Getting started with e-books
An e-book is a book-length publication in digital form, consisting of text, images, or both, and produced on, published through, and readable on computers or other electronic devices. They can be digitised from popular print-form publications or can be 'digitally born' therefore only available as an e-book.
Why choose an e-book?
E-books have many advantages, including:
- 24/7 access to books, anytime, anywhere
- Access by multiple users at one time
- Easy to find - the full text can be accessed in search engines
- Greater discovery via databases and the web
- Many collections allow chapters or titles to be downloaded to a mobile device, e-book reader, tablet or computer.
Usually, you can just open and read ebooks online. Some e-book packages require software that comes standard on most computers and portable devices. If special software is needed to open and read an e-book online, the e-book will often provide its own.
How to use this guide
This guide includes tabs which provide general help for specific e-book platforms and includes the basics to get you started. Other tabs are divided by subject area to help you find which package would suit your subject area.
If you are new to e-books and not sure where to start, try our OverDrive package which provides a user-friendly interface and some recreational reading material to get you started with e-books.
What you need to know
All packages have different settings regarding use. The information below refers to e-books generally and may not apply to the package you are using.
Printing, copying and downloading
When using an e-book, you may be able to print, copy or download. The amount you are able to print, copy or download is set by the publishers. It may be a chapter, or between 10% - 20% of the book.
E-book file types
The most common files types for e-books are PDF and ePUB.
- PDF is fixed, like an image. If you view a PDF on your phone, you’ll need to zoom and scroll to read it.
- ePUB stands for 'electronic publication'. This is a free and open e-book standard designed for reflowable content. This means the text display can is designed for flowing text, which adapts the amount of words per line to the device being used, or the sized font you choose.
Digital Rights Management (DRM)
Some of the library's eBooks are protected by DRM systems. DRM controls the use of digital content and determines how many users can access the content, how it can be accessed and what can be done with it. DRM is set by the eBook vendor, author or publisher and monitored by software (such as Adobe Digital Editions).
Adobe Digital Editions (ADE)
Many packages require that you have Adobe Digital Editions (ADE) in order to download an e-book. ADE is a separate application from Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Reader and has been designed specifically for reading eBooks. With an Adobe ID it will allow you to transfer protected books between multiple computers and mobile devices. You need to authorize each of your machines with your Adobe ID. Visit Digital Editions Supported Devices to check compatability.
Some e-book packages can be used via an 'app'. App is an abbreviation for application. An app is a piece of software. It can run on the Internet, on your computer, or on your phone or other electronic device. Some e-book packages have their own apps or recommend a particular app for use with there product. Some are designed to work on tablets/phones with IOS (iPad/iPhone) and/or Android. Apps referred to in this guide are those recommended by the e-book providers.
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