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Downloading eBooks: eBooks FAQ

This guide provides instructions for downloading eBooks found through IUCAT or Library eBook platforms to multiple devices.

eBooks at IUS

The following is a list of Frequently Asked Questions about eBooks and eReaders. 

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FAQ about eBooks and eReaders

Frequently asked questions about eBooks and eReaders



Do I have to download an eBook to read it?

Definitely not!  All of our eBooks can be read using a web browser.  However, the benefits of downloading an eBook are:

   1. You can read the eBook even if you're not connected to the internet (on an airplane, where there's no WiFi, etc.)

   2.  You can read the eBook on many different devices.

   3.  If the eBook has restrictions on the number of users who can view it at any given time, downloading an eBook means that it will be available to you throughout the checkout period.


What eBooks are available for download? 

Many of the eBooks on the EBSCOhost and ebrary platforms are available for downloading onto most tablets, eReaders, and other mobile devices.  See the device-specific sections of this guide for detailed instructions on downloading eBooks onto that particular device.  You can also download eBooks onto your eReader or mobile device from other platforms that enable you to download content as a PDF.  


Some eBooks and eJournals will allow you to download a PDF of one page, chapter, or article at a time.  Generally, if you see that a downloadable PDF is available, you can transfer that PDF to most eReaders, including Kindle, iPads, and NOOK.  To find out how, see the answer for "How do I transfer a PDF file from my computer to an eReader or mobile device?"

In addition, there are a few ways to get free books for your device:

  • Public libraries in the area offer downloadable eBooks and audiobooks through a system called "Overdrive."  Overdrive works with all major eReaders.  Visit your local public library in person or online to find out more.
  • There are many free eBooks available for download, including classics in the public domain.  Some of the eBooks listed in this guide for free Kindle books can be downloaded by many other devices, too.


How do I transfer a PDF file from my computer to an eReader or mobile device?

The steps for transferring a PDF from your computer to your eReader are different for each device.  Here are a few guides that can help you transfer PDFs to major eReaders:


What if an eBook is currently checked out by another user?

If the eBook you want to download is in use by another person, you can place a hold on it.  This ensures that you are notified when the book becomes available, and keeps the book from being checked out by another user before you.  (Please note: Placing a hold on an eBook is only available in EBSCOhost, and you must have an EBSCO account in order to place a hold.  See the Getting Started section of this LibGuide for instructions on creating a free EBSCOhost account.)  To place a hold, enter your preferred email address in the field provided and click the Place Hold button. 

The eBook is placed in the Holds area of your My EBSCOhost Folder when it becomes available.  You are notified via the email address you provided and have two days to download the eBook before it becomes available for anyone to check out.


What library eBooks are available to read online, from my computer?

IU Southeast users have access to numerous eBooks that can be read in a web browser.  Go to IUCAT to search for the title of an eBook, or browse our collections of eBooks for eBook platforms to which we provide access.


Can I read journal articles on my eReader?

That depends.  If the journal allows you to download a PDF of the article, you can transfer it to your eReader.  To find out how, see the answer for "How do you transfer a PDF file from a computer to an e-reading device?"


Do you offer downloadable audiobooks?

We currently don't offer access to audio eBooks, but there are a few other options available:

  • Browse the collection of audiobooks on CD on the main floor of the IU Southeast Library, or if there's a particular title you're interested in, search IUCAT
  • Public libraries in the area may offer access to downloadable audiobooks.  Visit your local public library in person or online to find out more.


What formats work on my eReader?  

These devices work with the following textual formats:

  • 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, BBeB Book


What does Adobe DRM mean and which devices are compatible with it?

Adobe DRM is a digital rights management (DRM) system created by Adobe.  A digital rights management system limits the amount of copying, printing, and sharing of eBooks (and other online content like music and video games).  Adobe DRM may also be called Adept, ADE, Adobe Digital Editions, or Adobe Reader Mobile.  Kindle is one of the only eReaders that is not compatible with Adobe DRM; a list of devices that are is available here.


Which eReader should I buy?

It really depends on your personal reading preferences, as well as what kind of content you read.  There are numerous helpful comparisons on the web, including these blog posts:

If you didn't find the answer to your question here, please ask us!


Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0)

The Downloading eBooks LibGuide by Kate Moore is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-SA 3.0).

The eBooks FAQ is based on the MIT Libraries E-Reading FAQ at