[Videolib] DVD vs. VHS in public libraries -- survey results

Mike Boedicker (mboedicker@hotmail.com)
Mon, 08 Sep 2003 12:44:34 -0500

Last week I posted a brief survey on the VIDEOLIB and PUBLIB lists, asking
public librarians about their current DVD & VHS purchase patterns. Here’s
the original survey:

1. What percentage of FICTION titles are you now purchasing on DVD vs. VHS
(i.e. "purchasing 60% DVD, 40% VHS").

2. What percentage of NONFICTION titles are you now purchasing on DVD vs.
VHS?

3. A quick note about your library size, video budget, and community makeup
would be helpful too.

Below is a very unscientific summary of the results. I’m a lousy
statistician so I’ve simply included brief quotes. Some of the results,
especially question #3, were not easy to summarize, so I have included all
the unedited responses (with library names removed) following the summary.
(Maybe a math whiz out there can correlate DVD/VHS ratios to library size,
budget, etc. Good luck!)

I heard from 15 people, but only 10 offered figures. The remainder
indicated they would be starting DVD collections soon and wanted the results
to aid in collection development. A wide variety of librarians responded,
representing everything from small rural libraries to large urban settings.

SUMMARY:

All but one respondent still purchase VHS. The one who doesn’t wrote: “We
stopped purchasing any VHS materials in January 2003. We don't even accept
donations, as we feel it is a dead technology.”

Though the other respondents still purchase both formats, percentages vary
greatly. Here are some samples (each respondent is separated by dashes):

FICTION: “70% DVD 30% VHS for 2003. It's likely to go to 80/20 or even
90/10 next year, though I may be forced to go all-DVD…”
NONFICTION: “30% DVD 70% VHS for 2003. This will change in 2004 as well”

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FICTION: “currently 50/50, though VHS will be decreased soon, I suspect.” NONFICTION: “better than 90% VHS, though that will be changing soon also.” This same person also responded, re durability of both formats: “DVD certainly saves space, but we've been very disappointed in the durability. We have VHS with 250+ circs. I'm lucky to get a DVD to 40 before it's damaged or lost.”

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FICTION: “100% DVD.” NONFICTION: “100% VHS (Most kids non is not available on DVD yet).”

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FICTION: “70-80% DVD” NONFICTION: “70-80% DVD”

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“About half DVD, half VHS in both areas”

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FICTION: “41% DVD and 59% VHS” NONFICTION: “about 80% VHS vs. 20% DVD.”

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NONFICTION: “Video - 72%; DVD - 35%”

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“I tend to get [older titles] in video, thinking they will appeal to the more senior users. With newly released titles I am buying them in DVD. If they are tremendously popular I am also buying in VHS. That's not a hard and vast rule and I can't give you percentages on any of this… In my previous library I purchased a lot of non-fiction but I am buying much less now because it gets so little use.”

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UNEDITED RESPONSES:

1. 70% DVD 30% VHS for 2003. It's likely to go to 80/20 or even 90/10 next year, though I may be forced to go all-DVD.

2. 30% DVD 70% VHS for 2003. This will change in 2004 as well--I'll go to: prefer DVD, get on VHS only if not available on DVD. I guess that's effectively an all-DVD policy isn't it!

3. collection size: 1,273,000 all materials, 82,431 VHS, 8,874 DVD budget: $2,300,000 all materials, $59,800 VHS, $84,000 DVD, $143,800 VHS/DVD total (video figures include both children's and adult) community: 350,000 population (approx.) in X County, affluent and mostly white

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1. What percentage of FICTION titles are you now purchasing on DVD vs.. VHS - currently 50/50, though VHS will be decreased soon, I suspect. There's still not much in Children's as compared to VHS. Our VHS units have about 70 children's titles and 50 family titles each, plus about 50 drama, 40 comedy, 25 action, 20 mystery and a dozen musical and SF. There's just not enough out there in DVD yet to meet those numbers without lots of duplication of older titles. 2. What percentage of NONFICTION titles are you now purchasing on DVD vs.. VHS? - better than 90% VHS, though that will be changing soon also. Again, for the instructional - math, science, health, car repair, cake decorating, hairstyling, etc. - there's just not a whole lot available yet. DVD certainly saves space, but we've been very disappointed in the durability. We have VHS with 250+ circs. I'm lucky to get a DVD to 40 before it's damaged or lost. 3. A quick note about your library size, video budget, and community makeup would be helpful too - We're the county district library. We have 5 branches plus bookmobile and homebound service. Our budget had been closing in on $8 million, but with the dire state budget situation, we're down to just over $5 million. The materials budget took the major hit…

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This info is applicable to my department only. Each department has individual needs, budget, etc.

1. Fiction-100% DVD. This was a recent decision on my part. 2. Non-fiction 100% VHS (Most kids non is not available on DVD yet). 3. 13,000 community, small/med size library, $1800 per year for VHS/DVD in Youth Department. Individual budgets for other AV materials.

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Our library has around 300,000 items in its collection. We have approximately 1,741 fiction DVDs and 158 nonfiction DVDs. We own 7,345 fiction videos and 3291 nonfiction videos.

This year my video/DVD budget is $25,400. So far at least 70-80% of these purchases have been DVDs, though I don't have exact figures for you. The same holds true for both fiction and nonfiction.

Our metropolitan area population is approximately 160,000. Most people are white and middle class, comfortable but not affluent. Unemplyment has been rising.

