The Patrons Demand, But What Do They Really Want?
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In the last few years, the acceptance and adoption of eBooks in libraries has gained considerable momentum. As platforms become more user-friendly, tablet readers proliferate, and, most notably, aggregators ramp up their marketing efforts through the aggressive promotion of patron driven acquisitions, libraries are racing to embrace electrons and jettison print. But does this always make sense? Working on the assumption that circulation records and ILL requests are a fair gauge of patron demand, we at the TCNJ library have done a study comparing these title records over a three year period to eBook offerings of the major aggregators. The results suggest that libraries cannot yet rely on eBook content to supplant print. This session will detail the methodology of the study and examine the results from both a subject and publisher perspective. Attendees will learn that eBooks meet only a fraction of the demand for monographic scholarly output. They will also be given a quantitative basis for deciding which subjects are best served by a strategy of patron driven acquisitions.