Since 2007 MyiLibrary have been supplying ebooks@cambridge with ‘multi-user’ ebooks across a wide variety of publishers and subjects. These ebooks are legally licensed for 3 concurrent users, but MyiLibrary did not enforce the 3 user concurrency and instead preferred to monitor usage, averaging out the concurrent uses across the year. This practice benefitted our users who often need to simultaneously access popular ebook titles in substantial numbers as they were not usually denied access to MyiLibrary ebooks.
During the last year, Pearson, Wiley (including the Blackwell imprint) and Cambridge University Press etextbooks have already enforced 3 user concurrency on their ebooks hosted on MyiLibrary.
Following growing pressure from many of the large publishers MyiLibrary have informed ebooks@cambridge about forthcoming changes to the way their ebook platform will police concurrent ebook usage.
From Thursday the 20th of December 2012 ALL of our MyiLibrary ebooks will be subject to enforced 3-user concurrency.
If more than 3 users attempt to access the same title simultaneously the 4th user will see the following message:
This book is currently being viewed by another patron. It will become available when the patron has finished viewing the selected book.
The University of Cambridge community can access 1,391 ebooks on the MyiLibrary platform so the numbers of titles affected is substantial. ebooks@cambridge will be working with the aggregator to try and work out a cost-effective solution for our most popular MyiLibrary ebooks, to try and keep disappointment and disruption to a minimum. ebooks@cambridge have also asked MyiLibrary to develop an automatic notification system which emails previously denied users to alert them when a busy ebook title becomes available for access.
It should be noted that pressure from publishers is affecting academic library ebook aggregators generally; Dawsonera have recently notified us of immediate large price rises on selected Elsevier Health Sciences and McGraw-Hill – Open University Press titles along with reductions in annual credits.
The tips and instructions page on the ebooks@cambridge web site will be updated to reflect these enforced user concurrency changes soon.
For any comments or questions about this change, please drop us a comment on this blog post or contact the ebooks@cambridge team on firstname.lastname@example.org.