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E-Books: Using E-Books

Library Digital Content Administrator

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Phil Barraclough

Phil can support you to find and make better use of our e-book content, including Kortext and other platforms.
Book an appointment for 1:1 support.

The University of Exeter Library operates an 'e first' purchasing policy. This means that we try to buy all new library content in an electronic format wherever possible. We adopted this policy because Library staff believe that digital content is more readily accessible than print, provides the best value for money, helps the library run more efficiently, and provides an altogether better experience for library users. Let's take a look at how to get the most out of our vast e-book collection:

Main library e-book providers

These provide books across a wide range of publishers, many of whom do not offer their e-books in any other way. They are mostly subject to Digital Rights Management (DRM), which is a way of ensuring copyright printing and copying limits are adhered to. However, they also have more advanced reading functionality such as the ability to highlight and annotate text.

 

E-books provided directly by publishers

Some publishers also sell their e-books direct to libraries. These e-books are usually DRM-free, i.e. the publisher does not impose any copyright limits and you are able to print/save/copy as much as you like. They can also be downloaded as PDFs and read in a standard PDF reader. However, this also means that they lack the advanced features of our main providers' online readers.

Main library providers Direct from publishers, e.g Others include (but not limited to)

Kortext

Cambridge University Press

ACLS Humanities E-Book

Ebook Central

Oxford University Press

JSTOR

VLeBooks

Springer

Project MUSE

EBSCOhost

Taylor & Francis

University Press Scholarship

You can find a more comprehensive list of our e-book providers on our A-Z Databases List

Main providers' access models

E-books supplied by our main providers are made available under various access models depending on what the publisher allows:

  • Credits: Some e-books are made available with an annual credit limit. If the number of credits is used up, the library will need to buy another copy. These books are generally available for download.
  • Concurrent Users: Some e-books are restricted to a particular number of users at one time - usually 1-3. If the maximum number of people are reading the e-book at the same time, you may not be able to access it, and you should try again later. These are not available for download.
  • Unlimited users: Some books are available under an unlimited user licence, which means that any number of people can view the content simultaneously without restrictions on downloads.
  • Rent before you buy model: This means that large numbers of e-books are discoverable via our library catalogue but are only purchased when they are actually read. See the next tab for more information.

VLeBooks' rental model

We are using a rental first system for some of our VLeBooks. This means that the first few people that use the e-book do so on a rental basis, at a fraction of the full purchase cost.

1. A quick Preview is possible for all books in this scheme – without triggering a rental or purchase – as shown below:

 

2. After a quick preview has been made, users will be asked to Request Access. You'll need to make a few click drop down selections to trigger access, for example:

3. Then you'll get an Alert and email confirmation to let you know the item has been rented for you for one week.

Don't worry, you can still access the book after your one week rental is up, it’ll just trigger another rental or purchase.  Following several rentals the book will be fully purchased at next use.

4. Once a rental or purchase has been made, you’ll then get full access to the book as shown below.

You are able to read nearly all e-books online via a browser, on your desktop or laptop, and on iPad/iPhone and Android mobile devices, but some e-books can also be downloaded for offline use. Although downloading varies from e-book to e-book, generally:

  • All of our e-books are available as chapter downloads in PDFs that you can keep forever
  • Most of our publisher-provided e-books are available as whole-book downloads that you can keep forever
  • Some of our main library provider e-books are available as whole-book downloads for a limited period of 24 hours. Where available, providers may ask you to read online first to reduce unnecessary downloads

 

Image of ebook download optionMobile devices

Some books are available to download onto your own device to read offline. These may be available for a limited period, e.g. 24 hours, so the book is not made unavailable to other users for too long. When the loan expires, you will be unable to open the e-book and will need to download it again if you wish to continue to use it offline. 

N.B. If you are using a shared PC, it is best to view the book online rather than download it.

For downloading to mobile devices, you will most likely require an e-reader app. We recommend Bluefire Reader, although this is not a free app:

Generally, entire books cannot be read on Kindles - you may be able to download a limited amount to PDF and then transfer this to a Kindle.

 

Download imagePCs and laptops

Adobe Digital Editions is usually required to read downloaded e-books on a PC or laptop. This can be downloaded freely at http://www.adobe.com/uk/solutions/ebook/digital-editions/download.html.

If you are prompted to 'Authorize your computer', then leave the e-book vendor as 'Adobe ID' and tick the box which says 'I want to authorize my computer without an ID'. You only need to create an ID if you want to transfer downloads across multiple machines.

Printing and copying

Image of printer

E-books are subject to copyright law, so publishers determine how much of a book can be downloaded, printed or copied. This can vary depending on the e-book supplier, but just as it would be illegal to photocopy a whole print book, so you cannot print off a whole e-book.

Commonly, printing and copying restrictions are set to a maximum of 10% or one chapter, whichever is greater. When reading online, you will be told how many pages you are allowed to print and you will be asked to enter a desired page range when you do attempt to print.

 

Highlighting and annotating

Of our main e-book providers, Kortext, VLeBooks and Ebook Central all allow you to highlight the full text, create notes and annotations, and even bookmark your favourite pages in their online readers; only EBSCOhost lacks this functionality. Taylor & Francis are currently the only publisher that allows you to highlight, annotate, or bookmark the full text of their e-books online.

Be aware that this only applies to the online reader. Usually your highlights and notes won't sync between online and downloaded versions (Kortext being the only exception) and, depending on your software or app, you may not be able to highlight or annotate a downloaded e-book at all. If you use these features regularly, it may be better to use avoid downloading e-books wherever possible.

Google Book Search

Directory of Open Access books (DOAB) The primary aim of DOAB is to increase discoverability of Open Access books. Search, browse and download from a large selection of eBooks

eScholarship Editions The collection includes over 2,000 eBooks from academic presses on a range of topics, including art, science, history, music, religion, and fiction. More than 500 of these are available for free download. Content is free for non-commercial use.

InTechOpen More than 2,400 books across engineering, physical sciences, life sciences, health sciences, and social sciences published under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license.

OAPEN.org OAPEN (Open Access Publishing in European Networks) is a collaborative initiative to develop and implement a sustainable Open Access publication model for academic books in the Humanities and Social Sciences. Nearly 1,000 free online titles available.

Project Gutenberg More than 20,000 free full text eBooks available on a range of topics. Download terms and conditions.

 

Our e-book providers in depth

Below we'll take a look at some of our biggest e-book providers and explain in detail what features are available on each platform:

Ebook Central

E-book Feature Yes/No Description
Unlimited Access? No Access to the majority of titles is provided on a credit model. Some titles may only be accessed by for one user, three users, or unlimited users depending on the specific e-book
Read Online? Yes PDF displayed within the online reader. Does not sync between online and offline
Full Text Download? No

Whole Book – Unavailable in most cases. 24-hour downloads as secure PDFs or EPUBs
Chapters – Limited chapter downloads as unsecured PDFs

App Required?

Yes

PC or Laptop  Adobe Digital Editions required to read downloaded PDFs or EPUBs
Mobile Device – Bluefire Reader or similar required to read downloaded PDFs or EPUBs

Highlighting?
Note Making?
Yes

Online – Available within the online reader, and saved between study sessions
Offline – Available within Adobe Digital Editions. Does not sync between online and offline

Unlimited Copying? No Only the current page can be copied at a time, and the number of pages available to be copied is limited to 10% of the text
Unlimited Printing? No Within the online reader, users are permitted to print 10% of the text or one chapter at their discretion. Printing unavailable within Adobe Digital Editions
Anything Else?   Has citation functionality built into the online reader

EBSCOhost

E-book Feature Yes/No Description
Unlimited Access? No Access to the majority of titles is provided on a credit model. Some titles may only be accessed by for one user, three users, or unlimited users depending on the specific e-book
Read Online? Yes EPUB file displayed within the online reader. Does not sync between online and offline
Full Text Download? No

Whole Book – Unavailable in most cases. 24-hour downloads as secure PDFs or EPUBs
Chapters – Limited chapter downloads as unsecured PDFs

App Required?

Yes

PC or Laptop  Adobe Digital Editions required to read downloaded PDFs or EPUBs
Mobile Device – Bluefire Reader or similar required to read downloaded PDFs or EPUBs

Highlighting?
Note Making?
No Available within Adobe Digital Editions. Unavailable online
Unlimited Copying? Yes

Unlimited copying simply by selecting the desired text

Unlimited Printing? No Within the online reader, users are permitted to print 10% of the text (individual pages or a range) or one chapter at their discretion. Printing unavailable within Adobe Digital Editions
Anything Else?   Has inbuilt dictionary functionality. Page ranges may be emailed or saved to Google Drive as PDFs. Users must create a personal EBSCO account to download the whole e-book

Kortext

E-book Feature Yes/No Description
Unlimited Access? Yes Unlimited access, although most titles must be reactivated each academic year. If a title has been requested for a module on which you are registered, you retain access in perpetuity
Read Online? Yes Your progress through the e-book is saved between study sessions and synced between devices
Full Text Download? Yes Downloads of the whole e-book available as either secured PDFs or EPUB files via the Kortext App (see below)

App Required?

