What to do: I need a book for my research or lectures

Published on
February 24, 2020

When you send us a purchase request for a book, WUR Library’s policy is to buy an online edition. But, the book may have several restrictions due to Digital Rights Management. On the other hand, it’s not always possible to buy an eBook and then we buy the hard copy.

What happens after you've filled out the 'Request a purchase' form?

As soon as we receive the purchase form, we check if the requested book is already available as an eBook or as a hard copy and, we look up the price. You might not know that book prices, especially for eBooks, are often much higher for libraries than they are for individual customers. When the book is related to a WUR education or research field, we’ll probably buy the electronic version of the book. However, if the book is extremely expensive, we’ll discuss if we need to purchase the book with the person who requested the purchase.

eBooks in the library collection

We receive many questions about eBooks. Why can’t I download the complete pdf? Why can’t all students immediately open the eBook? Why is the access restricted to one user?


Publishers all have their own policies regarding eBooks. We always prefer to buy a book directly from the publisher because the book can be easily accessed on the publisher’s website. For example, have a look at the recent eBooks from the publishers Springer and Taylor & Francis.

Ebscohost, Proquest and other eBook platforms

When we can’t buy an eBook directly from a publisher, we use eBook platforms like Ebscohost or Proquest. An eBook platform offers a collection of eBooks that a library has bought. In most cases, regulations on those platforms are very strict. For example, only one user has access to a book at a time, so others have to wait. Sometimes it’s three users and sometimes the number of users is unlimited. When you want to offer access to more users at once, the access price goes up accordingly.

Limited usage rights

In addition to the number of users, the usage rights are important. Usage rights depend on the Digital Rights Management (DRM) that publishers use. DRM prevents unauthorized redistribution of digital media. Publishers set many rules for limited usage. Some publishers don't allow you to download a publication, but you can read it in the online viewer. In other cases, you can download 10, 50 or 100 pages. These rights depend on the contracts with the publisher.

At the Ebscohost platform you can find the usage information behind the title information.

Princeton Guide to Ecology_ EBSCOhost.png

We'll always let you know what the options are for the books you need for your research or for lectures.