Using EBSCO eBooks

How do I access EBSCO eBooks?

Go to the EBSCO eBook collection or search for ebooks through the library catalog.

How do I read an EBSCO eBook online?

eBooks can be read online in the PDF Full Text or EPUB Full Text link.  Ebooks may be read on desktop or laptop computers and tablet devices. The reader is browser-based, so there’s no need to download special software or hardware.

access ebook online

EPUB is an open eBook standard and file format that allows you to increase the size of the font, enabling you to optimize the viewing experience on desktop computers, smart phones, and tablets.

For more information, see Reading an EBSCO ebook

How long can I read an EBSCO eBook online?

Most EBSCO ebooks may read online for an indefinite period by an unlimited number of users. For a number of purchased titles, when you view them, they are considered "checked-out" until 30 minutes of inactivity. While reading these eBooks, you can prevent the reading session from expiring by any action that updates the eBook (e.g. turning the page, etc.) When these ebooks are checked out, they are not available to other users until your online reading session has ended. 

Can more than one person use an EBSCO eBook at a time?

Most EBSCO ebooks can be used by an unlimited number of users at a time. A number of EBSCO ebooks that are purchased titles can only be used by 1-3 users at a time. There may be times that a title is not available and a “Sorry, this eBook is in use” message is displayed because that title’s user limit has been reached.

Can I place a hold on an EBSCO eBook that is checked out?

If an eBook in use by another user, you may place a hold on it to download when it becomes available. Enter your email address in the field provided and click the Place Hold button.

 placing a hold







The eBook is placed in the Holds area of your My EBSCOhost Folder. When the eBook is available, you are notified via the email address you provided and the eBook appears in the Checkouts area of your folder. You have one day to access the ebook. 

Can I save or print pages of the EBSCO eBook?

Depending on publisher-specified limits, up to 100 pages of an EBSCO eBook can be printed, saved or emailed as a PDF file (per user) from within the eBook viewer to be printed at a later time.

For printing and saving instruction, see How to Print, E-mail or Save EBSCO eBooks Pages as a PDF

  • Some titles may not allow for printing or a saving due to individual publisher-specified limits.
  • The number of pages you may print or save may vary depending on individual publisher-specified limits.
  • eBook pages saved as a PDF can be transferred to, and read on eReader devices such as the Nook or Kindle. Consult your device's user manual for instructions on how to manually transfer files to the device.

Can I copy text in an EBSCO ebook?

You can copy selections of a book you've checked out or downloaded, and paste it into a text editor, such as Microsoft Word. Please note you are still required to adhere to Fair Use and Copyright laws. Under Fair Use, you may copy a small part of the copyrighted book, not the entire work.

If the text you wish to copy is spread across more than one page, you will need to copy and paste each page separately.

Can I take notes in EBSCO eBooks?

You can take notes on an EBSCO eBook online by clicking on My Notes in the upper left of the open ebook. Click to view your notes or to create a new note about the eBook or a page of the eBook and save it to your personal folder. (PDF format eBooks only). To save your notes, you will need to sign in to your EBSCOHost account or create one if you do not already have one. 

You may take notes in the downloaded Adobe Digital Editions reader, but notes taken there are only maintained during the days you have the book downloaded. They are not permanent. 

How can I download an eBook to my computer?

Downloading allows you to read ebooks offline. Most EBSCO ebooks are downloadable. In order to download eBooks, you must have Adobe Digital Editions 1.7.1 or higher installed on your computer. This is a free download available at

1. Click the Download (Offline) link for the eBook you would like to download.

2. Sign in to your EBSCOHost account. If you don’t have an account, click on Create a New Account in the upper right.

3. After you’ve signed in, you’ll be prompted to checkout and download the ebook. Click the Checkout & Download button. The site will download an .acsm file. 

4. Select Open with or Save File from the resulting dialog box.

If you select Open with, your eBook is opened with Adobe Digital Editions. If you select Save, the eBook is saved to your computer and can be opened with Adobe Digital Editions at a later time.

5. The first time you open your ebook in Adobe Digitals Editions, you will need to enter your Adobe ID. If you do not have one, click Create an Adobe ID. You will only have to do this once. Once created, write down your Adobe ID and password. 










