University libraries are turning to Amazon for their textbook supplies

The retail giant accounted for 25 percent of the market share in 2017. Only one other vendor had more than 6 percent of the market.

University-affiliated libraries are increasingly stocked by nontraditional sellers like Amazon, a new study by nonprofit research institution Ithaka S+R has revealed.

The data gathered in the study , released on Thursday, helps explain the reported decline in university press sales, according to researchers, who are expecting to release the final report later this year.

The study examined book acquisition patterns for 54 U.S-based academic libraries that use the Online Computer Library Center’s WorldShare Management Services (WMS) — a popular library management system. The data obtained found that online retail giant Amazon held 25 percent of the market share in 2017, with GOBI Library Solutions (formerly known as YBP Library Services) dominating 50 percent of the market.

No other vendor had over 6 percent of the market share, the study found, though percentages rose and fell in small increments when sorting by certain educational disciplines, like humanities textbooks or STEM publications.


The study also found that print textbooks are not dead, nor close to it — 96 percent of the 178,120 books the universities purchased were in print, with e-books accounting for just 4 percent.

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