Yes

E-books can only be downloaded and read within the Kortext App. If downloaded to multiple devices, your progress and any notes or highlights made will sync between devices

Highlighting?
Note Making?
Yes Available online and offline. Saved between study sessions and synced between devices
Unlimited Copying? Yes Unlimited copying simply by selecting the desired text
Unlimited Printing? No Within the online reader, users are permitted to print 10% of the text in ten-page ranges at any one time. Unavailable within the Kortext App
Anything Else?   Kortext has much more functionality besides the above, including sharing notes within a group and more. See our Kortext LibGuide page for further details and instructions

VLeBooks

E-book Feature Yes/No Description
Unlimited Access? No Access to the majority of titles is provided on a credit model. Some titles may only be accessed by for one user, three users, or unlimited users depending on the specific e-book
Read Online? Yes PDF displayed within the online reader. Does not sync between online and offline
Full Text Download? No Whole Book – Unavailable in most cases. Some 24-hour downloads only as secured PDFs
Chapters – Limited chapter and page range downloads by printing pages to a PDF

App Required?

Yes

PC or Laptop  Adobe Digital Editions required to read downloaded PDFs
Mobile Device – Bluefire Reader or similar required to read downloaded PDFs

Highlighting?
Note Making?
Yes

Online – Available within the online reader, and saved between study sessions
Offline – Available within Adobe Digital Editions. Does not sync between online and offline

Unlimited Copying? No Multiple pages may be copied by selecting the desired text, but the number of pages available to be copied is limited to 10% of the text
Unlimited Printing? No Within the online reader, users are permitted to print 10% of the text as individual pages or a page range at their discretion. Printing unavailable within Adobe Digital Editions
Anything Else?   Has dictionary functionality built into the online reader. A citation for the whole book may be downloaded in RIS format alone from the e-book title's landing page

ACLS Humanities E-Books

E-book Feature Yes/No Description
Unlimited Access? Yes  
Read Online? Yes PDF displayed within the online reader. Does not sync between online and offline
Full Text Download? Yes Unlimited chapter downloads as PDFs. Whole-book downloads unavailable

App Required?

No

Any PDF reader app can be used to read downloaded chapters

Highlighting?
Note Making?
No

Depends on your PDF reader or app. Unavailable online

Unlimited Copying?

Yes

Unlimited copying simply by selecting the desired text
Unlimited Printing? Yes Unlimited printing from chapters simply by selecting the desired text online. Unlimited printing of downloaded chapter PDFs
Anything Else?   Chapters may be shared via social media from within the online reader

Bloomsbury Collections

E-book Feature Yes/No Description
Unlimited Access? Yes  
Read Online? Yes Usually available as a web page. In these cases, there is no online reader or special user interface. Occasionally some titles are available online as an embedded PDF instead
Full Text Download? Yes Unlimited whole-book and chapter downloads as PDFs

App Required?

No

Any PDF reader app can be used to read downloaded e-books

Highlighting?
Note Making?

No

Depends on your PDF reader or app. Unavailable online

Unlimited Copying? Yes Unlimited copying simply by selecting the desired text
Unlimited Printing? Yes

Unlimited printing from chapters simply by selecting the desired text online. Unlimited printing of downloaded whole-book and chapter PDFs

Anything Else?   Has inbuilt citation functionality online. Whole books and chapters may be shared via social media or saved online, but users must first create a personal My Collections profile to save

Brill Online

E-book Feature Yes/No Description
Unlimited Access? Yes  
Read Online? Yes Available online as an embedded PDF. Otherwise, no online reader or special user interface
Full Text Download? Yes Unlimited whole-book and chapter downloads as PDFs

App Required?

No

Any PDF reader app can be used to read downloaded e-books

Highlighting?
Note Making?
No

Depends on your PDF reader or app. Unavailable online

Unlimited Copying? Yes Unlimited copying simply by selecting the desired text
Unlimited Printing? Yes Unlimited printing from chapters simply by selecting the desired text online. Unlimited printing of downloaded whole-book and chapter PDFs
Anything Else?   Has inbuilt citation functionality online. Whole books and chapters may be shared via social media or saved online, but users must first create a personal Brill account to save content

Cambridge Core

E-book Feature Yes/No Description
Unlimited Access? Yes  
Read Online? Yes Available only as a web page. No online reader or special user interface
Full Text Download? Yes Unlimited whole-book and chapter downloads as PDFs

App Required?

