Answered On Last Updated: Jul 04, 2024

Why is a book not available in eBook format?

It is a common misconception that libraries can purchase eBooks as consumers can through publisher sites or companies like Amazon. Publishers or book sellers may advertise eBooks as an option on their website, however these are single personal user licenses. Due to UK copyright law university libraries must purchase institutional licences directly via publishers or aggregators and pay a licence fee, based on various licence models. 

In many cases, books are only available as part of a collection of books or as an eTextbook, and the publisher won't offer to licence an individual text to a library. A SCONUL report in 2018 concluded only around 10% of academic titles are available to universities in electronic format.

The option to buy eBooks in perpetuity is disappearing from the market. The licence models below mostly need to be renewed annually. The cost per licence can be up to 1000% higher than the cost of print.

When a single or multiple seat licence is available at the time of purchase, the cost of a licence model can change without warning or the title be withdrawn. This makes it challenging to plan, provide reliable access and control budgets.

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