100,000 Books in 5 Countries: What's Really Happening in eLending

A team from Australia has released the results of a large-scale study, reports Rebecca Giblin of Monash University,  examining "the relative availability, licence terms and pricing of almost 100,000 books across the US, Canada, the UK, Australia and New Zealand. An interactive dashboard that allows you to visually query this rich dataset (or download it in its entirety) is available at elendingproject.org, together with tutorials and more details about our methodology."

Rebecca also gave part of the keynote address at IFLA's World Library and Information Congress. Hers is the first 43 minutes of the presentation, which is is also available online, and "contains an overview of some of the most fascinating discoveries we've made from the data." It is well worth a watch!

Some highlights:

1. "For our sampled titles, the US had one of the best availabilities (second only to Canada). Still, it was missing over 11,000 books that were available to its neighbors in other countries."

2. "To our surprise, there were many books that were available to the US on more limited licences than in other countries. For example, the chart I've pasted below shows the distribution of licences in the 15,000 odd cases where they're different across the five countries. It shows the the US (together with Canada and the UK) more often has metered access than One Copy/One User, and that the form of metering is most often loans only (with relatively few time-limited licences). If you download that data from the dashboard, you will also see that US libraries are often asked to pay a higher price for a metered licence than some other countries are, for the same books, on OC/OU terms."

Rebecca concludes "This data is a game changer in terms of shining light on what has really been happening in elending licensing, and raise important questions (which we're now beginning to study) about what it means for reform of law, policy and practice."

RF thanks Rebecca and team for a fascinating study and hopes to further explore some of the results with the team.