We’ve been poring over usage stats for the University Press Content Consortium (UPCC) eBooks this month. It’s great to finally have some metrics on the books side of the MUSE house and we’ve learned a great deal.
When we launched last January it was difficult to collect data on the amount of print books libraries were purchasing from UPCC publishers and what portion of each Press’ revenues are coming from libraries. When compared with the evolution of electronic journals, scholarly book publishing is an industry that has long been bereft of trackable data on the digital side.
Usage data enables us to see where these books are being used the most and what titles are garnering the highest number of chapter downloads. Since last January, we have recorded 251,300 chapter downloads from 135 paying institutions worldwide—that’s 1,861 chapter downloads per institution. We’ve been averaging 30,000 downloads per month since September.
We have over 20,000 books on the MUSE platform from 83 publishers and these titles are averaging 16 chapter downloads per book. More than 60% of the titles have been accessed—which is also a good sign since hundreds of titles published late in 2012. This data goes against the perception that university press content is not being used in libraries.
The Top 10 most frequently downloaded titles are:
- Everyday Life in Southeast Asia – Indiana University Press
- The Social Media Reader – New York University Press
- Introduction to Documentary, Second Edition – Indiana University
- Structure, Audience and Soft Power in East Asian Pop Culture – Hong Kong University Press
- Asian American Studies Now – Rutgers University Press
- Covering America – University of Massachusetts Press
- Poets on the Edge – State University of New York
- Biopolitics – New York University Press
- Freedom from the Press – National University of Singapore
- China in 2020 – Brookings Institution Press
What can we take away from this? Four of the top ten most used titles are in Asian studies. Were those books used in courses last year? This will certainly make Liz Brown happy, the content champion of this subject area. But it’s still too early to track usage trends and patterns.
The majority of the usage (60%) is taking place in the USA. Canada (12%), Australia (7%), New Zealand (6%) and Singapore (6%) round out the top five countries accessing eBook titles on MUSE and they account for 90% of all usage. Taiwan, United Kingdom, China, Bangladesh and Hong Kong are in the top ten countries. Eighteen countries are paying to access eBooks and 49 have downloaded content which includes free sample chapters.
As part of our developing country initiative, Bangladesh and El Salvador have purchased titles and this may be the first time that university press eBook content has appeared in libraries there. We are still in the process of maximizing the discoverability of eBook content on the platform and we will be adding more discovery services such as OCLC’s Extended WorldCat in the near future.
We have more work to do.