Acquiring Ebooks FAQs

Selecting ebooks for use in your courses can be a confusing and frustrating process. To help you manage your approach to ebook selection, here are a few key questions to consider. If you need help finding an alternative text for your class that is available as an ebook that the library can purchase, please reach out to your subject librarian.

Is it available as an ebook?

Not every book is published in an electronic format. For new books, print and ebook formats are often published at different times, and there can be a gap of months where only one format or the other is available.

Can the library acquire it?

Although you may find a particular ebook available for individual purchase via a publisher site or online retailer, that doesn't automatically mean it is available for institutional purchase or sold by our vendors.

Can the library lend it?

Publishers can restrict licenses and add embedded digital rights management that precludes library lending. Even when lending is allowed, the publisher can restrict use (e.g., only one user at a time, page-limited downloads, etc.) in ways that can be impractical for teaching and course reserves.

Can the library provide access to it?

In addition to their licensing restrictions, most personal ebooks are in file formats that we cannot include in our electronic collection.

Can the library afford it?

Institutional ebooks can be exorbitantly priced. We have seen ebooks that cost 2500% more than their print versions. The low price for a Kindle book or a downloaded PDF from a publisher site is never what the library pays.