The first part of results of an Australian elending study are available. I hope to be able to send a link to a full write-up of the study (which discusses larger ramifications and has some international comparisons) soon.
You may find it here: The website with the interactive dashboards is now live at elendingproject.org.
This part reviews the five main elending aggregators in Australia using interactive dashboards. There is a tutorial on the dashboards on the site. One can, however, simply start working. For example, if I select Publisher Category “Big 5,” I can then see what number of 546 sample titles are available from the 5 vendor platforms individually and in aggregate, if the same titles are offered in different licensing terms on the platforms, if the same titles are offered at different prices by the vendors, whether titles are available in metered format, etc.
So, why would this part of the study be significant for U.S. and Canadian libraries? First, two of the five vendors are OverDrive and Bibliotheca, who of course operate here. Second, if the same title might be offered in Australia with a different license by different e-book vendors and at different prices, might the same not be true of titles in the U.S. or Canada. For example, in the example above, 19 titles vary in price across platforms by 5 to 10%; 170 vary by 10-20%; 29 vary by 20-30%; 13 vary by 30-40%; 4 by 40-50%; and 9 by more than 50%.
This study is being followed up by a fuller and more statistically significant study of 100,000 titles. I would very much like to replicate at least the smaller study by looking at elending vendors in the U.S. and Canada to see if we could find similar variations in availability, licensing, and prices. I hope it might become a future ReadersFirst project.