Academic journal article Library Technology Reports

E-Book Platforms for Libraries: Comparative Overview

Academic journal article Library Technology Reports

E-Book Platforms for Libraries: Comparative Overview

Article excerpt


Chapter 4 of Library Technology Reports (vol. 49, no. 3) "E-book Platforms for Libraries" consists of four tables. The at-a-glance table lists all fifty-one products featured in the main directory, while three comparative overview tables zoom in on the key features of thirty-five platforms (by vendors who agreed to supply information necessary for inclusion by given deadline). Librarians may use the tables to gain insight into how certain platforms measure up to others in terms of content technical specifications, functionality, and business models.


Table 4.1 is an at-a-glance overview of the fifty-one platforms listed in chapter 3. Each is identified by platform type (e.g., aggregator, publisher, distributor) and main library market (e.g., academic/ research, public, K-12), and details about the product's website and parent company are also included. The purpose of this table (arranged alphabetically by product name) is to give librarians a bird's-eye view of the types of e-book platforms they can purchase.

Tables 4.2.1, 4.2.2, and 4.2.3 are comparative overviews of thirty-five of the fifty-one e-book platforms listed in table 4.1. The goal here is to give librarians an understanding of each product's size, scope, technical aspects, and purchasing plans. Librarians should note, however, that this information is time-sensitive and that these tables are not the last word on the scope or purchasing options for the products. E-book platforms frequently go through revisions as vendors revise their offerings, in terms of both content and purchasing plans.

The information in the comparative tables was supplied by the vendors who responded to a questionnaire sent to them electronically in November and December 2012. The report was finalized in 3anuary 2013. Not all platforms listed in chapter 3 and in table 4.1 are included in the comparative tables owing to one of the following two reasons: the vendor did not respond to the initial request to provide more information, or the vendor responded but requested not to be included in the comparative tables as its product was in the midst of a significant overhaul at the time the report was compiled.

The specifics for each product are in line with the purchasing criteria discussed in chapter 2 and are broken down into four categories: Content, Technical Specifications, Functionality, and Business Model, as these are usually the most pressing issues that come up in conversations with librarians who purchase e-book platforms for their institutions. The abbreviation n/a is used in a number of fields to indicate that a particular column is not applicable to a product or that the information was not available at the time the vendor was contacted.

Table 4.1
At-a-glance overview of fifty-one e-book platforms

Platform                     Website

3M Cloud Library   
ABC-CLIO eBook Collection
Axis 360           
Books at JSTOR     
Brain Hive         
Cambridge Books Online
De Gruyter Online  
EBL (Ebook Library)
eBooks on EBSCOhost
Follett eBooks     
Freading Ebook Service
GVRL                         www.gale.cengage. … 
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