University Library

About General Collections

eBooks at UCSC

The library licenses ebooks from a variety of publishers, eBook aggregators, and vendors. Many eBooks come with DRM restrictions. To protect author or publisher copyright, DRM restricts the usage of eBooks. This often means that there are printing, copy/paste, sharing, and other restrictions. And, in some cases, publishers opt not to release titles electronically right away. This means that only a print version of a title is available for purchase for several months OR that an eBook is never released for sale. Currently, about 50% of publishers we work with release both an eBook and a print version of a title simultaneously.

Why doesn't the library license only DRM-free eBooks?

  • Publishers employ various measures to protect the content they manage from being copied and shared. Many publishers use DRM to prevent users from copying and downloading entire books and/or from applying reading software that can manipulate the text. This is a common publishing practice. 
  • The library licenses content from a large number of vendors. Some vendors are publishers and control access rights. Some vendors are aggregators of many publishers. Aggregators don’t control access rights and have to negotiate, publisher-by-publisher for access rights. Aggregators are therefore less likely, with some exceptions (JSTOR), to provide DRM-free eBooks.

DRM-free eBooks at UCSC

The library makes every effort to license DRM-free eBooks. Below is a list of publishers and/or vendors the library purchases from that do provide DRM-free eBooks.

  • JSTOR
  • Cambridge
  • Oxford
  • Duke University Press
  • Springer
  • Knowledge Unlatched
  • Taylor & Francis (many, though not all, are DRM-free)
  • Elsevier (many, though not all, are DRM-free)

Usage Limitations

In addition to DRM, eBooks are often restricted by the number of users that may access a title at one time. The library makes every effort to license unlimited access for our eBooks, but this isn't always possible.

If you are planning on using an eBook for a class, contact your library team to check on the license status: