Session 4B

The Tipping Point: Why the Future of E-books is DRM Free

DRM remains one of the most contentious topics among e-book publishers, with strong opinions held both in favor of and against protecting content with restrictive technology. Publishers are afraid of loosening restrictions on e-books for fear of piracy, and they have been hesitant to embrace unlimited user models because of their perceived impact on sales. Unfortunately, the impact of that trepidation is that we are hindering legitimate student use and often actually weakening e-book sales.

This panel will present usability studies of DRM limitations and librarian perspectives on buying and offering restricted content to end-users. It will also relate publisher experiences providing DRM-free ebooks – how it has impacted piracy and pricing and how our thinking has evolved over time. Through these perspectives, we hope to uncover how best to help libraries meet user demand and to engage publishers in a discussion of their concerns and licensing strategies.


Kara Kroes Li, EBSCO Information Services
Kara Kroes Li is Director of Product Management for EBSCO eBooks and has been building ebook products and services for 13 years. Her current projects include ebook user experience and user research, analytics and collection management, mobile workflows, digital preservation, and accessibility. Kara holds an M.A. in English from the University of Colorado.


Melissa Fulkerson, Elsevier
Melissa Fulkerson has responsibility for ebook sales and distribution of Elsevier's global books portfolio through resellers and aggregators. Her focus is on ensuring platform choice for libraries and flexibility in business models while driving a sustainable future for ebooks with researchers and health professionals.
Alison Bradley, Davidson College
Alison Bradley is the Collection Development Librarian and Liaison Coordinator at Davidson College, where she leads a team of librarians in developing and implementing a collaborative program of material selection and evaluation with the faculty of the College. She also served as the co-PI and User Experience research team lead on The Charlotte Initiative, a Mellon-funded project that investigated sustainable solutions to issues of preservation and use of eBooks in academic libraries. Alison received her BA in Philosophy from McGill University and her MSLS from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Vivian Berghahn, Berghahn Books, Inc.
Emily Frank, Louisiana State University
Emily Frank is the Coordinator of Scholarship and Open Access for Louisiana State University Libraries and leads the library’s affordable course materials projects. She coordinates local projects under the Affordable Learning LOUISiana initiative spearheaded by LOUIS: The Louisiana Library Network, the state library consortium, and collaborates with librarians statewide to extend the scope of this initiative. She received her MLIS from the University of Kentucky and an International Master’s in Digital Library Learning from universities in Norway, Estonia, and Italy through a program funded by the European Union.