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This study applies the method of paratextual analysis to six electronic books, or ebooks, in an academic library collection at a small liberal arts college. Two books are selected from each of three platforms: ebrary, EBSCO, and SpringerLink. The characteristics of each book are described, including design and readership, as well as 2 years of usage statistics from the specific library, and altmetrics where available. The paratextual study leads to a closer investigation of the usage statistics themselves and concludes that despite industry standards, they are not calculated consistently across vendor platforms and that while these data are invisible to researchers outside of the library, there are also essential elements that librarians mistakenly take at face value when comparing ebook usage from multiple vendors.

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Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies