Germany’s De Gruyter Tests PDA…Patron Driven Acquisition, That Is

In German Buch News by Siobhan O'Leary

By Siobhan O’Leary

German academic publisher De Gruyter is teaming up with the Forschungszentrum Jülich to test out an acquisition model that aims to better align library spending with customer demand.

With “Patron Driven Acquisition” (i.e. acquisition that is determined by customers), a library borrows or purchases a book only when there is a specific demand for it. According to buchreport, the system offers libraries the freedom to offer a broad range of titles in their catalogues, but without having to pay additional fees if a particular book is never checked out.

A De Gruyter-published report on PDA reveals that about 40 percent of the books purchased by academic libraries never circulate and another 40 percent circulate fewer than three times. Under the PDA model, the library can import bibliographic records into its catalogue without paying a cent. If a patron requests to borrow a book, the library is charged a transaction fee that is usually just a small percentage of the list price. A library would typically buy the book outright if it is requested a third or fourth time.

De Gruyter will make all of its relevant electronic content available to researchers from the Forschungszentrum Jülich for a trial period starting in April. Buchreport adds that the Forschungszentrum’s library will then monitor the use of periodicals, databases and e-books to determine which content to acquire for its permanent collection.

About the Author

Siobhan O'Leary

Siobhan O’Leary is a literary agent, translator and writer based in Berlin. She previously worked in the Foreign Rights department of the Crown Publishing Group (Random House) and at the publishing consulting firm Market Partners International.