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An introduction to how to find E-books in the library

AU Library Search for Ebooks


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Stacey Marien
Subjects: EBooks

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Text: (571) 248-7542


Downloading and Printing



All ebook collections allow you to read ebooks online using a web browser. This requires that you access the books through the library website, and also requires that you log in with your portal credentials.

Most publishers have made it very difficult or impossible for academic libraries to allow users to download ebooks to e-reading devices.

Every ebook collection is different in terms of downloading, copying, or printing content. Some ebook collections will allow books to be downloaded to your computer or reader for a certain amount of time. However, most of the ebook collections that the library subscribes to do not allow downloading of their content for offline use. Some also restrict the number of pages or amount of text that can be copied or printed from ebooks.  The library does not have one source that will show you all the restrictions for each ebook publisher.  You can browse the help section of each platform to see if information can be found about downloading and printing restrictions.


E-readers - General Information

  • Most American University Library ebooks do not work using proprietary devices, such as Kindle and NOOK, but will work on most tablets.
  • Not all ebooks can be downloaded and read on all readers.  This list is purely a guideline and not authoratative.  For the most up to date information, please consult the Help section of the ebook database or platform.  For example, if you are viewing an Ebsco ebook, please check their help section for instructions on how to download the e-books to an e-reader.
  • Consult  your e-readers manual to determine the file formats supported.
  •  Here is an article on how to convert your ebook collection to be read on the Kindle

E-readers - Devices

  • Amazon Kindle: PDF; Kindle format (.azw); Mobipocket (.mobi or .prc); Microsoft Word (DOC, DOCX); HTML; TXT; RTF (doesn't support EPUB format)
  • Barnes & Noble NOOK: PDF, EPUB, PDB, and NOOK format
  • Sony Reader: PDF, EPUB, TXT, RTF, and BBeB Book

E-readers - Reserves

  • The Course Reserves Desk has 2 Kindle Paperwhites and 1 Kindle Fire loaded with second copies of certain highly circulating reserves titles available to check out.  These second copies are in addition to our print copies of the same titles.  The devices can be borrowed for 3 days at time. New titles will be considered or added to meet demand.

E-readers and file formats guide

There is no standard format for reading ebooks; most ebook readers can only be read in certain formats.

The format of an ebook depends on the device used to read the ebook. It is also important to note that not all e-readers recognize all ebook formats.

Mobile Apps

  • For information on mobile apps and how to download to your app, please see the libguide Mobile Tools.