What Can 100,000 Books Tell Us about the International Public Library e-lending Landscape?

Forthcoming, Information Research, 2019

Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 19/21

20 Pages Posted: 20 Mar 2019 Last revised: 14 May 2019

See all articles by Rebecca Giblin

Rebecca Giblin

Monash University - Faculty of Law

Jenny Kennedy

RMIT University

Charlotte Pelletier

Monash University

Julian Thomas

RMIT University

Kimberlee G. Weatherall

The University of Sydney Law School

Francois Petitjean

Monash University

Date Written: March 17, 2019

Abstract

Introduction: We investigated the relative availability of e-books to libraries for e-lending in five English-language countries, and analysed their licence terms and prices.

Method: We created a unique dataset recording author, publisher, price and terms for 100,000 titles and 388,045 e-lending licences across Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United States and United Kingdom via aggregator Overdrive. We developed new algorithms to estimate the original publication year for each title, and to match titles across jurisdictions.

Analysis: We examined the relationships between title price, age, terms, jurisdiction, publisher and publisher type using various statistical analyses and machine learning.

Results: Price and licence differences across countries are largely attributable to ‘Big 5’ publishers. Prices are largely independent of title age (unless the title is in the public domain) or the rights libraries obtain in exchange. Licence terms are not affected by age either, meaning that the most restrictive terms are often applied to older, less demanded books.

Conclusions: By setting terms independent of titles’ value to libraries, publishers may discourage libraries from adding older and less-demanded books to their collections. We will test this hypothesis in a follow-up library survey.

Keywords: information research, libraries, public libraries, copyright, elending, ebooks, e-lending, ebooks, borrowing, lending

JEL Classification: K00

Suggested Citation

Giblin, Rebecca and Kennedy, Jenny and Pelletier, Charlotte and Thomas, Julian and Weatherall, Kimberlee Gai and Petitjean, Francois, What Can 100,000 Books Tell Us about the International Public Library e-lending Landscape? (March 17, 2019). Forthcoming, Information Research, 2019; Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 19/21. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3354215

Rebecca Giblin (Contact Author)

Monash University - Faculty of Law ( email )

Wellington Road
Clayton, Victoria 3800
Australia

Jenny Kennedy

RMIT University ( email )

124 La Trobe Street
Melbourne, 3000
Australia

Charlotte Pelletier

Monash University ( email )

23 Innovation Walk
Wellington Road
Clayton, Victoria 3800
Australia

Julian Thomas

RMIT University ( email )

124 La Trobe Street
Melbourne, 3000
Australia

Kimberlee Gai Weatherall

The University of Sydney Law School ( email )

New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia

Francois Petitjean

Monash University ( email )

23 Innovation Walk
Wellington Road
Clayton, Victoria 3800
Australia

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