Many books at UQ Library are eBooks—electronic or online books. Although eBooks are often quicker and more convenient to access than print books, they have their own complications. This page explains eBooks and how to access them.

If you have problems accessing a particular eBook, please contact us for help.

Adapted with permission from QUT Library.

eBook types, copyright protection, formats

What is an eBook?

According to Wikipedia: an electronic book (variously, e-book, ebook, digital book, or e-editions) is a book-length publication in digital form, consisting of text, images, or both, and produced on, published through, and readable on computers or other electronic devices. Sometimes, the equivalent of a conventional printed book, e-books can also be born digital, without a print equivalent. E-books are often readable on dedicated e-book readers. Personal computers and some mobile phones are also used to read e-books.

Ebooks may be issued by scholarly publishers whose primary market is the research/academic sector; or trade publishers, whose primary market is retail sales to individuals through bricks and mortar, or online, booksellers.

Most electronic books offered by UQ Library are eBooks, not eTextbooks. This is mainly due to the licencing restrictions (digital rights management, or DRM) publishers place on libraries (see information about eTextbooks). DRM is a major pain point for eBook users.

What is Digital Rights Management?

Digital Rights Management (DRM) is copyright protection for electronic products.  It limits the loan length of the downloaded eBook, the amount of copying and printing. DRM can also prevent moving eBooks between stores and devices and can limit the sharing of eBooks. More information on DRM.

Adobe DRM (or ADEPT - Adobe Digital Experience Protection Technology - DRM), is the most common form of DRM for eBooks. It protects downloaded eBooks in ePub and PDF file formats. Over 85 devices and applications support Adobe DRM.

Ebook formats

Typically, eBook files will be in (Adobe) PDF or ePub format.

PDF files are static, and don’t adapt well to all displays and devices. They may be difficult to view on the small screens of smartphones, tablets and dedicated eBook reading devices.

ePub is the preferred ebook file format, as the text reflows to fit the screen. For this reason, ePub was adopted as the official standard of the International Digital Publishing Forum.

File formats and handheld devices

ePub is the format supported by the largest number of ereaders, however, you may need to convert DRM-free ePub files. There are eBook management and eBook file converters for DRM-free ePub files available for download to your computer. These allow files to be transferred and read on proprietary devices such as the Nook or Kindle (see more about handheld devices below).

Large-scale publishers of eBooks purchased by UQ Library, such as Springer and ScienceDirect, are in ePub format, and can be downloaded to devices.

eBooks at UQ Library

E-preferred Purchasing

UQ Library has an e-preferred collection development policy. It acquires resources (such as bibliographic indexes, books and journals) in electronic format, where possible.

The policy recognises advantages gained through digital formats, which may include:

  • 24/7 access
  • remote access
  • simultaneous multi-user access
  • download to portable devices
  • citation export management
  • enhanced searchability
  • multimedia
  • online note keeping
  • accessibility enhancements for screen impaired patrons
  • fast acquisition and availability response times
  • no wear and tear
  • minimised incidence of content loss (pages, whole book).

The eBook marketplace is young and rapidly evolving. It is around 10 years behind electronic journals. UQ Library acknowledges that not all subject areas are suited to electronic formats. Also, not all patrons find digital versions appropriate, at all times.

As such, patrons may still request the purchase of materials in print. Your librarian will investigate the request, and if appropriate, discuss options and issues with you.

The disadvantages of eBooks can outweigh the benefits:

  • user lockouts due to licencing limitations, publisher site maintenance, usage breaches, remote IT access issues
  • varied quality of images
  • inadequacy of page referencing
  • 'extended book' model of digital non-equivalency, where the electronic version does not equate to the print
  • changed mental model: unable to have multiple books open to dip into on desk/bed/other study surface
  • in some cases, need to download eBook reader program in order to access content
  • no on-selling
  • different rights/usage models used by each publisher or platform.

Please do not hesitate to contact your librarian with feedback, or if UQ Library may be of further assistance.

eTextbooks

Information for UQ teaching staff on eTextbooks for courses.

Acquisitions models

UQ Library acquires access to eBooks by three means:

  • annual subscription or lease
  • outright purchase
  • seamless Patron Driven Acquisition (PDA).

An ebook will be available on an ongoing basis if the title has been purchased outright by UQ Library. It may not be available in perpetuity if the title belongs to a package subscribed to or leased by UQ Library via a third party.

To check if an eBook or eTextbook has been purchased or subscribed/leased, check the title via UQ Library Search. UQ Library's subscribed/leased services include: AccessMedicine and Knovel. There is no permanent access to these titles.

The Library also subscribes to, and purchases titles from, third party aggregators, such as Ebook Library (EBL), ebrary, and EBSCOhost. These titles may appear/disappear at the publisher/aggregator's discretion.

UQ Library purchases subject collections, or entire year collections from publishers. These include Springer, Wiley, ScienceDirect, OUP, and CSIRO. The availability of eBooks from purchased collections is stable over time.

With the PDA model, titles appear in UQ Library Search, and are triggered for purchase or short term loan by the patrons through opening the eBook, or a certain number of its pages, downloading, printing or saving. The reader is not aware that they have triggered a financial transaction.

Terms of access

Publishers set the terms of access, not libraries.

Publishers and third party vendors juggle author royalties, copyright, and revenue streams.

