Use patterns for ebooks: The effects of subject, age and availability on rate of use

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article shares the results of a study of subject use of nearly 100,000 ebooks over 10 years in the OhioLINK academic library consortium. The study reveals information about how quickly ebooks in different subjects are found and used, how long they remain in use, and how consortial use by subject compares to use at individual institutions. Taken in the context of the literature about print obsolescence, the data reveals that the use of ebooks follows patterns established for print monographs, including that prior use predicts future use, use declines as titles age, and ebooks have their greatest chance of being used when they are new. Even so, this study shows that ebooks do not drop in use dramatically as they grow older; rather, the majority are used for many years. Rate of use of ebook content is, in general, highest for subjects in the sciences and lowest for humanities subjects, but these patterns may differ greatly for individual user groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102150
JournalJournal of Academic Librarianship
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Collection management
  • Ebooks
  • Obsolescence
  • Rate of use
  • Usage statistics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Library and Information Sciences


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