eBook Working Group

The eBook Working Group was formed in 2012 and charged with evaluating options for collaborative ebook collecting across the BLC member libraries with a focus on determining whether or not a sustainable model for consortial ebook collecting could be established.  The Group developed a 3-year pilot program with ebrary and YBP that focused on a demand-driven model of ebook purchasing.  In the second year of the pilot, short-term loans were added to the model.  The program entered its third year in June of 2014, unfortunately at a time when ebook pricing, particularly the costs for short-term loans, was undergoing major changes.  The BLC has reacted to these pricing changes by raising its collective voice and expressing concern that consortial models, particularly those that include short-term loans as a major component, are being threatened.  See the BLC letter to the editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education and the follow-up article for details.

As the eBook Working Group enters its third year, the group is focused on more detailed analysis of purchasing models for consortial ebook collecting as well as looking at models for ongoing sustainability, particularly in the context of other demand-driven acquistions programs at the member libraries.  And, as the BLC looks to the future of resource sharing, it will be increasingly important to determine the role of ebooks and consortial sharing of collectively purchased titles.

In September of 2015, ten of the BLC libraries entered into a pilot program for demand-driven ebook acquistions with JSTOR.  At approximately the same time, five of the BLC libraries agreed to participate in an evidence-based ebook program with Taylor&Francis publishers.  Both of these programs allow the libraries to experiment with new models of consortial collecting of ebooks and continue to provide valuable and useful data to the consortium.  Libraries interested in further details on these programs should contact the Executive Director.


Membership in the eBook Working Group is based on participation in the consortial ebook program with ebrary and YBP and is not open to other libraries at this point.  The first phase of the ebook project included 7 BLC member libraries: Boston College, Boston University, Brandeis University, Northeastern University, Tufts, UMass-Lowell and the University of Connecticut.  The second phase, which ended in May, 2013 had 9 BLC particpants  - all of the above except UMass-Lowell, plus UMass-Boston, UMass-Dartmouth, University of New Hampshire.


The eBook Working Group meets as needed, typically no less often than quarterly.  A subset of the full Group meets more frequently to review data associated with the program and to prepare analyses of the data.