Five From The Hive … Top 5 Most Used EBooks (2021)

Welcome to the start of a new blog series called ‘Five From The Hive’! Librarians love many things, like books (especially the smell of old books ), food and running. Whilst restraining myself from bursting into song like Maria in ‘The Sound of Music’, one of our most favourite things is a list. We do love a good list. Whether it’s a top 5 or a to-do list, we don’t mind. Lists make us feel good! And organised! So, we thought we would put together this series where we can share our top 5 lists on library and Durham-related topics.

We are starting the series with ‘Top 5 Most Used EBooks (2021). The titles featured are the 5 most used individually used EBooks so far in 2021 (Titles from eBook Packages not included, and all information was correct at the time of writing).

Top 5 Most Used EBooks

  1. International Business (3rd Ed) by Mike Peng and Klaus Meyer
  2. The Consuming Instinct: what juicy burgers, ferraris, pornography, and gift giving reveal about human nature. By Gad Saad
  3. Operations Management (9th ed) by Nigel Slack
  4. The Nature of the Mechanical Bond: from molecules to machines by Carson J Bruns
  5. The Gift: the form and reason for exchange in archaic societies by Marcel Mauss

EBook usage has grown steadily over the years, but since the start of the pandemic we have seen a much bigger shift towards eBooks, and as result usage has increased further. Before the pandemic only 30% of book purchases were eBooks. Now approximately 80% of book purchases are eBooks. For most book purchases requests we now buy an eBook where we are able to. By buying eBooks we have been able to continue supporting your teaching and learning wherever our users are in the world.

“But what about print?” I hear you cry…

Don’t worry – we haven’t stopped buying print books. They are still and will continue to be an important part of our collection. So far this academic year we have still ordered over 1000 print books.

There are a lot of benefits to eBooks, such as:

  • Easy access to them from around the world, 24/7
  • Customizing font size
  • Making notes online
  • Not having to carry a bag full of books around!

However, we can’t ignore the fact that there are some down-sides (and we don’t just mean that there’s no lovely smell like with a printed book!) The two main obstacles for libraries are pricing and licensing restrictions.

The cost of eBooks are often very high, and over the last year it has been a hot topic in the Library world. You may see publishers and well known retailers selling eBooks for 99p or £1.99, but these prices are for individual purchase only and not libraries. Prices for libraries can range from approx £20 up to several thousand for just one title.

The average price for the top 5 most used EBooks is £190 compared with the average price for the print copies at £73

The other challenge is that eBook licenses vary hugely from publisher to publisher and platform to platform. Licenses range from 1 user to Unlimited user. In addition to this, there are credit models, limited issue and subscription models. Most eBooks with restrictions are hosted on EBook Central, Ebsco, or VLeBooks. These sites describe any restrictions – such as licence type and copy and printing availability – when you first arrive at the book’s main page. If you are an academic and need to add “essential reading” to a reading list, such titles need to be available electronically. So, if you are still unsure about any access issues then please contact your Faculty Support Librarian.

Because of restrictions, we suggest reading online where you can instead of downloading the whole book. You can usually download full chapters straight from the Table of Contents without having to occupy one of the ‘copies’, providing there is at least one copy not being used.

Only 2 of the top 5 EBooks are unlimited user

The Library will continue to support digital access for teaching and studying through purchasing online resources, as well as purchasing print material. We always do everything we can to get the best access to the resources that are needed:

  • Our Acquisitions team buy new and additional resources
  • Our Inter Library Loans Team borrow and obtain scans from other libraries
  • The Digitisation team make scans of key material available
  • The eResources team provide support as needed, as well as making thousands of titles from eBook Packages available.
  • The Open Access Team work to make more resources accessible and promote research

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