Answered By: Catherine McManamon
Last Updated: Apr 09, 2019     Views: 601

The University of Liverpool Library provides access to over 750,000 electronic books (eBooks) which you can access on and off campus. The Library's eBook collection is growing every day. As well as purchasing printed books, the Library endeavours to purchase eBooks of recommended reading wherever publishers have made electronic versions available for institutions to buy.

eBooks offer many advantages:

  • Off-campus 24/7 access (no need to carry heavy books around with you!)
  • No due dates
  • No fines
  • Read as many eBooks as you like (no limit on your borrowing allowance)
  • "Search inside" - for specific terms and phrases helping you to find and read relevant sections more quickly
  • Export citations - helps you to easily keep track of your references
  • Adjust font size

The main eBook suppliers to the University of Liverpool

The Library works with many different publishers and providers in order to offer such a large eBook collection. For this reason, the layout of eBook platforms vary. You may also find that some eBook providers allow you to do more than others. For example, some allow you to download the whole book for offline reading, others may restrict downloads or allow a set amount of pages, for a specific amount of time. Some eBooks have a limit to the number of people who can use it simultaneously. If you find one of these, try again in 15 minutes.

Some of the main eBook providers are listed below. It is a good idea to check the help pages within each platform for clear guidance on their features and allowances.


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You can search for eBooks in the Library Catalogue or in Discover. Enter the title, author or a few keywords into the search box. In the catalogue, you can limit your search to just eBooks. In Discover, applying the search filters for full text online AND books, will limit your results to eBooks.

You can also use the search function inside individual eBook platforms. The main ones are listed in the box on the left of this page.

If you are off campus, you will be required to enter tour MWS username and password before you can access the eBook.

The easiest way to read eBooks from the main suppliers is to read them online. Reading online does not require any downloading of files or additional software. The read online option will open an eBook in the main viewing panel embedded into the eBook provider's online platform. Readers can scroll through the book's pages or select chapters to read from navigational sidebars.

If you need to be able to save and access eBook content for offline reading, it is possible to download content from most of our eBook providers. Sometimes a limit is imposed on how much of an eBook can be downloaded, and how long for. You may also need to download specialist software to view the downloaded eBook files. The help pages within eBook platforms offer guidance on downloading content.

The Library will always try to get electronic versions of key reading. However, sometimes publishers don't make texts available as eBooks which can be licensed by libraries. Please note, we are unable to license eBooks from Amazon. Occasionally, the cost of institutional licenses for eBooks can be prohibitive. 

If you would like to request an eBook, you can use the More Books request form. The form allows you to request books in electronic format. Your request will be sent to the Academic Liaison Team for consideration, as part of our Resources for Courses initiative.

Most of the Library's eBooks allow you to print pages and copy and paste content. In the same way that copying of printed books is limited by copyright law, so too are eBooks. Many eBook platforms have built in Digital Rights Management, or DRM, which imposes limits on how much you can print, copy and paste. For eBooks which do not have built-in DRM, you must adhere to copyright and licensing agreement limits. Generally, this allows you to copy & paste or print up to one chapter or 10% of an eBook, whichever is greater.

The help guides on eBook platforms will provide more detailed information about their respective DRM measures and will explain if and how you can print, copy and paste.

If you wish to download eBook content rather than read online, you will usually need some specific software installed. Adobe Digital Editions works with most eBook files on personal devices but is not available on University PC Centre PCs. The eBook platforms will usually provide a link to software you need to install in order to read their eBook files.

The library's eBooks are primarily designed to be read on PCs, though some are available to download on to eBook devices. Rather than using a dedicated eBook reader device we would suggest you use an iPad or other tablet, or alternatively use a laptop or netbook. Using a tablet, laptop or netbook gives you more flexibility.

Where eBooks can be downloaded, different providers use different file formats. A tablet will give you the flexibility to download apps which can read different types of file. For example, on a tablet you can use the free Kindle app to read Kindle eBooks and Adobe Digital Editions to read ePUB or PDF eBook files. There are other free eBook file reader apps you may wish to use.

A dedicated eBook reader is much more limited: it might only work with a specific file type, or with files purchased from a particular store. As PDF files can't be made to 're flow' on an eBook reader, you need to zoom in and move around the text, whereas on a tablet or laptop you can use a PDF reader app or software designed for just that.

The help pages on eBook platforms will explain if there is any specific software you need to install on your device to read the eBook content.

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