eBooks are electronic books you can view online or download rather than get from the shelves. You can:

  • read an eBook in your web browser
  • print selected pages from your browser
  • download an eBook to your computer, tablet, or phone

Find eBooks at the Library

UQ Library provides access to over 1 million eBooks. To find them, complete a UQ Library Search and apply these filters:

  • “Show only” Available online
  • “Content type” Books

Remember to log in to see the full range of resources.



You can also perform searches directly on eBook platforms, including:

Conditions of use

Conditions of use for eBooks vary by platform and provider. Check an eBook's conditions by clicking 'Show License' on the UQ Library Search result.

Further details, like how many pages you may print or how many people can read a book at the same time, are often indicated on the eBook provider's website.

Read online

You may be able to get all you need from an eBook just by reading it in your browser. When you finish reading, close your browser to ensure the eBook becomes available to other users.

If you are using a library computer you will only be able to read eBooks in your browser.

Download eBooks

You can download most of our eBooks and read them in other programs on your own computer, or take them anywhere on a mobile device.

Books hosted on a publisher’s own platform (eg. Oxford, Springer, Wiley) can usually be downloaded by chapter or whole book in PDF format. These files do not need to ‘borrowed’ and can be read and downloaded by multiple people at the same time.

Borrow eBooks

Other eBooks, hosted on third-party platforms (eg. eBook Central, EbscoHost), can only be downloaded and used for a limited period. Think of it like borrowing a book from the library. That copy will not be available to other users until it is returned. When the loan period expires, your downloaded file becomes unreadable and the eBook is 'returned' to the library.

To borrow these eBooks, you need to download special reader software and create an Adobe ID account.

Reader software

For desktop computers or laptops, you can use Adobe Digital Editions (ADE).

You can use Bluefire Reader for iOS and Android mobile devices, amongst other apps.

Adobe maintains a list of devices and software that are compatible with ADE.


You will need to create an Adobe ID so you can authorise your computer or mobile device with ADE.

For Ebsco eBooks, you will also need a My EBSCOhost account.

Contact AskUs for further assistance with the borrowing process.

File Formats

eBooks are generally available as either PDF or EPUB files. PDF files have a fixed layout and do not adapt well to different-sized screens. In comparison, EPUB files are designed to adapt to the size of a device’s screen, so they can be easier to read with tablets and smartphones.


Referencing eBooks can be difficult because reader software will often display page numbers that differ from the published print book. Some PDFs may have the published page numbers 'printed' in the document itself, but EPUB files will not.

The same page in an EPUB file and a PDF file. The published page number is 'printed' in the PDF.
The same page in an EPUB and a PDF. The published page number (38) is 'printed' in the PDF.

Refer to our referencing guide or contact your librarian if you have problems citing an eBook.


If you wish to use screen reader software, downloading the eBook first is recommended.

You can use Adobe Digital Editions with the following screen readers:

Some eBook platforms allow you to change the size, font, and colour of the text.  Check for accessibility help information on the platform.

For further assistance, contact your Librarian, a Disability Advisor, or see our Support for Clients with Disabilities page.