Digital Rights Management: Ebooks for Everyone Part 2

Researchers now have access to over one million ebooks from the University Libraries. Ebooks are an amazing resource that are available to the entire Virginia Tech community. To celebrate this landmark achievement, here is Part 2 of a new series titled “Ebooks for Everyone.”


Just as print books come in various editions, printings, and formats, ebooks may have different access options. Digital Rights Management (DRM) is a layer of control that imposes restrictions on some ebooks for copyright purposes. These restrictions include the number of simultaneous users as well as who can use the ebook, for how long, and on which devices.


DRM has its pros and cons. On one hand, it protects intellectual property rights held by the publishers and authors. On the other hand, it sometimes makes ebooks difficult to access, read, and share. The restrictions placed on ebooks are similar to those used with digital media like CDs and DVDs, creating a sort of “digital lock” to ensure copyright protection.


Here are the three VT platforms for ebooks with DRM, how those restrictions work, and what steps you’ll need to take to handle the DRM restrictions:


  • EBSCOhost: To download EBSCOhost ebooks, you’ll need to sign into to your My EBSCOhost profile and have Adobe Digital Editions installed.
  • ProQuest Ebook Central: You can read, annotate, and download individual chapters without DRM restrictions using ProQuest Ebook Central. Downloading the entire ebook requires Adobe Digital Editions. If you wish to move the downloaded ebook from your computer to a device like a tablet or phone, you’ll also need an Adobe ID.
  • Digitalia Hispanica: To download Digitalia Hispanica ebooks, you must log into your free Digitalia account and have Adobe Digital Editions installed.


When purchasing ebooks, the University Libraries seeks to provide the least-restrictive and most cost-effective options available. DRM-free ebooks can be opened by any device that reads its specific format, and can be converted to be read in different formats and on different devices. We avoid purchasing ebooks with DRM whenever possible because these restrictions can severely limit how ebooks are used by students, faculty, and researchers.


Do you wish to use an ebook for a class you are teaching? Concerned about DRM? Contact us. We will check for any restrictions, and see if the ebook can be purchased on another platform without DRM.


Written by Maria Atilano, Creative Editor

Photo by Michael Dales