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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 updates for consideration -  

Cengage has made some changes to its Digital Rights Management (restrictions on ebook) policies. Any new textbook titles purchased on ProQuest from September 2020 will have the following restrictions.  

  • Users can no longer copy, print, or download chapters  
  • Read only option available, meaning when a copy is being read by a student it will not be available for other students 
  • Limited concurrent user access, usually 1 or 3 users  

Wiley has decided not to host its textbook titles via ProQuest from November 2020. Wiley textbook titles will only be available via the Vital Source platform with the following restrictions. 

  • Read only option; Users can no longer copy, print, or download chapters  
  • 24 hours loan period, meaning when a copy is on loan to a student it will not be available for other students 
  • Limited concurrent user access, usually 1 user 

Oxford University Press (OUP) has made some changes to its Digital Rights Management (restrictions on ebook) policies. Any new textbook titles purchased on ProQuest from March 2021 will have the following restrictions.  

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

Other ebook platform-based considerations -  

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?