DCWG Big Six Matrix for Ebook License Comparisons

May 30, 2013

The Digital Content and Libraries Working Group continues to explore issues related to the Big Six publishers and library purchasing, licensing, and lending of their ebooks. Even for those of us actively trying to follow developments, there is plenty to be confused about.

A few weeks ago I started trying to sort this out and the result is this table (PDF file), which shows what is available to libraries from each of the Big Six, under what terms, at what price, and from which library vendor(s). A new focus is on whether the publisher and vendor offers their ebooks to library consortia as well as to individual libraries.

I will do my best to keep this table up to date as changes occur, and I hope that readers will use this in conjunction with the monthly Douglas County (Colo.) Libraries bestseller list updates to gain a clearer understanding of the ebook landscape we are all trying to navigate. We need a GPS for ourselves and our loyal customers who only want the content and shouldn’t have to know anything about this behind-the-scenes stuff.

Please let me know if you spot any needs for correction or update. And a quick tip of the hat to Mike Kelley of Library Journal, who published the first version of this chart in the Digital Shift in February 2012.

Robert C. Maier