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eBooks: FAQs

Finding and accessing eBooks available through University of Melbourne subscriptions and online.

What are eBooks?

An eBook or electronic book is the digital media equivalent of a printed book. It is produced on and readable on computers or other digital devices.

How do I search for eBooks?

There are several different ways to find eBooks provided by the library. You can:

Some LibGuides also provide links to eBooks collections and explain how to find eBooks relevant for particular subject areas.

Refer to the Searching for eBooks page for step-by-step instructions.

What is the best way to use an eBook?

Most of the eBooks provided by the library can simply be read online using a web browser and/or downloaded, by section, chapter or whole book, in PDF format.

To access, download and read most eBooks from the library you simply need:

  • A unimelb login and password.
  • A device, such as a PC, laptop or tablet, with access to the Internet,
  • An up-to-date web browser (find the latest versions of common browsers here), and
  • A PDF reader, such as Adobe Reader.

Some eBook providers require you to check-out or borrow eBooks and use particular software, such as Adobe Digital Editions, to read their eBooks. However you will be prompted to do this when you try to access an eBook with special requirements and instructions will be provided.

Refer to the Reading & Downloading eBooks page for a step-by-step guide to using eBooks.

How long can I 'borrow' an eBook?

Most eBooks provided by the library do not need to be 'borrowed', however some eBooks provided in databases such as 'EBL - Ebook Library' have fixed loan periods and after the loan period expires the eBook will automatically be deleted from your computer or device.

To access an eBook again, just return to the library catalogue record for the eBook, and repeat the download process.

Can I download more than one eBook at a time?

There is no known limit to the number of eBooks that you can download or access from the library catalogue or eBook databases (at one time).

How much eBook content can I copy or print?

The same copyright rules apply to eBooks as their print versions, so the 10% rule is a rough guide.  However, most eBook publishers provide guidance for the amount you can copy or print from an eBook (usually within the eBook you are reading).  For example, clicking print in an EBL book will show you how many pages you have printed and display the total number of pages you are permitted to print.

How do I reference an eBook?

How you reference an eBook depends on the citation style you are using (preferred by your faculty or school).

See the library's wepage on referencing for more information.

Do I need to have an eBook reader?

To read eBooks from the University library catalogue or eBook databases, you do not need an eReader device.  You simply require a PC or laptop that supports eBook software (e.g. Adobe Digital Editions), so it is possible to download eBooks. In most cases, when you choose to read an eBook online this is browser supported and does not require additional software.

Do I need special software?

Generally, eBooks from the library do not require any specific software other than Adobe Digital Editions, which is necessary for downloading EBL eBooks.

Refer to the Reading & Downloading eBooks page for a step-by-step guide to downloading Adobe Digital Editions.

Can I read these eBooks on portable/mobile devices?

When viewing an eBook on any PC, laptop, or mobile device (e.g. eReader or smart phone) it is essential that the device can support both the software and format requirements of the eBook in question.  For example, a Kindle cannot view PDF file eBooks because of the proprietary format under which it operates.  By contrast, the Sony eReader can process PDF format eBooks.    

It will depend on the device itself, as well as Digital Rights Management issues, which is a way for publishers to control who can read purchased eBooks, and to restrict what can be done with them.  At the moment, downloaded EBL ebooks can be transferred to any portable device that supports Adobe Digital Editions (ADE). There's a list of these compatible devices on the ADE website. Portable devices with browser support (such as the iPhone/iPad) can also access EBL and Read Online via the web.

For further information please visit the following websites/guides: