Business models offered by publishers – 87%
  • Availability of titles and especially text books – 73%

Issues of devices and formats were regarded as much less significant in academic institutions.

Patron Driven Acquisition (PDA) was approved by a significant majority: 

  • It was seen as a user-centred approach that should be applied to more aspects of the library collection – 80%
  • It was not to be dismissed as a temporary supplier driven tactic – 73%

Best value in e-book acquisition was potentially to be delivered by a range of models that contribute to collection development as well as satisfying immediate demand:

  • Respondents highly valued library driven purchase models informed by usage statistics over a rental period – 90%
  • They also recognized value in models involving the professional expertise of librarians, lecturers, etc – 73%
  • They challenged the value of access based on a rental / subscription model or on a pay-per-use model NOT leading to ownership – 67%

For more information about the e-book acquisition options referenced here you may find this blog post helpful –

A consortium approach to e-book acquisition was expected to deliver value from:

  • Using scale to achieve best price – 97%
  • Making a bigger collection accessible – 97%
  • Reducing the burden of procurement and administration – 80%

In addition every respondent recognized value in sharing expertise.

Most significant concerns about working in a consortium to acquire e-books were:

  • Being driven by subject interests that are not relevant – 80%
  • Being driven by demand from larger institutions – 70%

Complexity and inflexibility of arrangements was not such a major concern.

Further detail on the breakdown of responses is provided in the attached presentation:

130218 EBASS25 Survey Highlights

– Summarised by David Kay & Helen Harrop, Sero Consulting