Ebooks bought outright from publishers have more flexible DRM conditions. Typically, purchased eBooks offer:

  • unlimited, simultaneous access by multiple users
  • full download to portable devices
  • unlimited printing/copying.

Ebooks leased or purchased from third party vendors come with varied and stringent conditions. Each publisher has their own menu. These may include:

  • limited number of uses per year - e.g. 325 uses, before an additional licence must be purchased. A 14 day loan = 14 uses
  • limited amount of printing, copying or downloading - e.g. 20% of the total, or one chapter (whichever is smaller)
  • no downloading to portable devices
  • single, short term use, where other users are locked out until 1, 3 or 14 days have elapsed
  • one to three simultaneous users, where other users are locked out until a 'seat' is vacated.

Access problems

A common reason relates to licencing. Some eBooks are licenced for a set number of uses per subscription period (e.g. EBL, with 325 uses). Once these uses have been exhausted, another licence must be purchased. This may lead to a gap in availability. Note that with EBL, a seven-day loan is equivalent to 7 uses.

Please contact us if you continue to experience access problems.

Downloading vs reading online

When you are using a UQ Library computer, you do not need to download an eBook. Read it online.

Think of downloading as like borrowing a print book and taking it home. Here, the eBook is on your own computer or device, which you take with you when you leave the Library.

Think of reading online as like using a book in the Library, and leaving it behind when you go.

When reading online, remember to close your browser when finished reading so that the eBook is available to other users in the case of eBooks which have restrictions on the number of concurrent users.

Membership-based access restrictions

Non-UQ staff and students may only access UQ licenced ebooks if ‘walk-in access’ is permitted by the publisher. Access is within the Library only.

This affects hospital-affiliated members based at joint UQ/hospital libraries, Alumni members and members of the public.

See further information for:

As a rough guide: if the publisher’s journals allow walk-in access, and their ebooks appear on the same platform, the ebooks will be accessible. Wiley is an example.

Third party vendors, such as EBL and ebrary, do not permit walk-in access.

Reading on a UQ Library computer

If you are using a UQ Library computer, you do not need to download an ebook to read it. You read it online.

Two common ebook platforms at UQ Library are EBL and ebrary. Both automatically load ebooks for online reading.

Only click the download button if using your own computer or device, and wish to access the book at later times.

Help with UQ Library's key eBook platforms

Functionality on each platform varies.

UQ Library recommends reading platform help sections, in order to maximise your reading experience. YouTube also offers useful vodcasts.

Ebook titles accessible at UQ Library are listed in UQ Library Search, the Library's discovery tool.

Accessible titles may be all the titles listed, or may be only those with a green icon (versus red - which indicates 'not accessible'). Icons may be images of a key, book, tick, or box (inter alia).

Note that features such as Read Out Loud, or Enlarge Text, may be located behind platform menus called Help, Support, or Tools.

The following table provides assistive links to some of the eBook platforms available at UQ Library:

Platform UQ Library Search Record Online Help Link Name Location on Platform Screen YouTube Vodcasts
(Google search strings, or publisher clips)
CAB International Available FAQs (under About EBooks) Top left n/a
CSIRO Available Help Top middle n/a
CUP (Cambridge Books Online) Available Help Top left n/a
EBL Available Help/ Feedback Top right Google search string
ebrary

Available

Help Top right Google search string
EBSCOhost Available EBSCO Support Site n/a Google search string
Emerald (Emerald Insight) Available Support Top right n/a
Hart Publishing Available User Guide Top right n/a
Morgan & Claypool

Colloquium digital library of life sciences

or

Synthesis digital library of engineering and computer science

Help Top right For Synthesis resource
OECD Available (on platform, choose Ebooks) Help Top left n/a
OUP (Oxford Scholarship Online) Available Help Top right Clip
Palgrave Macmillan Available Help Top right n/a
Royal Society of Chemistry Available Help Top right n/a
Sage Available Help Top left n/a (platform launched June 2012)
ScienceDirect (Elsevier) Available Help Top right Clip
Springer Available Help Top left

Google search string

or

Springer’s own channel

Wiley n/a (see: Wiley Online Library) Help Bottom left n/a

 

World Scientific Available Help Top right n/a

 

Printing, copying and downloading limits

Copyright limits and licences

The terms of commercial licences between the University and vendors apply to the way we can access, download, copy and print eBooks. Those terms supplant the Australian Copyright Act, including its fair dealing provisions.

There are many different licences, so check the access conditions for precise details. That said, here is a general summary of what you’re likely to find:

  • Typically for ebooks hosted on publisher platforms (such as Springer's), each chapter of an ebook is provided in Digital Rights Management (DRM)-free PDF format.  You are able to download and read them immediately on your computer using Adobe Reader.
  • You may also copy and transfer DRM-free PDFs to an unlimited number of other computers, tablet devices/ smartphones and eBook readers.
  • There are no technical impediments to printing and copying/pasting, where you are doing so for your own study or research.
  • Ebooks on third party hosts (such as EBL and ebrary) are likely to have inbuilt and monitored printing and copying/pasting allowances (see below).

Note that material should never be posted on sites, nor shared with others, without first checking its licence stipulations.

