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    Economic Perspective of Librarians

    Complementary to this analysis of when scholars will prefer online books, our focus group studies with librarians indicate that librarians want online books for high demand books (for example instead of buying a second copy). Librarians also want online books to meet transient demand, rather than having to purchase additional copies which will be unused later. And, of course, librarians want online books for the anticipated cost savings.

    On the other hand librarians are concerned about having to pay separately for the online version of a book that they hold in paper. They are concerned about the uncertainty of preservation and migration of digital forms. They also are concerned about the appearance of unwanted and unused material in bundled packages. While bundling in general can increase both consumer and producer benefit (Shapiro and Varian, 1999), librarians are particularly concerned with the flow of cash from the institution to the publishers, and would like to have the finest possible detailed control to optimize the allocation of those funds, by avoiding materials that are less in demand.