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Electronic Books: FAQ

ebook overview site

Programs & Apps for eBooks

Adobe Digital Editions

Required for downloading & viewing eBooks on a PC or Nook.

Bluefire eReader App

Free application for downloading & viewing eBooks on iOS (iPad, iPhone) and Android devices.

ebrary App for iOS or Android

ebrary is one of the major eBook platforms, and their app will allow you to search, download and read any ebrary eBook.

EBSCOhost App for iOS or Android

Other ePub Readers for Android

Most Common Questions

Answers to the following questions depend upon the platform and publisher rules:


I was reading an ebook, and it asked me if I wanted to "Create a Loan."  What does this mean?

This message indicates that the ebook you were using is one that we don't currently own.  You may still borrow it for free like any other ebook in our collection by creating a loan, and the library will pay a very small fee to the publisher.  After three people have borrowed the ebook we automatically purchase a copy.  Please do not refrain from using this service because you are afraid of costing us money -- we have desginated a portion of our budget to purchase ebooks in this manner because it is a fast and highly efficient way to meet user needs, and we want you to make use of it.


How many people may use an ebook at one time?

This will vary from book to book.  In some instances, only one user may access the book at a time, and you may see a "busy, try again later" message.  In other cases multiple users can view the book simultaneously.  The availability of multiple-user options varies by platform.

In some of our aggregators there is unlimited access to online versions, but there may be limitations to the number of copies downloaded at any one time.

How long can I have a copy?

If you choose to download rather than read the item online, you may be restricted to a period of 14 days for Ebrary.  EBL and eBooks/NetLibrary allow you to choose a loan period between 1-7 days. Online reading has no time period restrictions.

Can I print?

Printing restrictions vary by platform. Ebrary allows the printing of one chapter or 60 pages.  eBooks/NetLibrary allows you to print 60 pages.  EBL allows you to print 20% of the book, and copy/paste 5% of the book.

Do I need special software/hardware?

In general you can read online with just a standard browser, and you can highlight, annotate and save your current place by creating a personal login.  You will need special software, generally Adobe Digital Editions, if you choose to download certain books onto certain readers/workstations.  Here are the instructions for downloading from the ebrary book platform.

All three of our primary ebook platforms require Adobe Digital Editions to download. 

What is Adobe Digital Editions?

Adobe Digital Editions is essentially the same software as Adobe Acrobat Reader with the addition of Digital Rights Management (DRM) that renders the PDF file unusable after the checkout period is complete.  The eboooks provided by our three major vendors cannot be read by Adobe Acrobat Reader or any program other than Digital Editions.  Adobe Digital Editions is a free download. 


ebrary books FAQ

The information below applies to ebrary titles. The information page ( has more detail, including a link to a list of publishers that don't allow any downloading for their books.


We have a quick help video of performing basic functions on the ebrary platform.



Before a user can download a book, they need to create a personal Bookshelf account. Once created, there are two ways to download books on ebrary. When someone clicks on the download button, both options display in the pop-up menu.

   1. If someone just needs a chapter or a range of pages, they can create a pdf. They can choose to save chapters or ranges of pages. 

There is a maximum limit of 60 pages per pdf file created. Once the file has been saved, it can be moved to other devices if desired. This option WILL create a file that can be used on Amazon Kindles. These files are permanent until the user deletes them.

   2. If someone wants to download the entire book, they will need to use Adobe Digital Editions. This is free software, similar to Adobe Reader. The difference is that Digital Editions books ?time out? or are ?returned? to the collection after 7 or 14 days. This format CANNOT be loaded onto Amazon Kindle but can work with other devices able to run Digital Editions, including iPads (if the BlueFire Reader app is installed). Users can have up to 10 ebooks at a time when using Digital Editions.

     Adobe Digital Editions software is NOT installed on the public workstations. Users can view the books via the browsers on the public computers or use option number 1. If they are using the wireless network, they should be able to install Adobe Digital Editions on their own, unless it is a library laptop.


Can community members with courtesy cards can use ebrary? The answer is yes, but only if they come into Milner Library and use our guest computers. Off-campus access to our ebrary collections is available but only to faculty, students or staff of Illinois State University.