The Library purchases RBR (Reserved Books and Readings) titles on a sharing basis, providing students who cannot afford such materials on their own an equal level of access to the RBR titles as possible.
Generally, eTextbooks are adopted by course instructors for class use, which are then usually recommended as RBR titles.
The definition of eBooks and eTextbooks depends on the publisher. There are different licensing models for eBooks and eTextbooks. The personal/student version usually does not have any access restrictions. The institutional version has access restrictions imposed by the publisher due to copyright, or likely to 'encourage' students to purchase the personal version instead.
The way eTextbooks are acquired and accessed are different from normal eBooks. Below are the main differences.
|Pricing model and access period
Annual subscription per title based on the number of users times the eTextbook unit price
One-off purchase and accessible forever (same principle as paying once for a book and owning the copy forever)
|Number of users who can access the eBook at the same time
Limited due to the annual subscription cost of eTextbooks
As a general guideline, the library can only subscribe to a maximum of 5 users per eTextbook, just like the number of print RBR copies that can be purchased based on class size. We may consider subscribing for more users on a case-by-case basis.
Unlimited as far as possible
Some publishers charge eBooks by number of users as well — for such cases, we will purchase eBooks for at least 3 and above users.
Some publishers allow only one user to access an eBook at a time due to copyright restrictions. If it is for course use, we will inform the course instructors who may decide whether to remove the eBook as a required text, or opt for the print version instead. You may also consider uploading one chapter onto Course Readings in Canvas.
To mitigate the high cost of eTextbook subscriptions and their popularity, access is restricted to 2 hours like print RBR books to maximize access to students as far as possible.
No limit, unless there is some period of inactivity which may cause the eBook session to end automatically
|DRM (Digital Rights Management) restrictions
|No downloading and limited number of printable pages
Some publishers may impose DRM restrictions, such as printing and downloading limits on certain eBooks due to copyright.
|Instructor / Desk / Inspection copies
|Instructor, desk, or inspection copies are not available at the library as they are normally restricted only to course instructors. If you'd like to obtain such copies, you may contact the publishers directly, or email the library Acquisitions team for us to connect you with the respective publisher representatives.
We regret that any copyright or DRM restrictions are entirely at the publishers' discretion which the Library is unable to control.
The Library subscribes to only a few copies or few concurrent accesses for each eTextbook on the VitalSource platform. This means that only a few people can access the eTextbook at the same time.
To help ensure that everyone is able to access the eTextbook, we would recommend doing the following: