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E-Books at UMass Amherst Library   Tags: collections, format  

Last Updated: Nov 17, 2016 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

Introduction/FAQ Print Page

Adobe Digital Editions


ADE provides free digital rights management and a platform for borrowable e-books. Your borrowed e-books stay with your ADE account and your copy of the software, so you must set it up on your own computer, not shared Library computers. Once set up, your account can be synched to, and ebooks moved, between multiple devices.

When you click to download (borrow) an eligible e-book, indicate in the pop-up box that the .acsm file (a "key" file for ADE, not the book itself) should open in Adobe Digital Editions. ADE opens in a separate window with the book displayed within. The actual pdf file will be stored in your computer.



Accessing academic library e-books is a little different from buying e-books or or borrowing them from a public library. UMass Amherst Libraries e-books are published by the same scholarly and academic presses as our print collection, but are acquired from several vendors.   

  • All can be read online. Reference librarians can supply a password, if necessary.
  • Almost all can be partially downloaded (a chapter, or 60 pages per browser session) to be read offline.
  • Our three biggest vendors, EBL, ebrary and Ebsco E-Books, allow "borrowing" of MOST titles for full-text offline reading. Log in with your NetID and password, or, for Ebsco, create a separate account with the vendor.  Also, the first time you borrow one of these e-books you need to download free Adobe Digital Editions software and set up an account there. ADE provides the platform for reading and managing rights for downloaded e-books,  -- it controls loan periods and ensures that "borrowed" books aren't pirated. Additionally, IOS and Android devices require Bluefire software.

See the tabs above for details about each vendor.

Like library databases and e-journals, e-books can be used in the Libraries by anyone. Reference librarians can supply a password, if necessary. UMass students, staff and faculty can also access e-books remotely. They're cataloged. Search as you would for any book in the Five College Catalog (limit to UMass e-books here -- specify e-book in format) or WorldCat Local (be sure UMass the e-book).

In the catalog, click the e-book title, then Click for call number and availability, then click the online link.
In WorldCat Local, click the e-book title, verify that UMass or Five Colleges owns the title, then click the link.

You can also search on the vendors' platforms. Links are provided in the tabs above, or on the Database list (see E-Book Collections link at the bottom of the page).



Q: Can I download UMass Amherst library e-books onto my Kindle?
A: No, but Kindle Fires do read pdf, so downloaded sections of ebooks can be read on them.

Q: Does the library have e-books on the OverDrive platform?
A: No, Overdrive is a public library service, usually.

Q: What about e-textbooks and course readings?
A: Check with your instructor about textbooks. Course readings from the library may be available through e-reserves or course pages. Both are usually downloadable for off-line reading.

Q: I see an e-book listed in WorldCat Local or the Five College Library Catalog, but I can't get to it. Why not?
A: If UMass hasn't acquired the book, UMass students, staff and faculty can't access it. Access should be possible at the subscribing library.

Q: Can community users -- people without UMass OIT accounts --- use UMass e-books?
A: Not off-site. In the library, they can read most e-books and download sections in pdf. The Reference librarian can supply a password if necessary.

Q: Can my ADE exist on more than one computer?
A: Yes, set up your account initially with this option.

Q: Can you tell if an e-book is available or checked out from the catalog record?
A: No, but most e-books can be borrowed by more than one person at a time.

Q: Why do catalog records for e-books sometimes include a call number? Does that mean there's also a print copy?
A: No, any print copy would have its own catalog record. The call number, which indicates subject, is included for context.

Q: Can you tell from the catalog record which vendor an e-book comes from?
A: Not always. Many bib records for ebrary books mention NetLibrary, for example.


Formats and Devices

At present, all UMass library e-books are in Adobe pdf format. Most devices, including new Kindles, can read them.


IoS Devices

Borrowing library e-books on an IOS device requires BlueFire Reader synched to your Adobe Digital Editions account.

1. If you don't have one yet, create an ADE account on your computer. Allow for multiple devices.

2. If you don't have one yet, get an Apple ID.

3. Download Bluefire Reader on your IOS device. As prompted, authorized for use with Adobe ebooks using your ADE account.

4. When downloading your e-book, follow prompts to open in Bluefire.



Android Devices

Borrowing Ebsco e-books requires the Bluefire app.

Ebrary has created its own app for the Android.

© 2016 University of Massachusetts Amherst.

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