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Electronic Books

ebook overview site

What's In This Guide

This guide is intended to help students find and use the eBooks provided by Illinois State University.  We own a wide range of ebooks, which are generally found and accessed through our catalog.  For further information about our eBook collections see the following pages:

  • Finding eBooks: This page will show you how to locate ebooks within Milner's catalog.
  • Using eBooks: This page contains general instructions for accessing and using Milner's ebooks.  Platform-specific instructions can be found on the sub-pages listed here.
  • eTextbooks at ISU: Milner is purchasing electronic editions of many textbooks assigned by ISU instructors.  This page contains a listing and links for the current eTextbooks we are aware of.

Why isn't there an ebook?

Milner provides our users with access to more than 550,000 eBooks.  During the pandemic we have made an extra effort to increase our e-resource offerings.  If there's an ebook you'd like to use for your research or teaching, place a request and we may be able to purchase it if it's available.  Unfortunately, as much as we wish we could provide every eBook our users want, there are a variety of reasons why it often isn't possible.  

  • Many titles just aren't published as ebooks.  
  • Many other titles are only available for individuals to purchase, and only offer licenses that prevent libraries from making them available to users.
  • When an ebook is available for libraries to purchase, often it's only available with highly restrictive license terms that prevent more than one user from accessing it at a time.  We try to avoid purchasing ebooks with unacceptably restrictive licenses, especially if a class uses that title as a textbook.
  • Sometimes ebooks are available for institutional purchase in other countries, but not licensed for sale in the United States.
  • Sometimes ebooks are available, but the license for institutional purchase is too expensive.  The price of an institutional ebook license is usually many times more expensive than the price for an individual.  Occasionally the price of a single ebook can exceed the entire budget allotted for an academic subject.
  • Sometimes ebooks are only available as part of a larger subscription to a package.  The size and cost of these packages is often prohibitive.

Why use ebooks?

  • Portability.  They're available whenever and wherever you need them.  Your backpack will be much lighter with only a laptop, tablet or phone.
  • Accessibility.  Most ebook platforms are compatible with a variety of screen readers, including JAWS, NVDA, VoiceOver and TalkBack.  Ebooks allow for easy zooming and are also compatible with screen magnifiers.  Some platforms include a wide range of other accessibility features.
  • Keyword Searching.  eBooks save you time and help you find exactly the information you need.
  • Tools and Features like highlighting and annotation.