Books on Demand

Colorful books placed neatly on a white bookshelf with two shelves

A Brief History of Books on Demand

The University of Florida Smathers Libraries’ Interlibrary Loan (ILL) office launched a Books on Demand (BoD) pilot program in 2006 – the first Patron-Driven Acquisitions (PDA) at UF. The office began ordering books for purchase derived from faculty and graduate student ILL requests. The library provided a startup fund from its materials budget and set up procedures to order books for purchase using the ILL system, ILLIAD, with the online book supplier Alibris as the sole vendor.

Advisory Group

To gain library-wide support and to build a partnership with collection management for the BoD program, an Advisory Group comprised of collection managers in several subject areas established criteria for the purchasing of materials. Any books purchased through BoD would become permanent to the collection, and just as importantly, the books acquired through ILL requests were sure to be used. By using ILL requests to purchase books for the library, UF would allow patron use to directly contribute to collection building.

During its first six months in operation, titles received through the Books on Demand program were reviewed by the BoD Advisory Group and deemed suitable for an academic library collection. The length of time the average book was purchased and handed to the requesting patron through the BoD program was as fast, or faster, than the average ILL filled request.

Growing the Collection

Encouraged by the content and speed of acquisitions, an annual fund was created in 2007 and the program is still going strong. Currently Books on Demand is coordinated by a team of staff from both ILL and Acquisitions, which allows orders to be placed with a multitude of vendors offering price discounts. From its inception through June 2013, the Books on Demand program has acquired 2,283 books for UF’s collections.

Purchasing Guidelines

  • Requests for the BOD program must be submitted through the ILLiad platform
  • Requests will be considered from UF faculty, staff, and students
  • Single or multi-user ebook versions will be purchased by default if available
  • Must have been published in the last 10 years
  • If requested books are tagged “lost” or “missing” in the UF Library catalog, the books will be purchased for replacement
  • $200 maximum price per book; $300 maximum price per STEM book
  • No theses, dissertations, conference proceedings, or technical reports will be ordered