Electronic books offer creative possibilities for expanding access as well as changing learning behavior and academic research. Content can always be accessible, regardless of time or place, to be read on PCs or on portable book readers. Books need never go out of print, and new editions can be easily created. One can carry several titles at once on a portable reader and, over time, build a personal library.

Professional Publishing in the Digital Age: E-Books in Libraries examines how libraries are turning to e-books to strike a balance between patrons’ demands for openness and convenience and publishers’ needs for financial self-sustainability.

Features such as full text searching, changeable font size, mark-up, citation creation, and note taking are enhancing usability. Print text can be integrated with multi-dimensional objects, sound, and film to create a whole new kind of monographic work.

The report examines questions such as:

  • What happens to e-book usage when barriers to inconvenience are removed?

  • When patrons can have easy access to scholarly e-books, what does their usage look like and what does this predict for the future of these types of resources?

  • Are these innovative models more or less fiscally sound than their traditional counterparts?

  • What will make e-books a viable part of academic library collections?

  • What features, rights, business models, hardware and software standards are needed to meet the goals of large academic library systems to support open scholarly exchange?

In addition, the report will include sections on the following:

  • Academic institutions' experiences with e-books and their thoughts about the future of e-books.

  • Discussion of the pros and cons of e-books from a librarian’s perspective

  • Comparative analysis of library e-book use by budget size

  • Comparison of e-book sales vs. print sales—sales cannibalization or reinforcement?

  • Estimate of professional e-book sales to libraries worldwide

  • Projected growth of e-book sales to libraries through 2015

  • Popularity of e-books by subjects: Social Sciences and Humanities, Scientific and Technical, Medical, Law and Business

  • Means of securing access and protecting copyright

  • Profiles of e-book platforms such as Questia, netLibrary and Ebrary

Simba’s Professional Publishing market figures are global in scope. It’s a global market. If you’re competing in one or all of these segments, the competition does not conform to lines on a map. This report, and the others in the series, is produced to help executives make decisions in this environment.

Simba has a knowledge base from almost 20 years worth of perspective on these markets. A static industry, it’s one that’s affected by rapid changes in technology, the economy, mergers, partnerships, public policy and library budgets, and requires daily attention to understand the trends and project the market’s direction. As the bedrock of its research collection, you can count on this attention to be paid by Simba Information’s team of analysts who set the industry standard on market intelligence for the professional publishing industry.

Table Of Contents

Table of Contents


Executive Summary

Chapter 1: E-Books and Libraries


Advantages of E-Books for Libraries

Archiving and Long-Term Access

Enhancements and Features

Usage Statistics

Cost Savings

Challenges E-Books Present to Libraries

No Standard Format

Digital Rights Management

No Title by Title Acquisition

Coordinating Staffs and Workflow

Pricing Models

Measuring E-Books in Libraries

Professional E-Book Platform Providers


Gale Reference Library



Other Players

User Experiences

Table 1.1: Growth of Electronic Materials in ARL Member Libraries 2005-2008

Table 1.2: Monograph Spend in ARL Libraries 2005-2008

Table 1.3: E-Book Title Output in Key Professional Subjects, 2008-2010

Chapter 2: Professional E-Book Category Analysis


Professional Book Pricing in a Consumer Market

Category Growth

Professional Book Categories






Politics and Government




Social Science

Table 2.1: 2010 Bestselling Books Price Analysis, by Percentage Share

Table 2.2: Professional Book Categories by Total Growth, 2010

Table 2.3: Top 10 Bestselling Architecture Titles, Amazon Kindle, 2010

Table 2.4: Top10 Bestselling Architects and Architecture Titles, Sony Reader, 2010

Table 2.5: Top 10 Business and Investing Titles, Amazon Kindle, 2010

Table 2.6: Top 10 Business Titles, Sony Reader, 2010

Table 2.7: Top 10 Computers and Internet Titles, Amazon Kindle, 2010

Table 2.8: Top 10 Computer Titles, Sony Reader, 2010

Table 2.9: Top 10 Law Titles, Amazon Kindle, 2010

Table 2.10: Top 10 Law Titles, Sony Reader, 2010

Table 2.11: Top 10 Medicine Titles, Amazon Kindle, 2010

Table 2.12: Top 10 Medical Titles, Sony Reader, 2010

Table 2.13: Top 10 Politics and Current Events Titles, Amazon Kindle, 2010

Table 2.14: Top 10 Politics and Government Titles, Sony Reader, 2010

Table 2.15: Top 10 Psychology and Counseling Titles, Amazon Kindle, 2010

Table 2.16: Top 10 Psychology Titles, Sony Reader, 2010

Table 2.17: Top 10 Reference Titles, Amazon Kindle, 2010

Table 2.18: Top 10 Reference Titles, Sony Reader, 2010

Table 2.19: Top 10 Science Titles, Amazon Kindle, 2010

Table 2.20: Top 10 Science and Nature Titles, Sony Reader, 2010

Table 2.21: Top 10 Social Science Titles, Amazon Kindle, 2010

Table 2.22: Top 10 Social Sciences Titles, Sony Reader, 2010

Chapter 3: Major Professional E-Book Publishers


Key Players

Springer Science+Business Media

Reed Elsevier

John Wiley and Sons

Wolters Kluwer


Thomson Reuters




Oxford University Press

Challenges and Trends

Digital Rights Management

Piracy: No Worries

Device and Format Proliferation

Pricing: Subscription vs. Purchase

Advanced Features a Selling Point

Free Information vs. Premium Content

Table 3.1: Revenue Growth, Leading Professional E-book Publishers, 2009-2010

Chapter 4: E-Book Technologies


The Evolution of E-Book Formats

The Platforms

The Personal Computer

Mobile Phone or PDA

Apple’s iPhone and iPod Touch

Apple’s iPad and Other Tablets

Dedicated Reading Devices

Future Devices

The Most Popular Devices Today

Table 4.1: Select Current U.S. E-Book Reading Devices, by Launch Date

Table 4.2: Devices Use to Read E-Books, 2008-2009

Chapter 5: Forecasts and Conclusions

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