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Ebooks at Queen's

Frequently Asked Ebook Questions

How can I find ebooks?

Here are two ways to find ebooks in the Library collection:

  1. Omni search - find ebooks quickly by keyword
  2. Subject guides - locate ebook collections pertaining to specific subjects

See the Finding Ebooks tab for more information.

Are there encyclopedias and dictionaries in electronic format?

Yes. The Library subscribes to many encyclopedias and dictionaries in electronic format, including those pertaining to specific disciplines. You can find them by searching for the titles in Omni. 

For example, you could perform an Advanced Search in Omni, entering the words "encyclopedia" and "nursing" in the "Title" field to retrieve a list of encyclopedias pertaining to nursing. You could then apply the "Available online" availability filter to narrow your results to online resources.

What is Digital Rights Management (DRM)?

Digital Rights Management is the practice of imposing technological restrictions to control what users can and cannot do with digital media. DRM can exist in ebooks in the form of restrictions on viewing, printing, downloading, and copying, cutting and pasting.  These technological restrictions are created by the owner/distributor of the content, and not by Queen's University Library.

Do I need special software to read ebooks?

It depends on the requirements of the provider or publisher of the ebook. Most ebooks can be read online in your internet browser without the need for additional software. Some providers allow you, or may even require you, to "borrow" the ebook in order to read it. Borrowing means that you can download the entire ebook onto your computer to read offline for a limited period of time. In order to borrow an ebook, you must first obtain an Abobe ID and download a free software program, such as Adobe Digital Editions, which provides a platform for offline reading and manages the borrowing period for ebooks. For more information, see the Download and Borrow Ebooks tab.

Can I save ebooks to my ereader?

Probably. It will depend on whether you can download or borrow the ebook from the ebook provider, whether your ereader can open the format that the ebook is in, and—if you are required to borrow the ebook—whether your ereader is able to accept content protected by digital rights management.

If you are using a tablet or mobile device, usually you will need to install ebook management software. For more information, see the Download and Borrow Ebooks tab.

Can I access ebooks on my mobile device?

Yes, most of the time you can. Most ebook providers' websites are compatible with mobile devices. Some ebook publishers also provide PDF files without digital rights management that can be downloaded and read on mobile devices.

In addition, some ebook publishers provide mobile apps that allow you to view ebooks on a mobile device (e.g. My Knovel ToGo app).

Can I download/print ebooks?

The allowances for downloading and printing ebooks vary by publisher. You can usually print or download at least part of an ebook, and many platforms will have set page limits. Some ebook publishers will allow you to download the entire PDF of an ebook. For more information, see the Downloading and Borrowing Ebooks and the Printing Ebooks tabs.

Can I create links to an ebook or sections of it?

Yes. Many sites provide the option to create stable links to ebooks or sections of ebooks (sometimes called 'permalinks'). This is preferable to using the URL in your browser bar because the URL will often not work due to authentication reasons. Stable links are a great way to share ebooks with others. Note: if you create a link to a Queen's University Library ebook, the recipient of the link will need to have a Queen's NetID and password in order to open the ebook.

Why can't I get access to an ebook I found in Omni?

There could be a number of reasons for this:

  • If you are off-campus, have you signed in with your Queen's NetID and password? You will need to be logged in and authenticated to access content.
  • The ebook may signed out or in use by another patron. 
  • The ebook title many no longer be available as the publisher may have removed it.

If you have signed in with your Queen's NetID and password, and the book is not in use by another patron, please contact your subject librarian for assistance.

Does the Library have my course textbook as an ebook?

Probably not. The Library does not normally purchase textbooks. However, many of the required readings for courses are available electronically through the ARES Course Reserve system and some of these will be ebooks.

Are ebooks compatible with screen reading software?

This depends on the file format of the ebook that the ebook provider makes available. Some providers offer HTML versions of their ebooks that are compatible with screen reading software.  Books at Ovid and Twentieth Century North American Drama are two examples of providers who offer HTML versions of their ebooks. 

Other ebook providers offer file formats, such as image-based PDF's without accessible text, which are less usable with screen reading software.

"Borrowable" ebooks that require special software, such as Adobe Digital Editions, cannot be read with screen readers.

The Adaptive Technology Centre at Queen's may be able to assist if you find that an ebook is not usable with your screen reader.

Who do I contact if I'm having problems with an ebook?

Contact your subject librarian or Ask Us.

Can I save a Queen's Library e-book to my Kindle, Kobo, Sony eReader...?

This depends on which e-reader you have, and the DRM (if any) placed on the e-book by the content provider. In general, you should be able to read the web version of most of our ebooks on tablets with browsers, while connected to the Internet.  Because e-book readers and file formats change so quickly, please consult the ‘Help’ feature associated with the title you are trying to download.  Also look for an indication of the DRM associated with the book. For example, when you attempt to download an entire book you may be given a prompt indicating only a portion of the title is available for downloading.