EBL ebook use compared to the use of equivalent print books and other eresources

Rachel Lewellen (University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts, USA)
Steven Bischof (Five Colleges Inc, Amherst, Massachusetts, USA)
Terry Plum (Library Management Consulting, Bristol, Rhode Island, USA)

Performance Measurement and Metrics

ISSN: 1467-8047

Publication date: 11 July 2016



This paper, a case study with research implications, analyzes ebook use and users, focusing on ProQuest’s Electronic Book Library (EBL) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The purpose of this paper is to understand ebook user attributes and behaviors in the context of print books and other eresources; to examine usage of EBL ebooks and print materials; and to explore differences between users of ebooks and print books.


The methodologies of the study are MINES for Libraries® implemented through EZproxy and an analysis of users and usage of EBL ebooks compared to print books based in part on the set of books available to the UMass community in both formats.


Undergraduates use print more often compared to graduate and faculty users. Among all uses of overlap materials in which materials are available in both formats, EBL and print, we find more print use. In all, 40 percent of EBL users did not check out any print library books, which would indicate that EBL created new users and new circulation that would not have otherwise occurred in print. Further, the findings show little difference by gender and ethnicity in the use of ebooks and print books and little evidence of lagging adoption of ebooks by faculty. When compared to campus-wide demographics, women and students of color use both print and ebooks in higher than expected rates.


Subject analysis of ebooks and print book usage and users by school or college are explored, highlighting differences between the two formats in certain subjects.



Lewellen, R., Bischof, S. and Plum, T. (2016), "EBL ebook use compared to the use of equivalent print books and other eresources", Performance Measurement and Metrics, Vol. 17 No. 2, pp. 150-164. https://doi.org/10.1108/PMM-04-2016-0013

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