Using ebooks: view, print, save, download

Viewing ebooks

Electronic books (ebooks) can always be viewed online.

However, when it comes to more than viewing online (i.e. printing, saving, downloading, or annotating), the available options must be considered on a case-by-case basis because of the sheer variety of technological and licensing conditions that set the terms of use.

At present, other than viewing ebooks online, there is no consistency across ebook collections as to the terms and vocabulary of use, the technological requirements, and the licensing conditions.

Printing and saving ebooks

In general, at present, ebooks are not intended to be printed out or saved in their entirety; they are intended to be viewed on a screen. However, some ebook providers allow limited amounts of printing from ebooks and some (e.g. ebrary) allow users to open a personal account within which to save a virtual copy of the ebook that can be annotated. More rarely, smaller ebook collections (e.g. Springer) allow entire ebooks or chapters from ebooks to be easily printed or saved in PDF format.

Downloading ebooks

While the terms "view" and "print" are clear, the term "download" can cause some uncertainty. Unlike article databases which allow you to download the fulltext of an article in pdf so that you can print it or save it, ebook collections function in a significantly different way.

Downloading an ebook typically means transferring the ebook, in whole or in part, to a personal device (e.g. laptop, tablet, iPhone/iPod, Kobo, Nook, Sony Reader, Kindle) in order to be able to view or read the ebook offline, without having to maintain an internet connection.

Downloading an ebook is similar to borrowing an ebook--you can borrow the ebook for a limited time period, typically 7 days or 14 days, at which point the ebook will disappear from your device. Downloaded ebooks cannot be saved in any permanent format and cannot be annotated. As well, not all of our ebooks can be downloaded in this way since the "downloadability" of the ebook is determined by the vendor and/or the publisher.

The two main collections of e-books that most frequently allow individual e-books to be downloaded to a personal device are provided by ebrary and by EBSCO. If you would like to download an e-book to a personal device, there are a few extra steps that you must take in order to facilitate the e-book downloading successfully; for instance, you will need to open up an account within the database (no charge) and you will need to install Adobe Digital Editions (no charge).

Ebrary ebooks

Downloading ebrary ebooks: Instructions and support

EBSCO ebooks

Download an EBSCO eBook for reading offline or on your personal reader