No

Any PDF reader app can be used to read downloaded e-books

Highlighting?
Note Making?
No Depends on your PDF reader or app. Unavailable online
Unlimited Copying? Yes Unlimited copying simply by selecting the desired text
Unlimited Printing? Yes

Unlimited printing from chapters simply by selecting the desired text online. Unlimited printing of downloaded whole-book and chapter PDFs

Anything Else?   Has inbuilt citation functionality online. Whole books and chapters may be shared via social media or saved online, but users must create a personal Cambridge Core account to save

De Gruyter

E-book Feature Yes/No Description
Unlimited Access? Yes  
Read Online? Yes Available online as an embedded PDF. Otherwise, no online reader or special user interface
Full Text Download? Yes Whole Book – Unlimited whole-book downloads as PDFs or EPUB files
Chapters – Unlimited chapter downloads as PDFs

App Required?

No

Any PDF or EPUB reader app can be used to read downloaded e-books

Highlighting?
Note Making?
No Depends on your PDF or EPUB reader or app. Unavailable online
Unlimited Copying? Yes Unlimited copying simply by selecting the desired text
Unlimited Printing? Yes

Unlimited printing from chapters simply by selecting the desired text online. Unlimited printing of downloaded whole-book and chapter PDFs or EPUB files

Anything Else?   Has inbuilt citation functionality online

Elgar Online

E-book Feature Yes/No Description
Unlimited Access? Yes  
Read Online? Yes Available online as an embedded PDF. Otherwise, no online reader or special user interface
Full Text Download? Yes Unlimited chapter downloads as PDFs. Whole-book downloads unavailable

App Required?

No

Any PDF reader app can be used to read downloaded chapters

Highlighting?
Note Making?
No Depends on your PDF reader or app. Unavailable online
Unlimited Copying? No Depends on your PDF reader or app. Unavailable online
Unlimited Printing? Yes Unlimited printing of downloaded chapter PDFs. Unavailable online
Anything Else?   Has inbuilt citation functionality online. Whole books and chapters may be shared via social media or saved online, but users must first create a personal Elgar account to save content

JSTOR

E-book Feature Yes/No Description
Unlimited Access? Yes  
Read Online? Yes Available online as an embedded PDF. Otherwise, no online reader or special user interface
Full Text Download? Yes Unlimited chapter downloads as PDFs. Whole-book downloads unavailable

App Required?

No

Any PDF reader app can be used to read downloaded chapters

Highlighting?
Note Making?
No Depends on your PDF reader or app. Unavailable online
Unlimited Copying? No Depends on your PDF reader or app. Unavailable online
Unlimited Printing? Yes Unlimited printing of downloaded chapter PDFs. Unavailable online
Anything Else?   Has inbuilt citation functionality online. Chapters may be shared via social media or saved online, but users must first create a personal JSTOR account to save content

Oxford Scholarship

E-book Feature Yes/No Description
Unlimited Access? Yes  
Read Online? Yes Available only as a web page. No online reader or special user interface
Full Text Download? Yes Unlimited chapter downloads as PDFs. Whole-book downloads unavailable

App Required?

No

Any PDF reader app can be used to read downloaded chapters

Highlighting?
Note Making?
No Depends on your PDF reader or app. Unavailable online
Unlimited Copying? Yes Unlimited copying simply by selecting the desired text
Unlimited Printing? Yes

Unlimited printing from chapters simply by selecting the desired text online. Unlimited printing of downloaded chapter PDFs

Anything Else?   Has inbuilt citation functionality online. Whole books and chapters may be shared via social media or saved online, but users must first create a personal Oxford account to save content

Project MUSE

E-book Feature Yes/No Description
Unlimited Access? Yes  
Read Online? No Most titles cannot be read online and must be downloaded as PDFs. Rarely, some titles can be read online as a web page and there is no online reader or special user interface
Full Text Download? Yes Unlimited chapter downloads as PDFs. Whole-book downloads usually unavailable. In rare cases, whole-book downloads available as unlimited access PDFs and EPUB files

App Required?

No

Any PDF or EPUB reader app can be used to read downloaded e-books

Highlighting?
Note Making?
No Depends on your PDF or EPUB reader or app. Unavailable online
Unlimited Copying? No Usually unavailable online. When a title can be read online, unlimited copying is available simply by selecting the desired text. Unlimited copying from downloaded chapter PDFs.
Unlimited Printing? Yes

Unlimited printing of downloaded whole-book and chapter PDFs or EPUB files. When a title can be read online, unlimited printing is available simply by selecting the desired text

Anything Else?   Whole books and chapters may be saved to your personal MyMUSE library. No account needs to be created to do so. Content in your library is saved between study sessions

SAGE Knowledge

E-book Feature Yes/No Description
Unlimited Access? Yes  
Read Online? Yes Available only as a web page. No online reader or special user interface
Full Text Download? Yes Unlimited chapter downloads as PDFs. Whole-book downloads unavailable

App Required?

