What does "DRM-free" mean?
Digital Rights Management (DRM) refers to restrictions on how a digital file can be accessed. The most common type of DRM associated with library materials are ebooks that require special, proprietary software to open and read (for example, Adobe Digital Editions and an individual Adobe account is required to download many library ebooks in full). DRM makes it harder to read books offline, and requires many steps to get downloaded ebooks onto mobile devices. While downloading DRM ebooks is onerous, even ebooks that have DRM are readable via browser and typically enable partial PDF downloads (for example, you may be permitted to download a chapter or a certain page limit as a PDF without DRM, but cannot download the entire ebook without DRM restrictions).
Where possible, CSUSM library prefers to purchase DRM-free ebooks, which typically enable downloading, storing, and opening ebook files through a variety of programs. DRM-free ebooks are easier to open, read, and share.
CSUSM DRM-free ebook providers:
Why do some ebooks only allow 1 or 3 users to access them at a time?
Separate from DRM, ebook providers may restrict simultaneous use of an ebook (for example, an ebook may allow only 3 simultaneous users to read the book via browser at the same time). These restrictions are meant to mimic the practical limitations of physical library books (in the sense that only one person can check out a physical book at a time). The ebook access table provides definitions for the various access levels that you may encounter among CSUSM Library's ebooks, as well as examples of what the ebook limitations look like in OneSearch. CSUSM Library always strives to provide unlimited access DRM-free access whenever possible.
Why is it so difficult to download DRM-controlled Library ebooks to read offline?
Many Library ebook platforms have chosen to utilize Adobe Digital Editions software to enable offline reading of Library ebooks, which unfortunately requires the completion of several setup steps the first time you attempt to use it. However, once your devices are set up and authorized with your Adobe Digital ID, reading ebooks should only take a few clicks. Wherever possible, the Library purchases DRM-free ebooks so users don't have to go through so many steps to read ebooks offline.
Why can I not download ebooks that say they on have 3 or 1 user limits?
Ebooks that only allow 3 or 1 user to access them at any given time can usually not be downloaded in full for offline reading. You can almost always download portions of these ebooks as PDFs, but they generally must be accessed and read online through your browser. This is to enable more access to the limited ebook, because as soon as one user's browser session ends, another user can access the book. Fully downloaded ebooks may be unavailable for a week or more, even if the original user who downloaded the book is no longer using it.
I'm a CSUSM faculty member and I wish to assign a Library ebook as a required textbook in order to make my course more affordable for my students. How do I do this?
Thank you for reducing the cost of textbooks on campus! The Library can support you in this through course reserves, and the Library does purchase ebooks we don't already have in our collection. Please see the Library's CALM guides for additional resources.
You can login to the Library's reserves tool and search for books and ebooks to add to your course (see "Managing Your Library Reserves" for more information about this). If we don't own the item, you can still add it to your course list, and the item will be purchased if funds are available. You will be notified if/when the item is available. You can also email information about the book you need for your reserves to firstname.lastname@example.org.