EBL eBook limits

To check limits when reading online:

Online allowances display in this format:

  • Print: 94 of 94 pages remaining
  • Copy: 24 of 24 pages remaining

Download allowances display in this format:

  • Print: 94 of 94 pages remaining
  • Copy: 24 of 24 pages remaining

This means that if reading online, you can print up to 94 pages and copy/paste 24 pages. If you then download the eBook, you can print an additional 94 pages and copy/paste an additional 24 pages. For each user, for a given eBook, print and copy/paste permissions refresh every 6 weeks after the first application of print or copy/paste for that eBook.

To check limits when reading after downloading to Adobe Digital Editions:

  • Go to Library View
  • Select the item in Adobe Digital Editions
  • For a given item, select the drop-down arrow
  • Select Item Info (Ctrl + I).

You cannot get around EBL allowance restrictions by repeat downloading the eBook. As EBL can’t monitor how much a patron prints or copies offline through Adobe Digital Editions, it instead reduces the download print allowance with each download. These download allowances refresh after 6 weeks:

  • 1st download - 20% of total pages allowed
  • 2nd download - 10% of total pages allowed
  • 3rd download - 0% of total pages allowed

Download Allowances change after each download of an EBL eBook, with the EBL Online Reader showing what you are able to print the next time you download.

  • For example, before you download the book for the first time, the allowance may display that print equals "82 of 82 pages" (where 82 pages is 20% of the book).
  • Once downloaded, it will then read "41 of 82" (41 being 10% of the book) and if downloaded again, this will drop to "0 of 82" (0 being 0% of the book). These download allowances refresh after 6 weeks.

EBL printing limits

Printing can be done both after downloading to Adobe Digital Editions or when reading online in the EBL Read Online mode.

If you download and print from an EBL eBook in Adobe Digital Editions, you will encounter repagination. This may result in unexpected page printing.

In order to ensure that the correct pages are printed, for example pages 63-80:

  • In Adobe Digital Editions, go to pg 63 (see pg 63 in the top-right hand corner of the book page). 63 will also appear in the rectangular box in the Toolbar above the book page number
  • Next to the rectangular box, you will see for this ebook (86/353). Adobe Digital Editions recognizes page 63 as pg 86 as it counts all the index pages etc. Thus, we know pg 63 corresponds to pg 86
  • To determine to which page 80 corresponds, go to page 80. You will see that Adobe Digital Editions recognizes page 80 as page 103
  • To print pages 63-80 inclusive in Adobe Digital Editions, make the print page number range 86 - 103.

Adobe Reader works in the same way with whole DRM-free PDF ebooks.

If you print from an EBL eBook in Read Online mode (without downloading), some users may see two Print dialogue windows when printing. The problem is related to an Adobe Reader change between versions 8 and 9. To avoid printing selected pages twice, ensure you install the most current version of Adobe Reader or click Cancel on the second window.

Ebrary eBook limits

You are typically able to print a maximum of 40% or 1 chapter (whichever is the greater) per title per browser session. However this limit is publisher-dependent.

EBSCOhost eBook limits

You are typically able to print a maximum of 60 pages per title per browser session. However this limit is publisher-dependent.

Accessing eBooks on your computer

Reading DRM protected eBooks online

On a computer, Adobe Digital Editions is needed to read Adobe DRM-protected content. It is free. More information is available at Adobe Digital Editions Help.

Ebook platforms using Adobe Digital Editions

Ebooks from the following platforms offered by UQ Library use Adobe Digital Editions:

  • Ebook Library (EBL) - any
  • ebrary platform - some
  • EBSCOHost platform – the majority.

plus:

  • Any eBook available in PDF or ePub format protected with Adobe DRM (for example, eBooks available at commercial sites such as eBooks.com and many public libraries).

Adobe Digital Editions - Accessibility

Since Adobe Digital Editions v.2.0, Adobe has supported vision impaired readers.

For more information on support for impaired vision, please see our support for clients with disabilities.

Adobe Digital Editions - Installation

Installation:

Authorize computer:

  • During installation of Adobe Digital Editions installation, there is an option to either Authorize Computer or Don’t Authorize Computer.
  • If you select Authorize Computer and login with your Adobe ID and Password (create this via the same screen, if not yet done), you will have multiple transfer options once you have downloaded an eBook.
  • If you select Don’t Authorize Computer, you cannot transfer an Adobe DRM-protected ebook to another computer or device.

Transfer options after authorizing:

  • You can transfer the same ebook to up to 6 computers and to up to 6 tablet devices, smartphones or eBook readers under the following circumstances:
    • Where Adobe Digital Editions is installed on a computer and authorized with the same Adobe ID, or
    • Where eBook reading apps on the tablet device/smartphone have been authorized with the same Adobe ID, or
    • Where the eBook reading device/s have been authorized with the same Adobe ID.
  • If you wish to deauthorize:
    • Open Adobe Digital Editions
    • Type Ctrl + Shift + D. 

EBL books via Adobe Digital Editions

When using a UQ Library computer, read eBooks online. No need to download.

When downloading to your own computer:

  • If reading the eBook online in the EBL Online Reader, click the Download tab
  • Next, select the length of time you want to access the downloaded loan, and click the Download button
  • Adobe Digital Editions will open on your computer, and the EBL eBook will automatically download (to Adobe Digital Editions). You will be able to read the downloaded (loaned) eBook for the period selected.

EBL allowances to print and copy/paste refresh 6 weeks following your original print or copy/paste.

Ebrary books via Adobe Digital Editions

When using a UQ Library computer, read eBooks online. No need to download.

