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Library Skills

eBooks

An eBook is a book in digital format, which can be read online anytime and anywhere with an internet connection, on a variety of devices. The Library provides access to over 480,000 eBooks available to students and staff, covering a variety of subject areas.

Finding eBooks

There are two main ways to find eBooks:

Searching Primo

All of the eBooks the Library purchases are listed on Primo. Search for the title in Primo, selecting "Books, journals titles etc."

In the search results, you can filter to "full text online" to refine the search to eBooks. If a book is available as an eBook, it will have "online access" in green in the listing. 

Please note: Searching through Primo is best when you know the title you are looking for. Primo only searches at title level and basic book record level and does not search inside the book. Finding eBooks solely with Primo means you could potentially be missing out on useful eBooks. 

Searching eBook Collections

You can access some of our main eBook collections on the A-Z Database List via Primo, under Databases and selecting "eBooks" under database types.

The major eBook platforms are eBook Central (Proquest) and eBook Collection (EBSCOHost). These search within the full text of the book and you can also search within the eBook itself once you have found one of interest to further refine your search. In this way you may be able to find a useful title that may have been missed on a Primo search alone.

Types of eBook Access

EBooks are made available under different access types, depending on what the publisher will allow. We purchase eBooks that allow multple user access where we can. When you click on an eBook, you will be taken to the eBook's information page, which includes the level of use allowed.

There are various levels of use:

Limited user access (1 copy available)  Also known as a single user license. Only one user can access the book at any time
Limited user access (3 copies available) Also known as three user license. Allows three users to access the book at any one time
Unlimited user license Also known as multiple user license. There are no limits on who or how many users can access the book at any one time
Credits Some eBooks are made available with an annual credit limit which calculates how many times the books is accessed. If the number of credits are used up, then another copy may be required.

Can't access an eBook?

If you can't access an eBook because someone else is using it, try again a short while later. Someone may have stopped using the book or have been timed out of their session.

If you can't access an eBook over a longer period, please email LibraryandITenquiries@plymouth.ac.uk

Reading and Downloading eBooks

You can read eBooks online using the "Read Online" function or similar, depending on which platform you are using. This can be done on a range of different types of devices but does require an internet connection.

To read offline many of our eBooks are available to download. You will usually be able to download individual chapters as PDF files, and in some cases, the full eBook.

If you are able to download the entire book, you may find that they are available for a limited period eg. 1 day in order to keep the book in circulation for other users. Once your download time has finished you will no longer be able to access the book offline and would have to download it again to do so.

Printing and Copying

eBooks are subject to copyright law, so publishers determine how much can be downloaded, printed or copied. 

For eBooks from eBook Collection (EBSCOHost) and eBook Central (Proquest), information on the printing allowance can be found on the eBook description page.

If you cannot find this information, generally printing and copying restrictions are set at a maximum of 10% or one chapter of the whole eBook, whichever is greater.

In this section, you will find:

  • What is an eBook?
  • How to find eBooks
  • Types of eBook access
  • How to read and download them
  • Rules on printing & copying
  • Open Access eBooks available
Navigate through this presentation using the scrollbar or the arrow buttons.
Jump to a particular section using the menu button.

Open Access eBooks

Bookserver (Internet Archive)

Bookserver (Internet Archive)

Includes out-of-copyright texts from Project Gutenberg among other collections. Access eBooks via the search box. Project of the Internet Archive.

Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB)

Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB)

Contains over 16,000 open access academic peer-reviewed books from over 300 publishers, including university presses.

InTechOpen

InTechOpen

More than 2,400 books across engineering, physical sciences, life sciences, health sciences, and social sciences published under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license.

Internet Archive

Internet Archive

Contains a wide range of fiction, popular books, children's books, historical texts and academic books.

OAPEN Library (Open Access Publishing in European Networks)

OAPEN Library (Open Access Publishing in European Networks)

A multidisciplinary Open Access library comprising of thousands of titles from European publishers freely available as PDF files, including titles in several languages. Includes 30 titles from UK publishers under the OAPEN-UK JISC ebooks project.

UCL Press

UCL Press

Established as the UK’s first fully open access university press in 2015, UCL Press publishes both traditional peer-reviewed scholarly works and innovative research outputs.

