Controlling ebook distribution and lending periods with DRM

When it comes to digital libraries, they are different from physical ones. In a digital library, shelf space is not an issue and searching for a book is effortless. One can make rare volumes ‘available’ without hazards – provided there is sufficient security over the digital copies and proper licensing control(s). So, it should be no surprise that DRM will cause books to be accessible and safe to borrow – especially compared to physical books.

DRM allows the publisher to make a profit, even if the book is not as popular as it was in its heyday. DRM helps ensure the book will not disappear from digital stores, but it helps the publisher sell the book even if it has become unavailable – what matters is that the seller makes a profit on the investment. Publishers like to take this approach because if the title isn’t available in digital libraries, readers don’t buy it as an e-book. It can make books available in a format readers can’t find on any other electronic reader or the ebook store, but that isn’t what is important.

Acceptance of DRM has become the norm in a way it did not in traditional publishing, where ebooks were distributed on formats like mass market paperbacks, but only on limited number of formats such as 2B or MB. If a publisher can achieve (and thus, control) a DRM copy of a book in the ebook format, it will be put on all versions of the book, including print and audio. With the right PDF DRM solution, you can secure ebook sharing, ensure that your ebooks are not shared with anyone unless they have purchased them.

The Right DRM Solution provides distribution and lending controls, and offers integral key reports to report to and negotiate with Copyright Collecting Agencies. DRM can also be incorporated onto a Document Management or Library Management system (see also LMS security) to ensure lending controls are enforced.

Why DRM Works

A licensing system such as the one in a DRM system would allow digital books to be licensed to other libraries but not for further use. In doing so, DRM ensures it fulfils compliance agreements with original document owners thus respecting original copyright and ownership. The right DRM solution enables libraries to enforce this with IP locking controls. The more the licensee copies the book, the more likely the copyright owner will take legal action to reclaim the right.

Measuring Digital Library Ecosystems

Digital book stacks are, of course, still emerging, and not every digital library is ready to implement one of these services. But the future of digital library ecosystems is more complicated than one or two digital distribution services. Some libraries have decided to buy additional services or work together with libraries in their area.

The fact is, the other traditional players in the book distribution business – local publishers, textbook publishers, publishers of scholarly journals and so on – are moving into digital services and becoming larger players in the book trade. While individual publishers are still driving the digital book business, they are also sharing a stake in supporting the library industry.

Some libraries may opt to combine some of these services in one place so they are making a library resource, not a small business out of it. Some libraries have systems that help them license digital books and other material. For example, Chicago Public Library allows readers to download ebook versions of existing print books and digital textbooks. PFE has launched what it calls eLibrary, a service for those who want to share, borrow or download digital media. The Universal Literacy Platform (ULP) is a service that will allow authors to submit their documents through a single platform.

A robust US-strength encryption ebook DRM system that uses access control and printing control methods helps secure the rights of ebook owners to prevent unauthorized use. This solution also offers enhanced use of security controls for invoicing, payments, control over peer-to-peer (P2P) and cloud-based access to the DRM solution, centralization of eBook distribution and sale to higher education institutions, and easily adjustable privacy settings.

Digital distribution platforms can take a lot of the worries out of obtaining and keeping digital rights to your library’s content by accepting that libraries make a proprietary digital distribution license available. This is of benefit to all involved in the process and the associated legal issues such as rightsholder rights and potential liability. They can also take a good deal of the pressure off the library, so that the library doesn’t have to be an expert in every facet of digital publishing.

The correct solution is not just a way to digitally store your library’s ebooks, but a way to implement it so that all of these issues are addressed. These elements need to work together in harmony to achieve a successful digital book library for your organization.

Will Fastiggi
Will Fastiggi

Originally from England, Will is an Upper Primary Coordinator now living in Brazil. He is passionate about making the most of technology to enrich the education of students.

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