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The direct library supply of individual textbooks to students: examining the value proposition

Dominic Broadhurst (University of Manchester, Manchester, UK)

Information and Learning Sciences

ISSN: 2398-5348

Article publication date: 13 November 2017




This paper aims to highlight the value of a library led e-textbook programme at a the UK university.


The data for the results were obtained from two surveys of students. First, from an online survey of 575 students who received an individual copy of an e-textbook from The University of Manchester Library. Second, from a face to face survey of 146 students, based on a random sample of students entering the Alan Gilbert Learning Commons at the University. In addition, a series of one-to-one interviews were conducted with 40 members of academic faculty, who were teaching the course modules, on which the students received their own e-textbook.


This research highlights the significant benefits a library led e-textbook service can offer to students, academic faculty, the wider University and to the profile of the library. Provision of the e-textbooks leads to higher engagement of learning from students, their increased satisfaction with the University and Library, plus addresses issue of reducing their direct costs. It also leads to enhanced pedagogy from the perspective of academic faculty.

Practical implications

The paper addresses issues of inequality of provision for individual students and contributes to enhanced learning for all students.


Library led initiatives are very new in this field and this project is one of the first to both undertake this provision and to undertake extensive research to assess the value of the project.



Broadhurst, D. (2017), "The direct library supply of individual textbooks to students: examining the value proposition", Information and Learning Sciences, Vol. 118 No. 11/12, pp. 629-641.



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