EBooks

The Library has many Ebooks in it's collection.  Our policy is 'Digital First' which means that if an Ebook is available, we will purchase it in this format rather than print, unless there is a particular reason not to.  Buying books as Ebooks means that access to the stock increases.

All of our Ebooks are listed on Primo, the Library catalogue, however Primo has its limitations when conducting searches.  Primo tends to only search at title or at basic book record level rather than searching the full text of an ebook, therefore there could potentially be some really useful Ebooks that could be missed by just using Primo. 

Primo is great if you know the title but if you are conducting a subject search it is important to search within the ebook collections themselves.

Where else can I look?

We buy many, but not all of our Ebooks in two major Ebook platforms, EBook Central (Proquest) and Ebook collection (EbscoHost). These search within the full text of the book and you can also search within the Ebook itself once you have found one of interest to further refine your search.  In this way you may be able to find a useful title that may have been missed on a Primo search alone.

You can access some of our main Ebook collections via Primo, under Databases, All Database Types and selecting Ebooks

 

Here is a brief guide to accessing and navigating your way around ebooks on the EBook Central platform

You can print or copy a limited number of pages from most ebooks.  Ebooks are subject to copyright law and so publishers determine how much of a book can be downloaded, printed or copied.  This can vary depending on the ebook suplier. 

For ebooks from EBSCO and EBook Central information on the printing allowance of an ebook can be found on the front description page when you first access the book.  Each allowance is unique to each book.

Generally, printing and copying restrictions are set at a maximum of 10% or one chapter of the whole, whichever is greater.

Using the 'Read Online' function you should be able to read all ebooks online on a variety of devices.

To read offline many of our ebooks are available to download.  You will usually be able to download individual chapters as PDF files, and in some cases, the full ebook.

If you are able to download the entire book you may find that they are available for a limited period eg. 1 day in order to keep the book in circulation for other users.  Once your download time has finished you will no longer be able to access the book offline and would have to download it again to do so.

There are a growing number of open access ebooks available.

  • Bookserver (Internet Archive) -  project of the Internet Archive. Access ebooks via the search box. Includes out-of-copyright texts from Project Gutenberg among other collections.
  • Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB - ontains over 16,000 open access academic peer-reviewed books from over 300 publishers, including university presses.
  • InTechOpen - More than 2,400 books across engineering, physical sciences, life sciences, health sciences, and social sciences published under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license.
  •  Internet Archive - Contains a wide range of fiction, popular books, children's books, historical texts and academic books.
  • OAPEN Library (Open Access Publishing in European Networks) -   A multidisciplinary Open Access library comprising of thousands of titles from European publishers freely available as PDF files, including titles in several languages. Includes 30 titles from UK publishers under the OAPEN-UK JISC ebooks project.
  • UCL Press - Established as the UK’s first fully open access university press in 2015, UCL Press publishes both traditional peer-reviewed scholarly works and innovative research outputs.

Some core ebooks have been bought specifically for particular modules.  If your modules does have Kortext ETextbooks you will find them on the righthand side of your module page on the DLE.

You will also find the guide on how to access, download and use your eTextbooks there: Kortext ETextbook Guide

We strongly advise that you follow the instructions to download your Kortext ETextbook

These books are generally not available on Primo and so are not visible on a Primo search.

Watch this 'Getting started' video to explore Kortext ebook functionality or go to a section of your choice:

  • General navigation - 0:14
  • Reference export - 0:46
  • Navigation toolbar, notes and bookmarks - 1:17
  • Printing pages - 2:34
  • Accessibility - 2:52
  • Tests, videos and resources - 3:37
  • Kortext bookshelf - 4:17
  • Exporting references (Endnote and Refworks) - 4:39
  • Groups and sharing - 5:05

Watch this video to learn more about the Kortext app or go straight to a section of your choice:

  • Book download - 0:08
  • Navigation toolbar search and contents panes - 0:35
  • Bookmarks, notes and highlighting - 1:07
  • Read aloud - 2:36
  • Share annotation - 2:50
  • References - 3:00
  • Accessibility - 3:31
  • Tests, videos and resources 3:51
  • Additional features (IOS) - 4:40
  • Kortext bookshelf 5:21