Overview

Our e-textbook business model study commenced in 2009 and completed in early 2011. The study was undertaken in two phases:
Phase one reviewed the current e-textbook landscape and put forward recommendations on possible business models that could be piloted following consultation with key stakeholders. The objectives of phase one were:

  • To provide an overview of the current status regarding the supply of textbooks in electronic form in the UK, drawing on experience from the US as appropriate;
  • To understand what the barriers are to library provision of widely‐adopted core textbooks in electronic form;
  • To establish the level of interest in business models trials for widely‐adopted core textbooks in the institutional market amongst key stakeholders including librarians, publishers, e‐book aggregators, and booksellers;
  • To put forward recommendations about options for business model trials for widely‐adopted core textbooks in order to provide data to inform future strategy for all stakeholders, and to suggest a timescale for implementation and review, and the budget required to support this.

Phase two was a hands-on trial of four e-textbook business models with ten UK HE institutions, eight textbook publishers and three aggregators over a period of a year. Seventeen textbook titles were involved, in 24 separate trials across the 10 libraries. The objectives of phase two were:

  • To analyse the economics of a selection of business models for e-textbooks and course text e-books in terms of impact on publisher print sales / revenue and library budgets
  • To assess the management of a selection of business models for e-textbooks and course text e-books in terms of administrative burden and ease of implementation
  • To make recommendations about business models for e-textbooks and course texts e-books following the trials, that are sustainable both in terms of profitability for publishers and value for money for libraries.

The results of this study include a phase one landscape report and a report on the trial of the four e-textbook business models which are available in the reports area. In addtion, case studies from the perspective of the libraries involved are available in the case studies area.