Shifting Priorities: A Look at a Course Adopted Text (CATs) e-Book Program and How Its Success Realigned One Library’s e-Book Collection Priorities

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1 Scopus citations


Like many academic librarians, St. Norbert College collection librarians have been trying to find the right configuration of e-book acquisition strategies to meet our users’ needs. Since 2017, St. Norbert’s strategy had been a combination of a subscription to a large vendor package, multiple evidence-based acquisition (EBA) programs, and one-time orders of e-books purchased as a part of faculty departmental requests. In Fall 2018, St. Norbert Library started a partnership with the campus bookstore, began receiving the list of course adopted texts (CATs), and launched a new and parallel e-book strategy of purchasing unlimited access e-books for CATs. This study provides data on the reach and growth of St. Norbert Library’s CATs e-books program, including the number of courses and types of courses affected by library supplied CATs e-books, and the types and publishers of library supplied CATs. As the CATs program grew so did the costs to support it and St. Norbert determined to investigate the usage of the CATs e-books compared to its concurrently licensed EBA content and evaluate the compatibility and sustainability of its CATs and EBA programs. Discussions detail why St. Norbert came to value CATs e-books over EBA e-books, how, despite the potential for symbiosis, St. Nobert’s determined its EBAs to be incompatible with its CATs program, and why the St. Norbert Library decided not to continue both the EBA and the CATs programs. Conclusions discuss CATs e-book successes and how developing, sustaining, and continuing to evolve the CATs e-book program has been integral to St. Norbert Library’s collection moving in new strategic directions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)238-252
Number of pages15
JournalCollection Management
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s). Published with license by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • Course adopted texts (CATs)
  • e-book acquisition models
  • e-books
  • evidence based acquisitions (EBA)
  • textbook affordability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Library and Information Sciences


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