No

Any PDF reader app can be used to read downloaded chapters

Highlighting?
Note Making?
No Depends on your PDF reader or app. Unavailable online
Unlimited Copying? Yes Unlimited copying simply by selecting the desired text
Unlimited Printing? Yes

Unlimited printing from chapters simply by selecting the desired text online. Unlimited printing of downloaded chapter PDFs

Anything Else?   Has inbuilt citation functionality online. Chapters may also be shared via social media. Users can also save chapters to a list and must create a personal SAGE account in order to do so

ScienceDirect

E-book Feature Yes/No Description
Unlimited Access? Yes  
Read Online? Yes Available only as a web page. No online reader or special user interface
Full Text Download? Yes Unlimited chapter downloads as PDFs. Whole books may only be downloaded as a compressed ZIP file of individual chapter PDFs

App Required?

No

Any PDF reader app can be used to read downloaded chapters

Highlighting?
Note Making?
No Depends on your PDF reader or app. Unavailable online
Unlimited Copying? Yes Unlimited copying simply by selecting the desired text
Unlimited Printing? Yes

Unlimited printing from chapters simply by selecting the desired text online. Unlimited printing of downloaded whole-book and chapter PDFs

Anything Else?   Inbuilt citation functionality. Citations may be exported in RIS, BIB, and TXT format or saved to Mendeley or Refworks. Whole books and chapters may be shared via social media.

SpringerLink

E-book Feature Yes/No Description
Unlimited Access? Yes  
Read Online? Yes Available only as a web page. No online reader or special user interface
Full Text Download? Yes Whole Book – Unlimited whole-book downloads as PDFs or EPUB files
Chapters – Unlimited chapter downloads as PDFs

App Required?

No

Any PDF or EPUB reader app can be used to read downloaded e-books

Highlighting?
Note Making?
No Depends on your PDF or EPUB reader or app. Unavailable online
Unlimited Copying? Yes Unlimited copying simply by selecting the desired text
Unlimited Printing? Yes

Unlimited printing from chapters simply by selecting the desired text online. Unlimited printing of downloaded whole-book and chapter PDFs or EPUB files

Anything Else?   Has inbuilt chapter citation functionality online. Reference files may be exported in RIS, ENW, and BIB formats, compatible with all major reference management tools

Taylor & Francis

E-book Feature Yes/No Description
Unlimited Access? Yes  
Read Online? Yes Usually available through an online reader provided via Kortext. See the Kortext tab for more information. Occasionally some titles may only be read online as an embedded PDF
Full Text Download? Yes Unlimited whole-book and chapter downloads as PDFs

App Required?

No

Any PDF reader app can be used to read downloaded e-books

Highlighting?
Note Making?
Yes Online – Available within the Kortext-provided online reader, and saved between sessions
Offline – Depends on your PDF reader. Does not sync between online and offline
Unlimited Copying? Yes Unlimited copying simply by selecting the desired text
Unlimited Printing? Yes

Unlimited printing of downloaded whole-book and chapter PDFs. Within the Kortext reader, users are only permitted to print 10% of the text in ten-page ranges at any one time

Anything Else?   Whole books and chapters may be shared via social media. A Harvard-style citation of the whole book may be copied from the title landing page. No reference files available to export

Wiley Online Library

E-book Feature Yes/No Description
Unlimited Access? Yes  
Read Online? No No content can be read online and instead must be downloaded as PDFs or EPUB files
Full Text Download? Yes Whole Book – Unlimited whole-book downloads as PDFs or EPUBs
Chapters – Unlimited chapter downloads as PDFs

App Required?

No

Any PDF or EPUB reader app can be used to read downloaded e-books

Highlighting?
Note Making?
No Depends on your PDF or EPUB reader or app. Unavailable online
Unlimited Copying? No Depends on your PDF reader or app. Unavailable online
Unlimited Printing? Yes

Unlimited printing of downloaded whole-book and chapter PDFs or EPUB files. Unavailable online

Anything Else?   Has inbuilt chapter citation functionality online. Chapters may be shared via social media or saved online. Users must create a personal Wiley account to save content online

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