Electronic books (ebooks)

The university has purchased thousands of electronic books (ebooks) and the number is constantly rising. We also make available many ebooks which are freely availalbe ("open access"). Our collection consists of textbooks, recommended reading and reference material such as how-to books, dictionaries and handbooks.

You can find an ebook in a number of ways:

Ebook collections

Business Source Premier Business
Credo Reference Reference
Ebsco ebook collection General
Emerald ebooks General
IEEE Xplore ebooks Computing
Ovid ebooks (Lippincott Williams and Wilkins) Nursing
Packt Publishing E-book Data & Machine Learning Collection Computing
Springer Nature ebook collection Science
ProQuest ebook Central General
VLebooks (Askews and Holts) General

You will need to use your university username and password to access ebooks, and we do not always have access to every book you may find on each of the sites.

There are also freely available open access ebook collections at OAPEN, DOAB and Project Gutenberg

Reading online and downloading ebooks

We have bought most of our ebooks from ProQuest and VLebooks

We recommend that you select the read online option to access an ebook. This is more straightforward than downloading the book as you will still have full access to all of the book content, but will be able to print a chapter or section of the book (subject to copyright law). The option to print is not available if you choose the download option.

However, if you are aware that you are likely to have no internet access for a while it may be worth choosing the download option. You can download an ebook for up to three days.

If you download ebooks from our library to read offline, you will need the correct software to read them on your laptop or smartphone. Ebooks for download are now largely in ACSM format, which cannot be read by Adobe Acrobat. (This does not affect viewing ebooks online).

You can use the following free readers to read downloaded ACSM format ebooks:

Windows/Mac users can download Adobe Digital Editions

For details of software for reading downloaded books from VLEbooks see VLEbooks - How do I download an eBook? and for ProQuest Ebook Central see Proquest - Downloading for Offline Access

Open access books in PDF format can be read with Adobe Reader

If you are still having problems, please contact library.technical@beds.ac.uk

Single user ebooks

A number of ebooks can only be viewed by one user at a time, due to licensing restrictions laid down by the publisher. To try to offset this difficulty, we have purchased several copies of these titles, which means that more users should be able to access the books simultaneously. However, as prices can be very much higher than print copies, we cannot always purchase as many as we would like and there may be times you may have to wait to access a book.

If you have trouble accessing an ebook and the problem is not related to your password, please look at the guidelines above, depending upon the device which you are using. You could also try using a different web browser, or clearing your search history/cache. If you are receiving error messages when trying to access the ebooks, please send an email to library.technical@beds.ac.uk. It would be helpful if you could include a screenshot of the error message which you are getting on screen.

Why can’t the library get every book electronically?

You may wonder why some books are in the library electronically while others are not.

Library ebooks have to have special licences – they are different to the ones you can buy for your own personal use.

Certain publishers only make ebooks available to libraries through highly expensive or restrictive licencing models, while others do not make electronic versions of their books available for library purchase at all.

The academic community is coming together to negotiate better terms for ebook publishing. For more information see the Joint statement on access to ebook and e-textbook content and the #ebookSOS campaign website and video

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