The purpose of this paper is to report research into the marketing and promotion of e‐books, and use this as a case study context to generate insights into approaches in academic libraries to the marketing of new services. As such it contributes to the limited empirical research on both the introduction of e‐book services and on marketing in academic libraries.
Semi‐structured interviews were conducted with 25 academic librarians, in seven case study libraries, holding the following posts: subject librarians, e‐resources librarians, or cataloguers. Interviews focussed on: the existence of a promotion/marketing strategy for e‐books; the marketing and promotion tools used to promote e‐books; promotion via academics; the issues and challenges in promoting e‐books; and future plans for the promotion of e‐books.
None of the libraries had a marketing communication strategy relating to e‐books, yet, on the other hand, most interviewees were able to point to a range of tools used to promote e‐books, and some had plans for improvements in their promotion activities.
This study demonstrates a laissez faire approach to the marketing of potentially significant new services from academic libraries – providing access to e‐books. Recommendations for development focus on taking a strategic approach to marketing and promotion, managing tensions between promotion and supply, innovation in promotional tools, and influencing word‐of‐mouth.
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