Claremont Colleges Library

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How long are we willing to wait for a book to demonstrate value? How many circulations are enough? Today, there is more pressure to show return on investment (ROI) than there used to be thirty, twenty, or even ten years ago. In the era of increasingly electronic, demand-driven, and evidence-based collection development, the once reigning print book is ceding its central place within library collections. While faculty and students are showing renewed interest in print materials, flat or declining library budgets, along with inevitable increases in electronic subscription rates, put downward pressure on print monograph funding. Libraries continue to develop their print book collections, however, we need to develop a data-driven approach to guide selection and acquisition of the most relevant print books. The Claremont Colleges Library conducted a short-term ROI study comparing recent print books acquired under three different acquisition modes: approval autoship, demand-driven purchase, and librarian selection. We looked at short-term ROI averages for each acquisition mode, including how long it takes for a book to circulate for the first time and how many times books circulate within the first year after acquisition. We also reviewed the number of books, overall expenditure per acquisition mode, and disciplinary distribution of print book acquisitions from a historical perspective, exploring how the proportions of expenditure between print approval and firm ordering changed at the advent of demand-driven purchasing and the proliferation of e-books. The audience will learn how this study’s findings are informing our budgeting strategies and future collection development.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.