Rethinking eBook solutions – exploring the impact of flexible licensing models

By: Diana Petrowicz, Tue Nov 17 2020
Diana Petrowicz

Author: Diana Petrowicz

At the beginning of October 2020, we announced our new Flexible eBook Solutions, which offer a broader range of choice to libraries and research institutions to purchase and access digital book content.

Wouter van der Velde © Springer Nature

We talked to Wouter van der Velde, Senior eProduct Manager for eBooks at Springer Nature, about the challenges and ideas that drove the new Flexible eBook Solutions, benefits of the different models and how they support libraries’ different content development strategies.

Could you please give a bit of background on the development of the new Flexible eBook Solutions?

When we launched our eBook program in late 2006, we were offering only eBook collections and we would also allow a part of the content to be available through aggregators in different business models. This has been hugely successful and content usage always demonstrated great ROI for our customers. Recently, we have been experiencing an even greater interest in our eBooks, but, through talking to our customers, realized the collection model does not work for every organization. So we started to develop new models providing more flexibility for our customers. At first we we ran a small pilot with a number of key customers to gather feedback on what would work for their more bespoke needs. Seeing that it was well received by customers, we started defining a new set of new business models to ensure we could meet all of our customers needs: The new Flexible eBook Solutions.

What do the new Flexible eBook Solutions entail?

Responding to our customer’s needs for more flexibility in the ways eBooks can be licensed, we have broadened our business model offering into four different models.

  1. eBook collection: our eBook collections offer a rich mix of book types such as textbooks, proceedings, monographs, handbooks, and more for every level of education and research.
  2. Access & Select: offers an evidence-based selection combined with eBook access and additional services. 
  3. Single Title model: allows users to pick and choose a minimum of 20 titles per purchase from a mix of disciplines and all copyright years
  4. Reference Modules: a set of five reference modules gives access to Major Reference Works from across all copyright years, including both, the living and static editions. 

To increase flexibility, the four models can be combined on an individual basis. Collections for core subject needs with high usage and ROI can be complimented with single titles that cover additional areas supporting interdisciplinary research as well as smaller subject areas.

So, for instance, a small school could license the Reference Modules and maybe some individual titles, all at the same time. Or a large school could purchase a premium version of the Access & Select model, making sure that they have access to absolutely all of the content and giving researchers or students immediate access to the books that they need. In summary, this means since libraries can now choose from one of the four models or select a combination of models, no matter what the library’s needs are, there is something for everyone.

What are the differences between the old and new models? How does the new model support the needs of libraries and the benefits for different subject areas?

Whilst we continue to offer eBook collections, by expanding our eBook model range we can now provide different levels of granularity as well as different access-terms, making them even more flexible. There are more options for any type of library. So we now have options for large libraries who need a wide range of content, but also for smaller libraries, that need less amount of content. So it not only fits all types of libraries, it would also fit many of the different acquisition strategies that libraries will have. There is something in the mix for every customer.

Our new model offering can, for example, support a new library by exploring their content needs. For example, the Access & Select model will allow them to have access to absolutely everything. And then after 12 months, they evaluate what is truly needed and then refine the content acquisition strategy through a different model or by adding an additional model.

We also cater for the mid-sized customers that are already licensing collections and are only looking to add a few titles from another collection. So, let’s say, for example a technical university that might have a license for some of the STM collections. But as part of the curriculum there is also a marketing training for which a limited number of titles from the HSS collection would be required. We now have an option for them too, so they can license those as well.

So it not only fits all types of libraries, it would also fit many of the different acquisition strategies that libraries will have. There is something in the mix for every customer.

Where can librarians get more information about the new Flexible eBook Solutions and licensing options?

We recommend to take a look at the eBook Product pages as well as the Licensing pages on to get an idea of what model might work best for you, and then contact your Licensing Manager to discuss the different options. Our licensing managers are experts in applying your library’s needs to a tailor-made offer, taking the business models as a tool that will fit the customer’s needs. We have a wide range of licensing options now and we’d like to find out with you which is the best possible way to license to book content.

If you would like to get further information on our new Flexible eBook Solutions, take a look at our website or click here to find a licensing manager in your area.

Diana Petrowicz

Author: Diana Petrowicz

Diana Petrowicz is a Marketing Manager in the Sales Enablement team, based in the London office. Supporting the Sales and Account Development teams, she is enthusiastic about finding innovate ways to communicate with the library community and specialises in producing and writing case studies across the portfolio.