We are by far the largest public library, though there are two other public libraries within the metropolitan area. Our economy is varied, meaning we have manufacturing, electronics, telemarketing, grain processing, construction, and so on.

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We just purchased our first DVDs; planned to start last year but budget was so poor we held off.

We are a county library, one full service outlet and one outlet open 20 hours per week. We serve a county population of 29,000, largely rural, coal mining & farming being traditional sources of income, few small industries are here. Right now our materials budget is $30,000 and I set aside about $3,000 for audiovisual. I just made an arbitrary guestimate and said $500 for DVDs. And yes, that's for BOTH branches. I set the video figure at $750. We spend more on recorded books, but that's just because we have a standing order. Last year we had money at the end of the year so we spent much more than that. But I guessed at those figures based on circulation and overall budget. No formula!

We have bought probably 10% nonfiction. And I guess that is true for both formats.

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We stopped purchasing any VHS materials in January 2003. We don't even accept donations, as we feel it is a dead technology.

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1. What percentage of FICTION titles are you now purchasing on DVD vs. VHS (i.e. "purchasing 60% DVD, 40% VHS").

2. What percentage of NONFICTION titles are you now purchasing on DVD vs. VHS?

Right now, it's probably about half DVD, half VHS in both areas. We use Baker & Taylor as our primary vendor.

3. A quick note about your library size, video budget, and community makeup would be helpful too.

Our library serves a city of about 120,000 as well as surrounding areas…Unfortunately I can't provide information about the budget, as we're on an October-September fiscal year and the city council hasn't adopted next year's budget yet. I expect to take a big hit in materials.

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I am continuing to buy DVDs but videos as well. We have a very large elderly community and I don't know how many of them have DVD players.

The video collection was not well developed when I got here so I am going back and buying lots of older titles. I tend to get those in video, thinking they will appeal to the more senior users.

With newly released titles I am buying them in DVD. If they are tremendously popular I am also buying in VHS. That's not a hard and vast rule and I can't give you percentages on any of this.

We are a town of 25,000. I have allocated $6,000 for VHS/DVD.

In my previous library I purchased a lot of non-fiction but I am buying much less now because it gets so little use. We do shelve them with the non-fiction books.

What is proving to be very popular here are the series of BBC/PBS videos I have been buying.

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Here are some rough estimates on our collection spending.

1. What percentage of FICTION titles are you now purchasing on DVD vs. VHS (i.e. purchasing 60% DVD, 40% VHS).

…We purchase about 41% DVD and 59% VHS. I thought we were closer to 50/50 (and we are with our "popular" titles such as new releases) but the non-fiction purchasing tips us back as we do more purchasing of NF in VHS format.

2. What percentage of NONFICTION titles are you now purchasing on DVD vs. VHS?

That's a harder % to get at since my budget isn't split out between fiction and non-fiction. I'd guess it's about 80% VHS vs. 20% DVD.

3. A quick note about your library size, video budget, and community makeup would be helpful too.

Quick Facts: Population… - 265,000 Library Cardholders – 100,000 Non-Print Materials Budget - $435, 600 System Video/DVD - $218, 520 Cool Video - $29, 000 TOTAL VIDEO/DVD: $247, 520

System Video/DVD purchased for Main Library, 6 neighborhood branches, and 2 mini-branches

% Main Library Circulation…– 42% (378,000 items circ’ed last year) Total Items in Collection – 33, 800 (33,786) Adult Videos – 7583 Juv Videos – 2801 Adult DVDs – 1119 Juv DVDs - 159

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1. What percentage of FICTION titles are you now purchasing on DVD vs. VHS (i.e. purchasing 60% DVD, 40% VHS). For the Adult Services Department only, and the video and dvd budgets are separate:Video - Fiction, which includes all genres, miniseries and foreign is about 18.5% of the video budget - Feature films are $1200, miniseries are $700 and foreign films are $700, out of a total video budget of $14,000. For our DVD budget, I would say it is probably more like 65% fiction - feature film genres, miniseries and foreign. I see this changing as more nonfiction comes out on DVD. (Also, I have been very bad. I grossly overspent the DVD budget this year.) The DVD budget was $4000 this year. I think this is going to change in the next couple of years. I have been doing some collection development planning for the DVD collection and searching for purchase information for feature films. I noticed that a few older titles are not available at all on VHS through one of the vendors I use - AEC/CD-1 stop. Also, many older titles - Academy Award titles, Tribune best lists, etc., have not yet been issued on DVD, or for some of them, vhs.

2. What percentage of NONFICTION titles are you now purchasing on DVD vs. VHS? Video - 72%; DVD - 35%

3. A quick note about your library size, video budget, and community makeup would be helpful too. [Library] has 1 main library, and 2 branches, one of which just underwent expansion, plus a brand new bookmobile that visits about 30 schools and community sites. Total items for all locations is at about 490,000. As of July 2003, our video collection at the main library - adult & children's is 10,068, and 583 DVDs. For all 3 locations, there are 13.344 videos and 729 DVDs….

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Mike Boedicker Audiovisual Director & Webmaster Danville Public Library 319 N. Vermilion, Danville, IL 61832 (217) 477-5223 ext. 123 / Fax: (217) 477-5230 Library homepage: http://www.danville.lib.il.us Personal homepage: http://www.boedicker.net

"There are three sides to every story: my side, your side, and the truth. And no one is lying." -- Robert Evans

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