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An overview of the e‐book marketplace

Magdalini Vasileiou (Department of Information and Communications, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK)
Richard Hartley (Department of Information and Communications, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK)
Jennifer Rowley (Department of Information and Communications, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK)

Online Information Review

ISSN: 1468-4527

Article publication date: 20 February 2009

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of the e‐book marketplace players and their services against a context in which e‐books are becoming an increasingly significant category of digital resource.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper starts with a brief overview of the literature on the global e‐book market and e‐book business models offered by vendors to libraries. Analysis of the web sites of nine e‐book publishers and 11 e‐book aggregators was used as a basis for profiling the main features of e‐books (user‐oriented features and librarian‐ oriented features) and the services offered by e‐book publishers and e‐book aggregators. Key points from these profiles are discussed, and conclusions and recommendations for the future of the e‐book marketplace are offered.

Findings

The e‐book market is under constant change and it is important to monitor its development, not just at national but also at international level. Currently, the majority of e‐book vendors market to libraries – typically academic libraries, and publishers are increasingly using e‐aggregators to distribute their titles. Collections of e‐books are expanding gradually and there is evidence of increasing uptake. Current e‐book business models are complex and range considerably.

Practical implications

This development of the availability of e‐books could have significant implications for the future role of libraries and for library strategies, policies and processes.

Originality/value

The paper draws attention to the potential of the future importance of e‐books and profiles the uptake of the e‐book marketplace in terms of main players and their services.

Keywords

Citation

Vasileiou, M., Hartley, R. and Rowley, J. (2009), "An overview of the e‐book marketplace", Online Information Review, Vol. 33 No. 1, pp. 173-192. https://doi.org/10.1108/14684520910944454

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited