In November 2009, the findings of the JISC national e-books observatory project suggested that there was no significant statistical impact on the sales of paper textbooks when the electronic equivalents were made available (free at the point of use) through the university library. The research findings showed a clear co-existence of print and electronic within the university environment with a continued role for the library.
Given that the UK publishing industry generates around £200 million annually from direct sales of paper textbooks to students, working out an appropriate business model for e-textbooks via the library (in a world of co-existence) required further research and testing.
In 2009, JISC Collections commenced a new study to explore in more detail the e-textbook landscape in the UK and to work collaboratively with publishers and libraries to identify and pilot four potential e-textbook business models. The results and reports of this study are available to all. In addition to the reports, there are a number of case studies available from the university libraries that participated in the e-textbook trials which make excellent reading.
JISC Collections is now working with its Eletronic Resources Information Working Group to proceed with new aggreements for e-textbooks and continuing to explore new models and possibilities.