Thursday, 10 January 2013

Ebooks summary

What are ebooks?
This sounds simple enough doesn't it, but in fact ebooks come in a variety of formats.  You can buy an ebook for a device such as Kindle or Ipad and own the book; there are also lots of out of copyright books that you can download for free.

However, with many ebooks available from the library, it isn't like that.  Often you view the ebook as a web-page, or (with ebooks on Dawsonera) you can download the book for a limited period (1-3 days).

Some of our ebooks (e.g. those on Science Direct or on EbscoHost) do allow you to download and keep extracts; and transfer them to your Kindle or Ipad.

Where can I find ebooks?
You can go directly to any of our ebook suppliers either by the links on this page or by typing the name of the supplier into Library Search.  However, all of our ebooks (with only a few exceptions) are listed on Library Search individually, so you will find them in the same way as you find printed books.

Do I need special software to view an ebook?
Yes and no.  The library's various ebook platforms use standard browsers and applications.   All users will need a a recent version of Adobe Reader and Windows users will need any of the main browsers - Internet Explorer Version 7.0 or newer, Firefox Version 3 or newer or Google Chrome.  Mac users are advised to use Google Chrome (see below).

Many problems with all e-resources can often be resolved by switching browsers.

Why can I only see one page?
A common problem when viewing ebooks is that the PDF of the page opens outside the ‘viewing window’ preventing you from seeing more than one page.

In the Windows version of Adobe Reader (and older versions of the Mac version), this is easily rectified in the settings within Acrobat Reader.  Open Adobe Reader and go to Edit>Preferences>Internet and make sure that “display PDF in browser” is checked.

Mac users, should read on...

So, what are the issues for Mac users?
First of all ebooks are not necessarily compatible with Preview, so you will need a recent version of Adobe Reader (which you can download and install for free).  You will also need to make this your default PDF viewer.

To make Adobe Reader your default viewer, CTRL click on any PDF, select 'Open With' and choose 'Adobe Reader'. Once you have selected Adobe Reader, check the box that says 'Always Open With' (as shown below).



Secondly, dawsonera supposedly supports the Safari browser.  However, there are compatibility issues between recent versions of Safari and Adobe Reader, which means that if you have a recent version of Safari, you will experience problems.

One option, which I haven't tested, is to use the Schubert plugin.  However, it is far easier to download Google's Chrome browser, and use this in preference to Safari.  If you experience problems with Chrome, type about:plugins into the address bar, and make sure that Chrome PDF viewer is enabled.

When I try to open an ebook, all I can see are random characters...
This normally happens when you are using Preview rather than Adobe Reader – see the advice for Mac users above.

Can I print from an ebook?
Both the Dawsonera and Ebsco platforms allow you to print from ebooks.

With Ebsco, the software allows you to create a PDF of an extract of around 10% of the book, which can be saved or printed.  With Dawsonera, there is a button on the menu bar to the left which allows you to print the page you are on.  In Dawsonera, each page you want to print must be printed separately.

How can I download ebooks?
The ebooks available from Dawonera can be downloaded for up to three days, after which time the file becomes inaccessible.  You can download to your home computer, laptop, or memory stick, but tablets are not currently supported.  Unlike when you view online, you cannot copy or print from these downloads.

Ebooks available from Science Direct allow you to download individual chapters, and ebooks available from Ebsco allow you to print sections using 'print to PDF' - this is normally around 10% of the total.

Where can I get help?
Staff in the library will be very happy to help you overcome any issues you have using ebooks.  You may also find the links below helpful.

Ebooks FAQs

Ebooks on Ebsco - user support