EBL ebook Details
Q. What is an STL?
A. Short Term Loan. We "own" our fair share of ebooks, mainly through EBSCOhost eBook Collection, which patrons can browse freely online. But the majority of our titles are available to us as STLs through the Ebook Library (EBL), that is, we don't own them outright but they are on loan to us, and each "use" by a reader incurs a fee.
Q. How does an STL work exactly?
A. Once a book reaches 4 STLs, an automatic purchase is triggered and we "own" the ebook. Purchasing means that we have 325 “uses” of the book per year. STLs can occur simultaneously (many readers at once) or sequentially (one reader, followed by another). If 10 people wanted to use a book that had never been loaned on the same day, we pay for short-term loans for the first four borrowers and then buy the book upon the fifth. But all ten people could use the book at the same time.
Q. What do STLs cost?
A. For both online reading and downloaded STLs, typical costs for a 1 day loan are 5-15% of the purchase price. STLs downloaded for 1 week cost more. With STLs, we are certain to borrow and purchase only titles with substantial interest by faculty or students. (We do pay a premium though: the purchase price becomes 140% of the list price, with 4 STLs x 10% each + 100% of purchase price.)
Q. What qualifies as an STL?
A. Patrons have a five minute free browse (no charges are incurred). After five minutes, the reader "checks out" the ebook for 24-hours of online use. If the same user goes back into that book within the same 24-hour period, it counts as one use, not multiple uses.
Q. Do we limit the availability of any STL titles?
A. Yes. If the STL cost is greater than $35 (which means the book probably costs between $133.33-$400), the request for STL access is “mediated” and requires approval by the Head of Collections. Readers can request access automatically through EBL.
Q. When we own an ebook outright, is online browsing unlimited?
A. No. Patrons have a 10 minute browse when we own the book, twice as long as a book on STL. At 10 minutes readers are asked whether they wish to "check out" the book. If they do, one use is deducted from the 325 uses we have each year for that book.
Q. How is a "download" different from an STL?
A. When a reader wants to download, they have the choice of either 24 hours or 7 days. If the book is an STL, then the one week will cost the library more than 24 hours. If the book is owned by the library, then downloading for one week chews up “seven uses” of the 325 we’re allowed. Downloading at the 24 hour option only counts as "one use."
Q. When we own an ebook outright, are there limits when a reader downloads a book?
A. Patrons can download for up to 4 days at a time (and these count as 4 uses against the 325).
Q. Do we have access to an "owned" ebook forever?
A. Most books that we buy come with 325 one-day loans each year. All of those loans could be used up at once, a few can happen at a time, or perhaps a book will seldom or never be loaned. The 325 loans renew automatically on the anniversary of the purchase of the book.
Q. Can we put an ebook on reserve?
A. Yes. An ebook on reserve would work just like an STL. See How does an STL work exactly? above for details. If we know a reserve copy will be well-used, we can purchase the ebook ahead of the STL process.
(Really, a Q&A with some nitty gritty details thanks to Terry Simpkins and EBL. To see more general guidelines for faculty and students, see the 2011 LIS Blog post Welcome, ebooks.)