6. When the download is complete, Adobe Digital Editions will launch, and you can begin reading your book.

When an eBook is checked out, it is added to the Checkouts area of your folder. If you have not yet downloaded the eBook, it can be accessed and downloaded from here.

See Checking out and Downloading an EBSCO ebook for more information. 

Why am I unable to download an ebook?

An ebook that's missing the "Download (Offline)" link cannot be downloaded in its entirety. Certain publishers restrict downloading of their ebooks. Some of these publishers include Ashgate Publishing, Edward Elgar Publishing, I.B. Tauris, Kogan Page, MIT Press, New York University Press, Princeton University Press, Reference Service Press, University of California Press, University of Oklahoma Press, McGill-Queen's University Press, STM Learning, Inc., and University of Arkanas Press.  Some of these publishers permit downloading, saving, and printing of portions of text, such as chapters.

How long can I check out/download an EBSCO eBook for?

Most EBSCO eBooks may be downloaded for offline use for 7 days. After 7 days, the ebook will disappear or no longer be accessible from your bookshelf, Adobe Digital Editions bookshelf, or device. 

Even if the download is unsuccessful, the book is checked out at this point and reserved for your use for the duration of the checkout period. If there is a problem with the download, you can find the book in your Checkouts folder and try again.

How do I return an ebook?

You do not need to return a downloaded ebook. After the designated access time, the file will remain on your computer or device, but it will become unreadable.  Once it times out, you might want to delete the (unreadable) file to avoid confusion.

You don’t need to return downloaded books, but returning the download of a limited-user book will make it available to others. 

To return an ebook early: 

  1. Open Adobe Digital Editions or Bluefire
  2. Select “Return Borrowed Item.“

Note, returned ebooks may take up to an hour to become available.

How can I download books to an Apple device (iPhone, iPod, or iPad)?

eBooks can be downloaded and read offline using an Apple device using the Bluefire Reader app available for free from iTunes.

Before you download eBooks you will need:

To download an eBook:

  1. Click the Download (Offline) link for the eBook you would like to download. In order to download eBooks, you must be logged into your personal My EBSCOhost folder. If you are not logged in when attempting to download, you are prompted to do so.
  2. Bluefire should automatically open and prompt you to view your library or begin reading the eBook.

How can I download books to an Android device?

eBooks can be downloaded and read offline using an Android device with the Bluefire Reader app available for free from Google Play. Note: Your device must be running Android 2.1 or higher. 

You will need the following:

Before you download an eBook to Bluefire, you must authorize the app with your Adobe Digital Editions ID.

To download an eBook:

  1. Click the Download (Offline) link for the eBook you would like to download. In order to download eBooks, you must be logged into your personal My EBSCOhost folder. If you are not logged in when attempting to download, you are prompted to do so.
  2. Bluefire should automatically open and prompt you to view your library or begin reading the eBook.

Because Android devices vary by software and hardware features, your process to transfer eBooks may differ slightly.

After your eBook checkout expires, the eBook file is still be on your device but can not be opened. You must remove the file manually by opening Bluefire and selecting to remove it from your library.

Which mobile devices are compatible with EBSCO eBooks?

EBSCO eBooks are compatible with all devices and apps supporting Adobe eBook DRM, a standard used by most popular eBook providers.

Can I checkout and download an EBSCO eBook to a Kindle?

EBSCO ebooks cannot be downloaded directly to a Kindle due to Amazon's proprietary software, however, you may download and read ebooks using a Kindle Fire with the free Bluefire Reader app. See these instructions from EBSCO support. 

You may also transfer saved PDF Files to any Kindle eReader device or Kindle app on iPhone using Amazon's Send to Kindle option.

Can I export EBSCO eBook citations into RefWorks?

From the results list, click on the title of the eBook you wish to export. This will take you to the eBook's detailed record. In the detailed record, click Export in the right-hand column. The RefWorks login screen should open up. Once it opens, enter your RefWorks login name and password.  

 exporting to RefWorks

Where can I get more help with using EBSCO eBooks?

Please refer to the EBSCO eBooks guide or contact a librarian