Furthering Valbee's comments, I reached out to my good friend Jason Kucsma, the Deputy Director of the Toledo Library. (firstname.lastname@example.org) He sent along a thorough response to Classlady's original post:
Simply put, eBooks are deceptively expensive. The publishing industry has yet to find a model for eBooks that mirrors the cost-effective borrowing model that libraries have been using with print for generations. TLCPL has had 175 years to build our print collection to the level it is today; our eBook collection has only been around a fraction of that time. It is not possible to have the same comprehensive collection in both print and eBook.
Some behind-the-scenes info about our eBook collection:
•TLCPL's eBook and eAudio collection is a popular browsing collection, and the library's priority for this collection is to supply current, popular authors and topics. Retrospective collections or access to every book by a particular author is not possible.
•Titles that have received multiple purchase requests are given priority over single requests.
•Ebooks are more expensive than print books. For instance, a single eBook copy of Never Never by James Patterson is $84.00...for one copy. The library pays under $20 per copy for the print version. In addition, some ebooks are licensed; meaning the library only has access to it for a certain number of checkouts or a period of time until the library has to repurchase the title.
The silver lining:
•Lucas County residents passed our levy in 2016, and the library will begin seeing some additional tax revenue in 2018. As promised, this will positively impact our collection budget.
•The library also subscribes to a service called Hoopla -- which has a growing eBook collection which allows simultaneous use (NO Holds!). However, these records are not in our Library Catalog, so a separate search has to be conducted in Hoopla to see if it is available.
Want the best way to get access to all the library's digital content? Check out our app store: http://www.toledolibrary.org/app-store