A word from the College library

As the electronic book ascends in availability and usage, the sale of print books correspondingly declines. Some readers experience "moral panic" at the idea of the loss of the tangible book and focus on the ebook's limitations.1 Nevertheless, science, technical and medical publishers have systematically digitized books and sales have globally expanded over the last ten years.2

The College library has responded to this trend in medical publishing: print expenditures have remained fixed and correspondingly the total number of books acquired has declined. For example, in 2005 the library purchased 434 print books compared to 319 in 2014. The circulation of print books has also declined, from 4,937 loans in 2005 to 2,169 loans last year. It is worth noting that print persists; in fact, some important texts are available only in printed format. Accordingly, the library continues to selectively purchase print books that are useful to support clinical practice. All books can be located in the library's catalogue. Registrants are welcome to request books for delivery by mail, and postage to receive and return them is free.

As print declines in academic and medical publishing, electronic publishing continues to flourish. Following the trend in other types of libraries,3 the College library has refocused funding to license more ebooks. Currently, over 1,350 ebooks are available to College registrants at the library's Books and Journals page. Titles include the latest editions of such core texts as:

  • Harrison's Principles of internal Medicine
  • The Atlas of Emergency Medicine
  • Current Diagnosis & Treatment in Family Medicine
  • DeGowin’s Diagnostic Examination
  • Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine
  • Hazzard's Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology
  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5)
  • American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook of Psychiatry

The ebooks can be searched on the library's catalogue. Alternatively, users can enter a keyword in the search box on the library’s home page and filter the result list by the “Ebooks” under Document Type.

All ebook platforms support the printing and emailing of specific sections, and some texts may be downloaded in their entirety although the majority must be viewed online.

The number of ebooks available to College registrants will soon increase significantly. The library is working with EBSCO for a year-long trial of the EBook Clinical Collection of 2,600 titles in medical specialties and allied health. These ebooks should be available by mid-June and, once available, a notice will be posted on the library's home page.

Library staff welcomes feedback on any of the ebooks in the College library collection by email medlib@cpsbc.ca or telephone 604-733-6671.

1. Anderson R. Online Information, Ebooks, and Moral Panic [internet]. The Scholarly Kitchen; 2013 Sep 23 [cited 2015 May 15]. Available from: http://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/2013/09/23/online-information-ebooks-and-moral-panic/.

2. Wischenbart R, Carrenho C, Celaya J, Licher V, et al. Global eBook: A report on market trends and developments [Internet]. Vienna: Ruediger Wischenbart Content and Consulting; 2014 Apr [cited 2015 May 15]. Available from: http://www.wischenbart.com/upload/1234000000358_04042014_final.pdf ).

3. De Castell C. eBooks in 2014: access and licensing at Canadian public libraries [Internet]. Toronto: Canadian Urban Libraries Council; 2014 Apr [cited 2015 May 15]. Available from: http://www.culc.ca/news/file.axd?file=2014%2F4%2FeBooks+in+Canadian+Public+Libraries+2014.pdf