When downloading to your own computer:

  • Click the Download button in the ebrary search results list or from within QuickView mode for a given eBook
  • You will be prompted to sign in to ebrary. If you have an account, enter your ebrary username and password. If you do not have an account, click on the link Create an account and go through the process. Once done, sign in with your ebrary username and password
  • Select the option to download the entire document, and click OK
  • In the pop-up box, select Adobe Digital Editions as the application with which to open the eBook. The eBook will then download to Adobe Digital Editions.

Ebrary’s alternative download option is to download a specific chapter or page range as an image PDF, as described on their site.

After the designated access time (14 or 7 days), the PDF will remain on your computer or device, but will be unreadable. It is recommended that you delete the unreadable file to avoid confusion.

EBSCOhost eBooks via Adobe Digital Editions

When using a UQ Library computer, read ebooks online. No need to download.

When downloading to your own computer:

  • Click the Download (Offline) button in the EBSCOhost search results list or Download This eBook from within QuickView mode for a given ebook
  • You will be prompted to sign in to EBSCOhost. If you have an account, click on Sign into my EBSCOhost and enter your EBSCOhost username and password. If you do not have an account, click on the link Create a new account and go through the process. Once done, sign in with your my EBSCOhost username and password
  • Select the option Checkout and Download to download the entire document
  • The eBook will be added to the Checkouts area of the folder. If you are not logged into your My EBSCOhost folder, you will be prompted to do so
  • In the pop-up box, select Adobe Digital Editions as the application with which to open the eBook
  • Adobe Digital Editions will then open on your computer and the EBSCOhost eBook will automatically download to Adobe Digital Editions.

You will be able to read the downloaded eBook for the download period selected.

Publisher-hosted eBook platforms

Typically for eBooks hosted on publisher platforms, each chapter of an eBook is provided in Digital Rights Management (DRM)-free PDF format.  You are able to download and read them immediately on your computer using Adobe Reader.

You may also copy and transfer DRM-free PDFs to an unlimited number of other computers, tablet devices/ smartphones and eBook readers.

Ongoing access to a downloaded eBook

Some publishers regulate download periods, and you are required to choose from a list of options (e.g. 1 day, 3 days, 14 days). After the designated download time, the .epub or .pdf file will remain on your computer or device, but will be unreadable. It is recommended you delete the unreadable file to avoid confusion. It is also recommended that you consider returning the eBook early if your reading is complete, so that it is available for other users in the case of eBooks with restrictions on the number of concurrent users.

FileOpen Acrobat Reader

The FileOpen plug-in is required to open Taylor & Francis ebooks:

Accessing eBooks on phones, tablets, eBook readers

Reading DRM protected eBooks on handheld devices

The Bluefire Reader app allows Adobe DRM-protected eBooks to be read on Apple and Android devices. It downloads direct to Apple and Android devices.

Ebooks may also be transferred from Adobe Digital Editions on a computer, to Apple devices via the Bluefire Reader app.

Ebooks can be transferred from Adobe Digital Editions to Android using the Aldiko app for in Adobe DRM ePub and PDF eBooks, as well as non-encrypted (no DRM) ePub and PDF formats.

Note that Apple devices do not support Adobe Digital Editions.

Key ebook apps

  Apple Device Android Device UQ Computer Own Computer
Read Online n/a n/a ADE ADE
Download & Read Offline Bluefire Reader Bluefire Reader n/a ADE
Transfer from ADE (on computer) to device Bluefire Reader Aldiko n/a n/a

Other apps include eBook readers by: iBook, Kobo, and Kindle

Bluefire Reader - Apple

Installing:

  • If not already done via iTunes, install the Bluefire Reader app directly to your iPhone / iPad / iPod Touch
  • Touch on the app. You will be prompted to authorize the app with your Adobe ID. (You do this only once)
  • If you do not have an Adobe ID, sign up for an account, then return to the prompt asking you for your ID.

To download eBooks: look for a Download (or similar) button for the ebook in your web browser, and click it. The eBook will download to the Bluefire Reader app.

Bluefire Reader - Android

Installing:

  • If not already done, install the Bluefire Reader app directly to your device
  • Touch on the app. You will be prompted to authorize the app with your Adobe ID. (You do this only once)
  • If you do not have an Adobe ID, sign up for an account, then return to the prompt asking you for your ID.

To download eBooks: look for a Download (or similar) button for the eBook in your web-browser and click it. The eBook will download to the Bluefire Reader app.

Aldiko - Andoid

Installing:

  • On your Android device, search for Aldiko
  • Authorize the Aldiko Book Reader app with same Adobe ID that you used to authorize Adobe Digital Editions
  • To authorise your Android device, open up the Aldiko Book Reader app, and tap on Adobe DRM under General Settings
  • Type in your Adobe ID and password and then tap on Sign in
  • If you do not have an Adobe ID, sign up for an account, then return to the prompt asking you for your ID.

This app allows the transfer eBooks previously downloaded to Adobe Digital Editions, to your Android device.

iBooks - Apple

The iBooks app is available for Apple devices only.

Use the iBooks app to purchase ebooks from the iBookStore. Apple uses its proprietary Fairplay DRM for eBooks sold through the iBookStore using the iBooks app. These eBooks can only be read via the iBooks app on Apple devices.

Dependent on Apple ID, there is a limit of 10 computers and Apple devices authorized that can access eBooks purchased via the iBookStore.

