The ‘big deal’ approach to acquiring eâ€books: a usageâ€based study

Terry Bucknell


This paper presents the results of an analysis of COUNTER eâ€book usage reports for SpringerLink eâ€book collections purchased since July 2008 at the University of Liverpool. The usage reports were augmented with contextual titleâ€level information drawn from Springer's eBooks Title List. The combined data was used to study how usage of eâ€books is influenced by factors such as the subject area, the year of publication and the length of time since the collection was acquired. Analysis was performed to simulate the effects of userâ€driven purchasing to determine whether this model could apply to this type of content. The study concludes that this ‘big deal’ approach has worked well: all but one of the subject areas have been well used, the number of unused titles continues to diminish each year, older titles continue to attract significant usage, and the costâ€perâ€use is relatively low. The challenge remains to find pricing models that allow more libraries to acquire eâ€book collections when budgets may be largely committed to journals.

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How to cite: Bucknell, T 2010. The ‘big deal’ approach to acquiring e‐books: a usage‐based study. Serials 23(2):126-134, DOI:

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Published on 7 July 2010.

ISSN: 1475-3308 | Published by UKSG and Ubiquity Press | Creative Commons Licence