Answered By: James Allen
Last Updated: Jan 24, 2017     Views: 11

In order to provide access to the broad range of e-books required for teaching and research, we purchase e-books on a range of different platforms, and using a range of different business models.  Some of these business models place limits, also known as Digital Rights Management or DRM, on the amount and type of usage we can make of a book for a particular price – this can be a limit on the number of concurrent users of the book, or a limit on the number of uses we can make over a one year period. 

For books which have these limits in place we balance three aspects: the level of individual access, the need to allow multiple users access to the book, and our aim to get the best value for money.  Increasing the number of days which a book can be downloaded for will have two negative impacts, namely that more of the ‘allowed uses’ of books will be wasted (each day counts as one ‘use’ and people tend not to refer to the same book every day over a sustained period of time) and that more users will experience turnaways (being told that they cannot access the book because all the concurrent licences are in use). 

As a result, on some e-book platforms we have reached a compromise of three days as the maximum number of days which a book can be downloaded for. 

There are no restrictions on being able to download the same item multiple times for the cases where access over a sustained period is required.