Transferring to iBooks on an Apple device

To add ePub or PDF files from outside the iBookstore to the iBooks app: files must be DRM-free, and manually synced to your device using iTunes 9.2 or later.

You can transfer non-DRM protected ePub and PDF eBook files to your Apple device from your computer via iTunes.

Either add them to your iTunes library by:

  • Choosing File > Add File to Library, or
  • Dragging the ePub file to the Books library in iTunes on your computer. 

To read these books, simply sync them to your device.

Kobo - Multiple devices

There is a Kobo eBook reading app available for the Apple devices, BlackBerry, Android and Palm Prē.

Ebook reading apps for Apple devices (except Apple's iBooks app) no longer have the ability to buy books directly from within the eBook app.

The Kobo eBook reading app for devices (excluding Apple devices) allows you to buy eBooks from the Kobo eBookStore from within the app. Kobo's eBooks purchased from the Kobo eBookStore can also be downloaded to Adobe Digital Editions for reading on PC and Mac computers.

They can be transferred from Adobe Digital Editions to the vast majority of dedicated eBook readers - apart from the Kindle. You can also buy eBooks directly via the Kobo eBookStore if you have the Kobo Wireless eReader.

Kindle - Multiple devices

There is an Amazon Kindle eBook reading app available for Apple, BlackBerry, Android, and Windows 7 devices.

Ebooks that are purchased from the Amazon Kindle Store are protected by Amazon's proprietary Kindle DRM, which means they can only be read on the Kindle eBook reader or via a Kindle app.

The Kindle Cloud Reader gets around the problem of not being able to buy Kindle eBooks via the Kindle app for Apple devices. Amazon has released this web-based, touch-capable eBook reader app, allowing its Kindle customers to buy and access eBooks on any device including Apple devices.

The reader is compatible with Mac and iPad versions of the Safari browser and Google’s Chrome. The new eBook reader app includes an embedded store allowing users to purchase books without leaving the ‘web app’.

The Kindle eBook reader and associated ebook reading apps are designed to automatically sync your library and bookmarks across all platforms. Thus, you can pick up where you left off on one device, on another device. If you own a Kindle, purchase books on it and start reading, it will automatically sync your library and bookmarks across all your Kindle eBook reading apps (and vice versa).

Ebrary - Apple

There is an ebrary app for Apple devices.

Installing:

  • Once installed via your device, select the app
  • You will be asked to enter your personal ebrary username and password. (If you have not setup a personal ebrary username and password, you need to do this by clicking Sign In and then by selecting Create an Account)
  • You will then be asked to enter your Adobe ID
  • If you do not have an Adobe ID, sign up for an account, then return to the prompt asking you for your ID.

Selecting Online Search allows you to search across all of the ebrary eBooks available via UQ Library.

You can then read the ebrary eBook online, or select the Download button to download eBooks from the site directly to your Apple or Android device.

Download periods are either 14 or 7 days, depending on the eBook. If an ebrary eBook allows multi-user access, the downloaded eBook will be accessible for 14 days.

If an ebrary eBook is single-user-only access, it cannot be downloaded. If it could be downloaded, other UQ students and staff would not be able to access the eBook – not even for online viewing. You can return the titles early if you wish, by selecting the Return button that replaces the Download button.

Instructions for specific devices and apps

Limits on syncing downloaded eBooks

You are able to transfer the same ebook to up to 6 computers and up to 6 tablet devices and eBook readers:

  • Where Adobe Digital Editions is installed and authorized with the same Adobe ID (computers) or
  • Where eBook reading apps on the tablet devices/smartphones have been authorized with the same Adobe ID, or
  • Where the eBook reader/s has/have been authorized with the same Adobe ID.

iTunes Store purchases can be used or synced on up to five different computers (can be a mix of Macintosh or Windows-compatible computers) authorized with the same Apple ID.

Note that an Apple ID can have up to 10 computers and Apple devices associated with it. Each computer and device must be authorized with the same Apple ID.

Once a device or computer is associated with your Apple ID, you cannot associate that device or computer with another Apple ID for 90 days.

Converting DRM-free ePub files for use with specific devices

Some examples of eBook management and file converters available for download to your computer:

  • Calibre, allows conversion from many different file formats to many different output formats, including DRM free ePub, for example:

    • Input Formats: CBZ, CBR, CBC, CHM, EPUB, FB2, HTML, HTMLZ, LIT, LRF, MOBI, ODT, PDF, PRC, PDB, PML, RB, RTF, SNB, TCR, TXT, TXTZ
    • Output Formats: EPUB, FB2, OEB, LIT, LRF, MOBI, HTMLZ, PDB, PML, RB, PDF, RTF, SNB, TCR, TXT, TXTZ
  • RetroRead, a free site/service that converts DRM free ePub files to the Kindle-compatible MOBI file format suitable for reading on the Kindle
  • Amazon Whispersync, a Kindle app optimized for the PC and MAC, Apple devices, Android devices, and Windows Phone 7 devices.  It gives users the ability to read purchased Kindle eBooks. Amazon Whispersync automatically syncs your last page read, bookmarks, notes, and highlights across devices (including the Kindle), so you can pick up where you left off on another device
  • Pages app for Apple devices, creates your own DRM-free eBook (in either ePub or PDF) in seconds. Starting with a MS Word file (.docx or .doc or .txt), import the file into Pages and then convert to ePub. More instructions.

Finally, a Google search using the phrase ‘convert to epub’, brings up a list of converter apps.

