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Ebooks: Using ebooks

Introduction

Ebooks purchased by the Bodleian Libraries ordinarily have enhanced features. They can be read across different devices and downloaded for offline use. One this page you will find more information about downloading ebooks and accessing them on different devices.

Downloading ebooks

Bodleian Libraries ebooks can be read online in a browser. However, a key function of most ebooks is the ability to download content for use offline or on a different device. The tabs in this box provide more information on the different requirements needed to download ebooks from different platforms.

Nearly all ebooks found through SOLO can be read online via a browser. However some platforms also allow those with a Single Sign-On to download ebooks to use offline.

Ebook CentralEBSCOhost, and VLeBooks allow you to download entire ebooks to read offline for a limited time in either the EPUB or PDF file format. Once the loan expires you will need to download the ebook again. The loan lengths for each platform are available below.

These ebooks use Digital Rights Management (DRM) and you will need to create a free Adobe ID and install either Adobe Digital Editions (software for PCs and Macs, app for tablets and smarphones). See the Adobe tab for more information.

On other platforms, like Cambridge Companions Online, the entire ebook cannot be downloaded to use offline. However, most of these sites do allow you to save or print a single chapter as a PDF.

Saving a chapter as PDF

If you just want a copy of a chapter as a PDF to keep, you do not need to download the entire ebook - simply use the tools provided on the platform to save or print a PDF.

For more information on copying text, saving chapters, printing, and downloading ebooks, choose from the guides below.

Adobe ID

Due to Digital Rights Management (DRM) restrictions, you will need to register for an Adobe ID in order to download ebooks from Ebook Central, EBSCOhost, and VLeBooks.

Use this account to then authorize your Adobe Digital Editions software or app.

Adobe Digital Editions

You will need Adobe Digital Editions to download Bodleian Libraries ebooks to a computer or other device for a limited amount of time (a loan). This is offered by Ebook Central, EBSCOhost, and VLeBooks.

Adobe Digital Editions is compatible with Windows PCs and Macs. An app version is available for mobile devices and tablets, both iOS and Android.

Alternatively, iOS users can download the paid app Bluefire Reader from the App Store.

You will also need Adobe Digital Editions to transfer ebooks to a Nook or Kobo ereader.

Using different devices

Different devices offer different levels of compatibility with Adobe services, which are required to download many Bodleian Libraries ebooks. For more information see the compatibility tab above.

Some Bodleian Libraries lend devices for reading and downloading ebooks such as laptops and ereaders. Find out more on the Borrowing devices tab.

Android or iOS devices

  • Read entire ebook: Yes
  • Required software: Adobe Digital Editions (app)
  • Adobe ID required: Yes
  • Save PDF chapters: Yes

Kindle

  • Amazon's Kindle does not offer the same functionality as other handheld devices. See the Kindle tab above for more information, or visit Amazon's help pages for support.

Kobo ereader

  • Read entire ebook: Yes
  • Required software: Adobe Digital Editions (to transfer ebook)
  • Adobe ID required: Yes
  • Save PDF chapters: Yes
  • Help and support

Nook ereader

  • Read entire ebook: Yes
  • Required software: Adobe Digital Editions (to transfer ebook)
  • Adobe ID required: Yes
  • Save PDF chapters: Yes
  • Help and support 

Windows PC or Mac

  • Read entire ebook: Yes
  • Required software: Adobe Digital Editions
  • Adobe ID required: Yes
  • Save PDF chapters: Yes

In general, Kindles can display PDF documents but not EPUBs. Amazon have their own ebook formats (.mobi or .azw) which are not compatible with other ereaders (Nooks, Kobos), but there are a range of Kindle apps available for tablets, smartphones, and computers.

Sending PDF Chapters

Setup

Ebook platforms which allow you to download a chapter or selected pages as a PDF mean you can read some portions of ebooks on a Kindle. Cambridge Core also offer a Send to Kindle option on chapters of their ebooks and articles of their ejournals. Members of Oxford University and Bodleian Reader Card holders  can also convert files to a Kindle-friendly format using SensusAccess.

To be able to send PDFs to your Kindle, you need to set some options up first.

