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Can all ebooks be used the same way?

Simply put, the Library purchases ebooks from many different publishers and platforms and each ebook collection has different features. 

It means the way you access, read, print and download an ebook will differ depending on who has supplied that particular ebook. 

locked bag

 Why do I need to know about DRM?


DRM (Digital Rights Management)  is a form of technology that manages usage so that it complies with copyright and license restrictions. Publishers use DRM systems to prevent unauthorised reproduction of their books. 


Ebooks can be read online without downloading to your personal devices or computer using the ebook provider's platform.

Adobe DRM is one of the most common forms of DRM. To download an ebook to your computer in either pdf or epub format it is necessary that you have installed Adobe Digital Editions software. Similarly you can download an ebook on your personal device such as smartphone or tablet by installing a free app - Bluefire reader or Aldiko Book Reader (Android devices only).

Currently the ebooks subscribed to by the library cannot be read on Kindles.

Links to download the relevant software:

Ebook file types

Ebooks that can be downloaded through the Library come in two main types:

PDF logo DRM-free PDF files. DRM-free ebooks can be downloaded and read with any PDF viewer on any device.

ePub logo DRM EPUB or PDF files. DRM locks ebooks so they can be read only with authorised software.

How to use DRM-free ebooks?

Most ebooks display as PDF files using Adobe. To read an ebook online, usually all you need is:

  • a computer with an Internet connection
  • PDF viewing software
  • an up-to-date web browser. 

Some ebooks may have their own inbuilt reader which displays content similar to PDFs.

Examples of DRM free ebook publishers or platforms are Springer Link, Cambridge Core, and JSTOR

How to use DRM ebooks?

DRM protected ebooks can easily be read online but if you wish to save or download the ebook then some ebook publishers require you to download additional software eg Adobe Digital Editions.

Examples of a DRM protected ebooks are EBSCOhost ebook Collection and ProQuest Ebook Central.

Ebook Platforms and Publishers

Click on the logos below for more information and instructions on using ebooks provided by aggregator platforms (including accessibility features) :

Below are publisher platforms. Ebooks provided on these platforms are DRM-free. Click on the logo to find out more about how to use these ebooks.

Accessibility features

Proquest accessibility advice:

Ebsco host accessibility advice: