Statistically speaking, how popular were our ebooks in 2017?

The ebooks@cambridge team have collated the ebook collection usage statistics for the calendar year 2017. Last year over 56,000 academic ebook titles were consulted across nearly 60 platforms. Cambridge librarians can download the whole dataset from the Usage statistics section of the ebooks@cambridge intranet site, but a brief summary of the findings is also presented in this post.

4,035,929 hits were recorded on ebooks…

Lets have a look at how these hits were distributed:

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Ebook usage spiked in 2017, there was over a 22% rise on 2016 figures, after a couple of years of levelling out. The graph below illustrates the growth in our ebook collection usage since 2012, during this 6 year period there has been a rise of over 284%:

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October was once again the standout month where our ebooks were working the hardest (over 617,000 hits), followed closely by November. September was the sleepiest month for our ebook collections but they still attracted over 138,000 hits:

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Platform highs

Our most popular ebook platforms are well used generally because there are large numbers of ebook titles hosted on them (including titles which appear on sometimes multiple reading lists), covering a wide range of subjects.

The 5 ebook platforms with the highest usage were:

  • MyiLibrary* (896,162)
  • Dawsonera (662,853)
  • Cambridge Core** (626,680)
  • Ebook Central (469,381)
  • SpringerLink (347,544)

*MyiLibrary is now no more, as of April 2018 all owned titles migrated to Ebook Central.
**These figures exclude Cambridge Companions, Histories, and Shakespeare Survey titles.

Some of the ebooks platforms which have seen the highest increase in usage don’t necessarily host large numbers of ebook titles or receive many thousands of hits; for example Manchester Medieval Sources Online (MMSO) is included but only offers a very small focused collection of well respected titles. The number of hits on MMSO in 2017 was 549, so relatively few, but this was a very substantial increase in hits from the 2016 usage figures, hence MMSO’s inclusion in the list below.

The 5 ebook platforms/collections with the highest rises in usage were:

  • Ebook Central (+3319%)
  • Manchester Medieval Sources Online (+2514%)
  • JSTOR (+1941%)
  • University Press Scholarship Online (+485%)
  • Cambridge Companions (+391%)

Platform lows

Some of our ebook platforms host only one or two titles, or the ebooks are of very niche interest, for example the Italian-language platform Torrossa, Kotobarabia which hosts Arabic content, or Nomos where only one title has so far been purchased. Just because these ebook platforms receive fewer hits does not mean that the titles hosted on them are less valuable; bearing this in mind the five platforms with lowest usage were:

  • Nomos (7)
  • Kotobarabia (27)
  • IEEE (73)
  • Brepols (100)
  • Torrossa (114)

There are a wide variety of reasons for falls in usage, course and reading list changes, maybe a previously well used title is replaced by another, and sometimes publishers change how they count usage statistics. Here are the five platforms which saw the greatest usage declines:

  • Ovid (-74%)
  • English Historical Documents (-59%)
  • IOP Science (-38%)
  • Oxford Textbook of Medicine (-30%)
  • Wiley Online (-23%)

 

And finally, the top 20 ebooks for 2017 embrace a wide range of subjects…

Click on the links for authenticated access, on and off-campus:

  1. Oxford Scholarly Authorities on International Law* (17,877 hits)
  2. The Economics of Money, Banking and Financial Markets (17,183 hits)
  3. Brain Gender (15,901 hits)
  4. Chicago Manual of Style (14,561 hits)
  5. Mostly Harmless Econometrics: An Empiricist’s Companion (14,469 hits)
  6. Bach’s Well-tempered Clavier: The 48 Preludes and Fugues (12,129 hits)
  7. Organizational Behavior Global Edition (12,125 hits)
  8. Research Methods in Education (10,435 hits)
  9. Commentary on Lysias, Speeches 1-11 (10,212 hits)
  10. Glaciers and Glaciation, 2nd edition (9,002 hits)
  11. Ponto de Encontro: Pearson New International Edition (8,824 hits)
  12. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (8,812 hits)
  13. Kicking Away the Ladder (8,441 hits)
  14. Classroom-based Research and Evidence-based Practice : A Guide for Teachers (8,262 hits)
  15. Operations Management (8,150 hits)
  16. Introductory Econometrics: A Modern Approach (7,578 hits)
  17. Saul Kripke (7,176 hits)
  18. The Good Research Guide: For Small-Scale Social Research Projects (7,082 hits)
  19. Principles of Neural Science, Fifth Edition (7,060 hits)
  20. The Psychology of Language : From Data to Theory (6,821 hits)

*Considered an individual title by the publisher, but is actually more like an electronic resource, giving access to various titles. We have included it though as the number of hits it received seems to stand alone and is not the sum of the hits for the titles which appear on OSAIL.

Want to know more?

Download the complete spreadsheet of usage statistics for 2017 from the Usage statistics section of the ebooks@cambridge intranet site, or contact ebooks@lib.cam.ac.uk.

 

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