Document Type



Purpose – This paper aims to provide an assessment of an ebook collection in an academic library, and attempts to locate usage trends by subject and publisher.

Design/methodology/approach – The research was based on: three years of usage data from two e-book packages: NetLibrary and Ebrary; two methods of purchase: NetLibrary was a one-time purchase; Ebrary is purchased on a subscription basis. The research evaluated usage difference over time between the two packages and analyzed subject and publisher usage.

Findings – The research found that Ebrary showed increased usage over time; NetLibrary demonstrated decreased usage; subject analysis showed ebooks in health sciences and hotel had highest usage; publisher analysis results illustrated the fact that five publishers had highest usage in both ebook collections.

Research limitations/implications – For circulation rate of each ebook package, two years of data were not available for Ebrary, resulting in incomplete comparison over three-year period between the two packages.

Practical implications – The paper assists in identifying usage patterns of ebooks across publishers and subjects; compares two different business models of obtaining ebooks; and helps with effective selection of ebooks to support teaching and learning.

Originality/value – Usage data over three years provided evidence to help libraries select a business model for acquiring ebooks; the research provides assessment of ebook collections to identify trends across publishers and subjects.


Academic libraries--Collection development; Collection development (Libraries); Electronic books


Collection Development and Management | Library and Information Science | Scholarly Publishing


Graphs and tables are included at the end of the pdf document.


Post-print used with permission, © Emerald Group Publishing Limited. Published version available:

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