Apple devices

Managing Apple devices

Using the Account Information page in iTunes on your computer, you can:

  • View which devices or computers are currently associated
  • Remove unused devices or computers, and
  • See how long before they can be associated with a different Apple ID.

Procedure:

  • Open iTunes
  • Sign in to your Apple ID by choosing Store > Sign In from the iTunes menu
  • Choose Store > View My Account from the iTunes menu.
  • From the Account Information screen, click Manage Devices.

Next to each device, you will see when each was associated to your Apple ID. You will also be able to track how many days are remaining before the associated devices can be associated to a different Apple ID.

Remove Apple ID from a device or computer

  • Open iTunes
  • Sign in to your Apple ID by choosing Store > Sign In from the iTunes menu
  • Choose Store > View My Account from the iTunes menu
  • From the Account Information screen, click Manage Devices
  • Click the Remove button next to the device name you would like to unassociate.

Note: Removing a device from your Apple ID does not override the 90 day timer. The timer must complete 90 days from the day the device was associated before it can be associated to another Apple ID.

Apple uses its proprietary Fairplay DRM for eBooks that are sold in the standard ePub format through the iBookStore using the iBooks app.

There is a limit of 10 computers and Apple devices authorized using your Apple ID that can access eBooks  purchased via the iBookStore.  To add ePub or PDF files from outside the iBookstore to iBooks, they must be DRM-free and manually synced to your device using iTunes 9.2 or later.

Apple devices do not support Adobe Digital Editions. To get Adobe DRM protected content (e.g., EBL, ebrary or EBSCOHost eBooks) onto Apple devices, use the Bluefire Reader app to download Adobe DRM protected content direct to the app. Alternatively, transfer eBooks previously downloaded to Adobe Digital Editions to the Bluefire Reader app.

Download to Apple device

Using the web-browser on your device, you can download eBooks from EBL, ebrary or EBSCOHost in PDF or ePub format, protected with Adobe Digital Rights Management (DRM).

The Bluefire Reader app must be installed on the device.

Download: EBL to Apple device

Procedure:

  • Using an Apple device, navigate to the EBL eBook using your web-browser
  • When reading the eBook online in the EBL Online Reader, click the Download tab. The EBL eBook will automatically download to the Bluefire Reader app
  • You will be able to read the downloaded ebook on the Apple device for the download period selected.

The process outlined above does not require the intermediate step of downloading the EBL eBook to Adobe Digital Editions, and then transferring from there to the Apple device. This simplifies the process.

Download: ebrary to Apple device

Procedure:

  • Using an Apple device, navigate to the ebrary eBook using your web-browser
  • When reading the eBook online in ebrary, click the Download tab. You will be prompted to sign into ebrary. If you have an account, enter in your ebrary username and password. (If you do not have an account click on the link Create an account, and do this. Once you have, sign in with your ebrary username and password)
  • Select the option to download the entire document, and click OK. (Download periods are either 14 or 7 days depending on the eBook. If an ebrary ebook is multi-user access the downloaded eBook will be accessible for 14 days. Single-user-only ebrary eBooks cannot be downloaded. If it were downloaded, other UQ students and staff could not access the eBook – not even for online viewing.)
  • Select the button Open in... and choose the Bluefire app. The ebrary eBook will then be automatically downloaded (to the Bluefire Reader app). You will then be able to read the downloaded eBook on the Apple device for the download period indicated (14 or 7 days).

You don’t need to return a downloaded ebrary eBook. However, returning a downloaded eBook will make it available to others. Early returns of downloaded eBooks can be done through via BlueFire Reader on your device.

To do this in Bluefire Reader while reading the eBook:

  • Select Contents
  • Select Info, and
  • Select Return Item.

Download: EBSCOhost to Apple device

Using an Apple device, navigate to the EBSCOHost eBook using your web-browser.

  • Click the Download (Offline) button in the EBSCOhost search results list or Download This eBook from within QuickView mode for a given eBook
  • You will be prompted to sign in to EBSCOhost. If you have an account, click on Sign into My EBSCOhost and enter your EBSCOhost username and password. If you do not have an account, click on the link Create a new account and go through the process. Once done, sign in with your My EBSCOhost username and password
  • Select the option Checkout and Download to download the entire document
  • In the pop-up box, select Bluefire Reader as the application with which to open the eBook. Bluefire Reader will then open and the EBSCOHost eBook will automatically download to Bluefire Reader for the download period specified.

The process outlined above does not require the intermediate step of downloading the EBSCOHost ebook to Adobe Digital Editions and then transferring from there to the Apple device. This simplifies the process.

Transfer: Adobe Digital Editions to Bluefire Reader Apple device

There are pre-requisites for transferring the same ebook to up to 6 computers, and to up to 6 Apple tablet devices/ smartphones and eBook readers via iTunes:

  • Adobe Digital Editions is downloaded and installed on your computer
  • Bluefire Reader app is added to your Apple device
  • both are authorized with the same Adobe ID.

