The institutional usage reporting project, COUNTER, had some news for book publishers last week. Starting in 2011, all publishers of book and reference works that wish to be COUNTER compliant will need to submit to an annual audit. Up until now certification for book publishers involved only a one-time test.
COUNTER reports track institutional usage of electronic content and have tended to be used more for journals than books. The majority of journal publishers are compliant – and if you’re a journal publisher you need to be compliant with the latest release of COUNTER, COUNTER 3 – because their institutional subscribers, especially libraries, set great store by the reports which help them decide which subscriptions to increase, decrease or stop. Book publishers, who serve many other types of users as well as institutions, have been under less pressure to produce usage statistics. As a result, they need only be compliant with COUNTER release 1.
Is this a harbinger of things to come? Will it soon be mandatory for book publishers too to comply with COUNTER 3 if they want to remain COUNTER-compliant?