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e-Books guide

Everything you need to know about finding and using e-books in our Library and beyond.

What is an e-textbook?

e-textbooks are required ebooks that are prescribed as textbooks for courses. The e-textbook status is usually set by publishers on the basis that these titles are used as textbooks at some institutions around the world. These e-textbooks may include interactive online learning activities and assessments such as quizzes. Often these interactive e-textbooks are designed to be sold to individual students only and are not for library purchase.  

Can I use a library e-book as a text for my course?


 

Possibly - there is no single answer to this question. There are some ebooks that provide better concurrent access than others i.e. unlimited concurrent access is better than 1 or 3 concurrent access. These limitations are set by the publishers. However, the Library purchases multiple licenses of 1 or 3 concurrent access to meet needs as required. These titles allow some printing, copying, and PDF chapter downloads. 

The Library recommends you consider the concurrent access restrictions set by the publisher on a title before assigning that as your prescribed text. You can contact us on textbook.assist@rmit.edu.au for more information.  

Important publisher notes 

Cengage titles:

  • Read-only option; users can't copy, print, or download chapters.
  • Once the title is in use, it is no longer available to other students.
  • Concurrent access limited to usually 1 or 3 users.

LexisNexis titles:

  • Read-only option; users can't copy, print, or download chapters.
  • Once the title is in use, it is no longer available to other students.
  • Concurrent access limited to usually 1 or 3 users.

Wiley  titles are only available via the VitalSource platform which means:

  • Read-only option; users can't copy, print, or download chapters.
  • Once the title is in use, it is no longer available to other students.
  • Only 1 concurrent user at a time

Oxford University Press (OUP) titles: 

  • Users can only copy, print, or download 2 or 3 pages per day
  • Limited concurrent user access, usually 1 or 3 users  

VitalSource platform (publishers using this platform include Sage, McGraw-Hill and Human Kinetics)

Some titles are only available via the Vital Source platform with the following restrictions.  

  • Very restrictive print or copy options - 2 to 10 pages per loan 
  • 3 hours to 72 hours loan period, meaning when a copy is on loan to a student it will not be available for other students 
  • Limited user access, usually 1 or 3 users

Are there any ebooks without restrictions that I can use for my course?

e-Book titles that are Digital Rights Management (DRM)-free or Open Educational Resources are best suited for use as a textbook. Open Educational Resources (OERs) are teaching materials which are publicly available online, including textbooks, lecture notes, assignments, tests, audio, video and animation.  Openstax and Open Textbook Library are examples of OER collections.  

How to request an eTextbook?