Procedure:

  • Open iTunes, and connect your Apple device
  • Once iTunes has recognised your Apple device, select the icon for your device in the left-hand side column
  • Go to the toolbar at the top of the screen, and click on the Apps tab
  • Scroll down to the File Sharing section, and click the Bluefire Reader icon in the Apps section.
  • Click the Add… button and browse to where Adobe Digital Editions has stored your eBook. By default they will be saved to one of these locations:
    • Windows XP: C:\Documents and Settings\username\My Documents\My Digital Editions\
    • Windows Vista: C:\Users\username\My Documents\My Digital Editions\
    • Windows 7: C:\Users\username\My Documents\My Digital Editions\
    • OSX (MAC): Your-home-directory/My Documents/Digital Editions/

iTunes will copy the file to your Apple device, and Bluefire Reader will automatically add this item to your Bluefire Reader Library. You can now open and read your eBook in the Bluefire Reader app.

Transfer: non-DRM protected ePub and PDF Kobo ebook files to an Apple device

Non-DRM protected ePub and PDF eBook files can be transferred to Apple devices from computers via iTunes.

Drag files into the Kobo Documents part of the File Sharing section.  It is at the bottom of the Apps tab that appears when you select your Apple device from the Devices list in iTunes. This option is only available for Apple devices running iOS 3.2 and higher.

Transfer: non-DRM protected ePub and PDF Kindle ebook files to an Apple device

You can transfer your non-DRM protected ePub and PDF eBook files to your Apple device from your computer via iTunes.

Drag files into the Kindle Documents part of the File Sharing section at the bottom of the Apps tab.  It appears when you select your Apple device from the Devices list in iTunes. This option is only available for Apple devices running iOS 3.2 and higher. 

Purchase: eBooks via non-Apple apps, for Apple devices

Apple device users are not able to buy eBooks via apps such as the Kobo app or the Kindle app. Apple announced it would no longer approve apps that redirected sales out of the app and into the devices’ web browser.

Purchases must be done manually via a browser. However, content purchased via a web-browser can be accessed via the app.

Apple’s own iBooks app allows the purchase of ebooks from Apple's iBookStore.

Android devices

Download to Android device

Using a web-browser on your device, you can download eBooks protected with Adobe Digital Rights Management (DRM) from EBL, ebrary or EBSCOHost, in PDF or ePub format.

The Bluefire Reader app must be installed on the device to read the eBooks.

Procedure:

  • If required, install the Bluefire Reader app directly to your device
  • Touch on the app and you will be prompted to authorize the app with your Adobe ID. (You only need to do this once)
  • Look for a Download (or similar) button for the eBook in your web-browser and click.

You are able to transfer the same eBook to up to 6 computers and up to 6 tablet devices/smartphones and eBook readers under the following circumstances:

  • Where either Adobe Digital Editions is installed and authorized with the same Adobe ID (computers), or
  • Where eBook reading apps on the tablet devices/smartphones have been authorized with the same Adobe ID or
  • Where the eBook reader/s has/have been authorized with the same Adobe ID.

Download: EBL to Android device

Procedure:

  • Using an Android device, navigate to the EBL eBook using your web-browser
  • When reading the ebook online in the EBL Online Reader, click the Download tab. The EBL eBook will automatically download to the Bluefire Reader app
  • You will then be able to read the downloaded eBook on the Android device for the download period was selected in EBL.

The process outlined above does not require the intermediate step of downloading the EBL eBook to Adobe Digital Editions and then transferring from there to the Android device. This greatly simplifies the process.

Download: ebrary to Android device

Procedure:

  • Using an Android device, navigate to the ebrary eBook using your web-browser
  • With the eBook online in ebrary, click the Download tab. You will be prompted to sign into ebrary. If you have an account enter in your ebrary username and password. (If you do not have an account click on the link Create an account and do this. Once done, sign in with your ebrary username and password)
  • Select the option to download the entire document, and click OK. (Download periods are either 14 or 7 days depending on the eBook. If an ebrary eBook is multi-user access the downloaded eBook will be accessible for 14 days. If an ebrary eBook is single-user-only access it cannot be downloaded. If it were downloaded, other UQ students and staff would not be able to access the eBook – not even for online viewing.)
  • Select the button Open in... and then choose the Bluefire app. The ebrary eBook will automatically download to the Bluefire Reader app. You will be able to read the downloaded eBook on the Apple device for the download period indicated (14 or 7 days).

You don’t need to return a downloaded ebrary eBook. But it will make it once again available to other patrons. Early returns of downloaded eBooks can be done through via BlueFire Reader on your device.

To do this in Bluefire Reader while reading the eBook select Contents then Info and then select Return Item

Download: EBSCOhost ebook to Android device

Procedure:

  • Using an Android device, navigate to the EBSCOHost eBook using your web-browser
  • Download an ebook title from EBSCOhost by clicking Download (Offline) on the search result page, or from within the detailed record. If you are not logged into your My EBSCOhost folder you will be prompted to do so.
  • Select your preferred checkout period, and click Checkout & Download. The eBook will be added to the Checkouts area of the folder. The EBSCOHost eBook will then automatically download to the Bluefire Reader app. You will be able to read the downloaded eBook on the Android device for the download period selected.

The process outlined above does not require the intermediate step of downloading the EBSCOHost eBook to Adobe Digital Editions and then transferring from there to the Apple device as is possible via the process outlined in the box below. This greatly simplifies the process.

Transfer: Adobe Digital Editions to Android device

The Aldiko app must be installed.