  1. Go to https://www.amazon.co.uk, sign in, and go to Manage your Content and Devices.
  2. Select 'Preferences', 'scroll down', and select 'Personal Document Settings'.

Here  you will find an email address for your Kindle and any other Kindle apps and devices you have registered (usually something @kindle.com).

There is also an 'Approved Personal Document E-mail List'. You will need to add your own email address to this list, and '@cambridge.org' if you want to use Cambridge Core's Send to Kindle option. This prevents other email addresses from sending spam to your Kindle or infecting it with viruses.

Sending a PDF 

  1. Open a blank email to send to your Kindle's email address from your own email address.
  2. Attach the PDF you want to send, and leave the contents and subject of the email blank.
  3. Send the email.
  4. Make sure your Kindle is connected to WiFi (if you have 3G on your Kindle, Amazon may charge you to deliver the document).
  5. Check your email for a verification email - you need to confirm that you want something to be sent to your Kindle.
  6. The PDF should arrive on your Kindle for you to read - you may need to synchronise your Kindle.

Cambridge Core 'Send to Kindle'

  1. To use Cambridge Core's Send to Kindle option, click the button with a 'k' at the top of a book chapter or journal article.
  2. Fill in the details of your Kindle's email address (if you select @free.kindle.com it will only deliver over WiFi), tick the terms and conditions box, and click 'Send'.
  3. Check your email for a verification email - you need to confirm that you want something to be sent to your Kindle.
  4. The PDF should arrive on your Kindle for you to read - you may need to synchronise your Kindle.

Converting Files

If you are emailing a PDF yourself, you can ask Amazon to try and convert it to a .azw ebook format. To do this, send the email as above, attaching the PDF, but write 'convert' as the email's subject line.

This can have mixed results - Oxford University Press's ebook chapters can work very well, but others may not work at all. The advantage of converting is that you can resize and reflow the text more easily, as well as search, navigate and highlight text better. 

If you have the software Calibre on your computer, you can also use this to convert PDFs and unencrypted EPUBs to Amazon formats. However, Bodleian Libraries ebooks, which allow full downloading, cannot be converted in this way.

SensusAccess

This service is available to Oxford University members and Bodleian Reader Card holders.

To covert files into a Kindle-friendly format (.mobi):

  1.  Go to https://www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/services/disabled-readers/sensusaccess. The predefined source for the conversion is 'File'. Maintain the selection.

  2.  Click on 'Browse' to find the relevant file and upload it.

  3. Select 'E-book' as the output format, then 'MOBI (Kindle)' and the base font size you would like.

  4. Enter your ox.ac.uk email address and press 'Submit'. The converted file will be emailed to you. Larger files (e.g. over 300 pages) will take around 30 minutes to convert.

  5. Bodleian Reader Card holders (non-university members) have a specific link on the SensusAccess that they can use instead of the main form. The service and process is exactly the same and any email address can be used.

SensusAccess

This service is available to Oxford University members and Bodleian Reader Card holders. SensusAccess allows users to:

  • convert files into a wide range of alternative formats: including audio books (MP3 and DAISY), e-books (EPUB, EPUB3 and Mobi) and digital Braille.
  • create accessible documents from inaccessible files. For example, an image-based pdf or .jpg can be converted into an accessible Word document.

For help converting files to a Kindle-friendly format (.mobi), see the 'Kindles' tab of this box.

The Social Science Library has four Nook ereaders that can be borrowed for 7 days at a time.

Full members of the Bodleian Health Care Libraries can borrow laptops from the Knowledge Centre and the Cairns Library for a week at a time. These can be issued during normal staffed hours. Please contact the library to enquire about this service. 

Known issues

Some browser PDF readers display pages as blank.

Try clearing your cache and cookies or using a different browser. If the problem persists, download the PDF to your computer or mobile device and read offline using a PDF reader (e.g. Adobe Reader DC).

Ebooks failing to download on to handheld devices.

Try deauthorising and reauthorising Adobe Digital Editions on your device.

Readers are encouraged to report any ebook issues to the eresources team at eresources@bodleian.ox.ac.uk