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Although most medical libraries buy ebooks, there has been little discussion of the comparative costs of medical ebooks and print books. To determine whether individually purchased medical ebooks cost more or less, on average, than the same titles in print format and, if so, to calculate the price differential. The author searched the platform of monograph vendor YBP for the 1095 titles in the 'Clinical Medicine' category of Doody's Core Titles 2018 edition. For each title, the print price and the lowest ebook price were noted; the ratio of ebook price to print book price for each title was then calculated. On average, ebooks cost 2.20 times more than their print equivalents, though the size of the price differential varied greatly with the publisher. For some publishers, ebooks cost nearly the same amount as print books, while for others, ebooks cost three or even four times as much as the print. The greater price of some ebooks may make them unaffordable for libraries or mean that those titles cannot be purchased as ebooks even when that format would be preferred. Buying ebooks, at least on a title-by-title basis, can be very costly for medical libraries. © 2020 Health Libraries Group.


Erin M Watson. A comparative study of medical ebook and print book prices. Health information and libraries journal. 2021 Mar;38(1):39-48

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PMID: 32436636

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