Procedure:

  • Find the default file location of eBooks that you have downloaded into Adobe Digital Editions on your computer. Navigate to the eBook file location as below depending on your operating system:
    • Windows XP: C:\Documents and Settings\username\My Documents\My Digital Editions\
    • Windows Vista: C:\Users\username\My Documents\My Digital Editions\
    • Windows 7: C:\Users\username\My Documents\My Digital Editions\
    • OSX (MAC): Your-home-directory/Documents/Digital Editions/
  • Copy the eBook file/s (either ePub or PDF files) located in one of the locations given above, to an SD (Memory) Card
  • Put the SD Card into the Android device, and then tap on the SD Card icon at Home
  • Check the box next to the file/s that you want to import (or tap on the menu key and choose select all)
  • Tap on the Import to Aldiko button in the pop-up window at the bottom.

Alternatively:

  • Create a folder (for example, call it ‘Import’) on your SD Card, and copy all the eBook files (either ePub or PDF files) that you want to import to that folder
  • Tap on the SD Card icon at Home
  • Check the box next to the folder
  • Tap on the Import to Aldiko button at the pop-up window at the bottom
  • Return to the Aldiko library view, by touching the home icon in the Aldiko app and choosing your favourite library view. Your eBook should be available to read on your Android device.

Please note that there are a large variety of Android devices from various manufacturers; your experience may vary, depending on the device.

You are able to transfer the same eBook to up to 6 computers and up to 6 tablet devices/smartphones and eBook readers under the following circumstances:

  • Where either Adobe Digital Editions is installed and authorized with the same Adobe ID (computers), or
  • Where eBook reading apps on the tablet devices/smartphones have been authorized with the same Adobe ID or
  • Where the eBook reader/s has/have been authorized with the same Adobe ID.

Other devices

Other eBook compatible devices include: Sony Reader, Kobo eReader, Nook or other electronic ink (E Ink) eBook readers (excluding Kindle eReader)

You transfer an EBL, ebrary or EBSCOHost eBook in PDF or ePub format protected with Adobe DRM, from Adobe Digital Editions to the eBook reader.

Transfer: Adobe Digital Editions to a Sony Reader

Procedure:

  • Connect your Sony Reader into the USB drive on your computer
  • Adobe Digital Editions should prompt you to authorize your Sony Reader. Use the same Adobe ID as you used to authorize Adobe Digital Editions on your computer
  • Once authorized, a Sony Reader icon will appear within the Bookshelves area of the Adobe Digital Editions window. (In Adobe Digital Editions make sure you are still in the Library viewing mode)
  • Copy the ebook/s onto your Sony Reader by dragging and dropping the title/s you want to transfer to the Sony Reader icon
  • After copying to the Sony Reader, “eject” the Sony Reader from your computer and safely unplug the USB cable
  • The ebook/s should appear on your Sony Reader. If the ebooks/s do not appear, try restarting the Sony Reader

Transfer: Adobe Digital Editions to a Kobo eReader

Procedure:

  • Connect your Kobo into the USB drive on your computer
  • Adobe Digital Editions should prompt you to authorize your Kobo. Use the same Adobe ID as you used to authorize Adobe Digital Editions on your computer.
  • Adobe Digital Editions will now recognize your Kobo and will list it within the Bookshelves area of the Adobe Digital Editions window. (In Adobe Digital Editions make sure you are still in the Library viewing mode)
  • To move eBooks onto the Kobo simply drag and drop them to the Kobo icon
  • After copying the eBook/s to the Kobo, “eject” the Kobo from your computer and safely unplug the USB cable
  • The eBook/s should appear on your Kobo. If the eBook/s do not appear, try restarting the Kobo.

Transfer: Adobe Digital Editions to a Barnes and Nobel’s Nook

Be aware that currently you cannot buy eBooks for the Nook from the Barnes & Noble Bookstore outside of the U.S.

Procedure:

  • Connect your Nook into the USB drive on your computer
  • Open Adobe Digital Editions. Adobe Digital Editions will now recognize your Nook and the Device Setup Assistant box should appear
  • Adobe Digital Editions should prompt you to authorize your Nook. Use the same Adobe ID as you used to authorize Adobe Digital Editions on your computer.  (In Adobe Digital Editions make sure you are still in the Library viewing mode)
  • To move eBooks onto the Nook simply drag and drop them to the Nook  icon on the left-hand side of Adobe Digital Editions
  • After copying the ebook/s to the Nook, 'eject' the Nook from your computer and safely unplug the USB cable
  • The eBook/s should appear on your Nook. If the eBook/s do not appear, try restarting the Nook.

Transfer: Adobe Digital Editions to Amazon’s Kindle eReader

This is not possible: Kindles are not compatible with Adobe Digital Editions.

Kindle eBook readers only access DRM-protected eBooks that are protected with its own proprietary DRM (Kindle DRM). Therefore, you cannot transfer and read eBooks from Adobe Digital Editions (e.g. downloaded EBL eBooks protected with Adobe DRM) to the Kindle.

Do not buy a Kindle with the expectation that you will be able to read DRM protected eBooks that you have previously downloaded to Adobe Digital Editions, from academic and public library catalogues.

Transfer: DRM-free PDFs or ePub eBooks to a Kindle eReader

The Kindle does support DRM-free PDFs.

Hook up your Kindle to your computer through a USB cable, and drag-and-drop the PDFs from your computer to the Kindle.

The Kindle also supports DRM-free ePub files (e.g. downloaded from Google Books) however they must be converted from ePub into a file format the Kindle can understand such as PDF or MOBI.  To do this, you need an app such as Calibre or RetroRead.