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How to Find

What is an eBook?

An eBook (short for electronic book) is simply a book which can be accessed online.

Image: Books Door Entrance by ninocare Pixabay

Why use eBooks?

Books are a great source for an introduction to a particular topic. As they tend to be longer, books go into greater detail than other resource types and will often introduce and explain established theories, providing notable examples of research conducted in a particular field.

Books will often:

  • Provide a detailed overview of a particular topic
  • Provide references to key research in the field 

Where can I find eBooks?

The easiest way to locate eBooks is by searching the Library Catalogue.

  1. Enter keywords from your topic in the search box and then click the magnifying glass icon to search.
  2. On the results page, refine your results by selecting those which are Available Online.
  3. Then select the Books resource type to limit your results to eBooks only.

Once you have found a suitable eBook, select the Available Online link. This will provide the link to the database where you can read, or sometimes download, the eBook.

How to use eBooks

eBooks work differently to print books. They do not need to be borrowed by using your library card. When downloaded, they are not recorded as a loan on your library record, and they do not need to be returned (as this will happen automatically).

eBooks are accessed like journal articles. However, unlike journal articles, many eBooks are protected by Digital Rights Management (DRM), which affects how you can use them.

Reading online

All eBooks can be read online. As long as a copy of the book is available, you can read the item online for as long as you require. Your session needs to remain active. If you stop interacting with the book, your session will time out and you may need to relink to the item via the library catalogue. 

Downloading an eBook for use offline

Some eBooks will give you an option to download so the book can be viewed while you are not connected to the internet.

Often you will have to download an app, like Adobe Digital Editions. Follow the prompts for the database you are in to download the necessary software.

Once downloaded, you will usually have between 1 - 14 days of offline access to the book. Once the download period has ended, the eBook expires and can no longer be opened. You will need to download it again if still required.  


Printing, saving, highlighting and notemaking

It is possible to print or download chapters of eBooks, however DRM will determine how much printing or downloading is permitted.

Most of the time, you will be allowed to print, save, or download one chapter of an eBook (in line with the fair dealing provisions of the Australian Copyright Act 1968) so choose carefully.   

Some eBook platforms will allow you to highlight or make notes while you're reading the book online. Changes you make will then be saved so that the next time you access the book, they will be visible (you may be prompted to create an account or login). Look for options like those shown below:


Why can't I open an eBook?

DRM determines the number of people who can access an eBook at any given time, depending on the number of licenses available. As when a physical item is checked out of the library, some eBooks cannot be opened if another person is looking at them. 

We know which of our eBooks are likely to be in high demand and have disabled the option to download them. If you are trying to access an eBook which can't be opened, or will only allow you five minutes for reading, try again later (and avoid peak times like the middle of the day).