[Eril-l] thoughts about unsustainability of EBAs

Melissa Belvadi mbelvadi at upei.ca
Tue Mar 6 13:23:39 PST 2018

Hi, all.

As we finish our first year of EBAs, and renew most of them, I've had a
thought I want to bounce off all of you.

Our context is that we're a small library and paying the minimum deposit
that each of the EBAs allow for a library our size. That sometimes gets us
their full catalogue but most often gets us just a portion, like a few
years of frontlist or a few most-desired subject collections.

After the year is complete, we "spend out" our account before renewing with
more money for another year.

What that means is that we just bought the most demanded books from that
publisher, so they're no longer part of the next EBA cycle.

Imagine looking at a list of the books available in that EBA package sorted
from highest use to least. We're cutting the "head" off that list by
purchasing them.

So we enter the second year, having to deposit at least the same amount of
money again (or even more as some publishers ask for an increased amount
minimum), but now the most likely-use books are removed from the pool.

Yes, patron use varies from year to year, so the second year, and probably
the third, we'll probably be able to still get enough use to justify the
And yes, hopefully each year the publisher is adding new frontlist books
that your patrons haven't seen, assuming your EBA profile is providing
frontlist (JSTOR EBA is strictly backlist, for instance).

But I'm thinking that 3-5 years down the road, unless our
curriculum/research programs significantly change, we'll hit the point
where we are no longer seeing enough demand/usage for the unpurchased books
remaining in that publisher's EBA-able catalogue to justify the amount they
want in deposit.

The 80-20 rule for book use is probably at play in here somewhere too.

Has anyone here been in EBA programs for enough years to test this

Melissa Belvadi
Collections Librarian
University of Prince Edward Island
mbelvadi at upei.ca 902-566-0581
my public calendar
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