Answered By: Sarah Morehouse
Last Updated: Feb 12, 2015     Views: 25

Most of the library's ebooks are subject to an End User License Agreement (EULA.) Almost all the EULAs forbid using their ebooks as textbooks. (They do not say anything about supplementary readings.) So usually you cannot use a library ebook as a textbook for a course. There are exceptions, but we would have to determine which vendor the ebook is from (or if it's in the public domain.)

There is another reason. Library ebooks are not like Kindle, Nook, or iPad ebooks, or like simple webpages or PDF files. They are protected by extensive Digital Rights Management limitations, which makes them nonportable, and makes taking notes and highlighting cumbersome. Students can only print a few pages at a time, if that. (Fortunately, electronic journals do not have the same problems.)

The library world has been working and will continue to work with publishers and vendors to make ebook access more equivalent to (or better than) print access, but it is a long road. Textbooks are a huge expense to students, but on the other hand, the publishers and ebook vendors want to stay in business too.

The library is encouraging faculty to look into Open Textbooks as a way to lower the cost to students without violating our End User License Agreements.

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