43% of academic libraries’ acquisition model favors ebooks over print 


CLEVELAND – January 21, 2021  As digital books become more essential in colleges and universities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, academic librarians are adopting the ebook format at a vastly accelerated rate. To better understand ebook collection development in academic libraries, Choice, a publishing unit of the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), conducted a research study to shine a much-needed light on the ways academic libraries are responding to the increased demand for digital content. Highlights include data showing that ebooks are an established part of academic library collections, many academic librarians’ overarching acquisition model favors ebooks over print and both libraries and patrons have fully integrated ebooks into their workflows and practices.

The Ebook Collection Development in Academic Libraries report provides a comprehensive view of academic libraries’ attitudes toward ebooks and audiobooks — including both academic and curriculum-based materials as well as popular fiction and nonfiction — and how they implement the purchase of these titles into their collection development workflow. The 2020 report was created by Choice and underwritten by OverDrive Professional, a division of OverDrive – the leading digital reading platform for libraries worldwide.

Key findings include:

  • 98% of survey respondents reported providing ebooks at their college or university, including popular fiction and pleasure reading
  • Ebooks comprise one-third of academic libraries’ monograph collections on average
  • More than 50% of academic institutions believe readers are “format agnostic,” and acquisition models focus on the content, not the format
  • 93% of survey respondents cited anytime, anywhere access as the key advantage of providing ebooks
  • 82% of respondents noted their ebook spending has increased compared to what they were spending three years ago
  • 61% of respondents indicated they plan to increase their ebook purchasing budget in the coming year

Survey results show that title-by-title purchases are the most widely used primary acquisition method and that academic librarians view ebook collection development as part of overall

collection development rather than a separate strategy. The report also covers important items in budgeting for ebooks on college campuses, the power of data driven acquisition decisions and valuable trends in ebook acquisition. Since the survey examined the state of ebooks both before COVID-19 and at the onset of the pandemic, the results show a clear impact from colleges and universities moving to remote and hybrid learning.

To view the full report, visit https://static.od-cdn.com/Choice-Incorporating_Ebooks_into_Collection_Development.pdf.

To learn more about OverDrive Professional, visit https://company.overdrive.com/overdrive-professional/.



About OverDrive Professional – a division of OverDrive

OverDrive Professional offers the industry’s largest catalog of ebooks and audiobooks for corporate, academic and law libraries worldwide. With the Libby reading app, named one of Popular Mechanics’ 20 Best Apps of the Decade, OverDrive Professional helps support academic and professional development objectives. Founded in 1986, OverDrive – the leading digital reading platform for libraries and schools – and OverDrive Professional are based in Cleveland, Ohio USA. https://company.overdrive.com/overdrive-professional/


David Burleigh
Director of Brand & Communications