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eBooks: FAQ/Glossary

This guide provides a brief overview of how to find e-books in Primo and how to view, print, and download Collins Library e-books.

eBook FAQ

Below you'll find some answers to commonly asked questions, but if you have a different experience or any further questions, please don't hesitate to let us know!

It's important to remember that the world of eBooks is still very much in flux, and that what you can do with eBook depends on who is offering you access to that eBook and what kind of Digital Rights Management (DRM) they have applied.

  • What kind of eBooks can I find at Collins Library?
    Collins Library acquires eBooks that support the curriculum and the academic work of students and faculty at the University of Puget Sound..
  • I'm looking for a relaxing novel!  What about fiction?
    While we hope you'll find lots of exciting, fun, and intellectually stimulating material, Collins Library eBook collections generally do not include popular fiction. However, you can use your public library card to access popular eBooks. Since eBooks can be accessed from anywhere, you can utilize your home library system, or you can get a local library card and use the Tacoma Public Library or Pierce County Library system.
  • Can I print or copy/paste the entire eBook?
    Different eBook publishers allow different amounts to be copied and pasted or printed. Generally the entire book cannot be copied and pasted or printed, but portions of the book often can be.

    Most eBook sites contain information about how much of a book may be printed or retained, often this information is included in the main page for each eBook.
  • How long can I use an eBook?
    Again, this is determined by each vendor, especially if you want to download the book rather than reading it online.  This information should be clearly stated when you access an eBook.
  • Can I renew an eBook?
    eBooks are not renewed through your library account, but depending on the package, you can check the book out again. For example, as soon as your Ebook Central checkout expires, you can check out the book again.
  • What is the difference between viewing and downloading an eBook?
    Different eBook platforms allow different kinds of use and offer multiple options for using eBooks.
    Viewing eBooks:  Viewing eBooks refers to using the eBook online in a web browser. All that is required is getting to the eBook from a Primo search, then clicking on the eBook title. The eBook should open up right in your browser for you to read online. Everything is handled from the online connection and your browser; you are simply viewing the book online. However, you may want to use your eBooks offline. If that's the case, you'll want to download the eBook if possible.
    Downloading eBooks - If you download the book, you can carry it around anywhere without worrying about web access. If you'd like to read the book on a device like an e-reader, too, you'll typically need to download the eBook.
    Downloading and transferring eBooks to devices can be complicated because it involves issues of digital rights management imposed by publishers, differences in device layouts and operating systems, and more. 
  • If I want to share chapters of an eBook with my friends, can I?
    Yes and no. You can't lend the a digital file in the same way you can lend them a print book, of course. But you can easily send them a permalink, and if they are a student at Puget Sound, they should be able to access the book. And, of course, portions of eBooks that can be copied or printed within publisher restrictions can be shared under fair use with your friends.
  • Can the eBook link be placed in a bibliography or on a Canvas site?
    Yes. eBooks can often be used by simultaneous users thus making them great resources for classes or group projects.  While you can link to an eBook in a bibliography, it is important to follow standard citation formats.  See Collins Library Citation Tools page for guidance.

    To create permalinks (persistent links):
    For Ebook Central eBooks
    : right click on the Read Online icon and copy the link location if you are in Firefox. In Internet Explorer right click the Read Online icon and click Properties to copy the link. 
    For EBSCO eBooks:
    Open the record for the book in EBSCO. Then on the far right column under tools, click Permalink, copy the link that pops up in a box in the middle of the screen, and paste as needed.
  • As a faculty member, can I put an eBook on reserve?
    Since all eBooks are available to all Puget Sound users there is no need to 'reserve' a title.  The simplest course of action is to add the Primo permalink for the title to your Canvas page. You also may be able to link to individual chapters.
  • Can I print reserve chapters or course packs? What are the restrictions?
    Yes. It is possible to create one printed copy of each reserve chapter or course pack.
  • What if I find an eBook that is not in the library collection and I want it purchased?
    If you come across an eBook that you are interested in, please contact your liaison librarian to consult about adding it to the collection.
  • If the library owns an eBook and I want a print copy, what should I do?
    You can search for the eBook in Primo Search.  you can request the book from one of the Summit Libraries.  If the book is not available in Summit, we will try to borrow it on interlibrary loan.
  • Can I download free eBooks?
    It depends on how the free eBook provider has configured their options, but usually, yes! Generally sites provide information about access and downloading.  See the eBook collections tab in this guide for links to free web eBook collections.
  • Where do I get Adobe Digital Editions and the Adobe ID Account? 
    Adobe Digital Editions -read the FAQ and get the download
    Adobe Digital ID account - sign up for your account
  • Where do I get the app for reading the eBooks on my mobile device?
    Bluefire Reader - download the app here.  It's available for both Android and Apple iOS devices.

eBook Glossary

Adobe Digital Editions:   Free proprietary software that offers you the means to view and manage downloaded eBooks that are encoded in the EPUB format (including most of our eBooks and Google Books). Use it to download digital content and transfer DRM-protected eBooks from your personal computer to other computers or mobile devices.

Adobe ID:  A free account for the Adobe Digital Editions software that provides the functionality to activate multiple computers and devices for use with DRM-Protected eBook files. Users create a username and password.  Up to 6 devices can be authorized or registered using one Adobe ID.

Android:  (see also “Operating System”) An open source operating system for mobile devices, owned by Google.  The main competitor of Apple’s iOS operating system.

App:  (see also “Mobile Apps”) Short for “Application.”  Software designed for a specific purpose, often limited to working on a specific operating system. 

Bluefire Reader:  A mobile app that allows the user to open and view eBooks in almost any format. Available for iOS and Android operating systems.

DRM: Stands for “Digital Rights Management,” a technology used to protect digital products from copyright infringement. When you buy a DRM-protected eBook, the eBook is encrypted specifically for you. To view the eBook, you must activate your software, a process that verifies your identity and provides an electronic key for opening your eBook.

Ebook Central - Ebook Central is a vendor of electronic books published by many different publishers on a wide variety of subjects.  Collins Library obtains most of its current eBooks from Ebook Central.

eBook:  “Short for "electronic book." Depending on the type of eBook, it can be read on your computer, your phone, or a dedicated reading device.

EBSCO: A vendor of electronic databases and eBooks.

eBook Reader or eReader: Also known as e-readers, these refer to hardware devices that are designed primarily for the purpose of reading eBooks. Examples include the Kindle™, Nook™, Sony® Reader, and Kobo® Reader.

EPUB:  An open source industry-standard eBook format that makes it possible to optimize and customize text and images for both large displays like a desktop computer and small screens like a smartphone.

iOS: Operating system used on Apple computer devices such as Mac computers, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch.

Mobile Apps: Software designed for a specific purpose, to run on hand-held devices, such as smart phones and tablet computers.

Mobile Device:  Also referred to as "handheld devices." Generally, pocket-sized devices with computing capabilities (including smartphones, PDAs, etc.). These devices generally offer robust functionality without the restriction associated with heavier, tethered equipment.

MyEbscoHost Account:  To download an eBook from  EBSCO the user must first create this personal account, which requires the user to create a username and password.

Glossary adapted with permission from: