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eBooks: Home

Introduction to eBooks

The availability of eBooks differs from title to title and HWU eBooks are available on a number of different platforms, or websites, and may behave differently when being used. 

The library currently buys eBooks for two main aggregator platforms – Ebook Central and VLeBooks. Their eBooks come in different user models which can restrict the number of people who access them at any one time. Their eBooks also usually come with restrictions (Digital Rights Management, or DRM) which limits how much can be copied or downloaded from each eBook. The publishers set all of these restrictions on a title-by-title level. As lots of people will want to use the same eBook most of the ones on Ebook Central and VLeBooks can only be read online and can't be downloaded.

We also buy eBooks for the publishers’ platforms where available and these usually have no restrictions on how many people can use them at once, and are DRM free. This is our preference where available. With most of these either chapters or the full eBook can be downloaded  as a PDF and read offline and referred back to. Copyright law still applies to them and they shouldn't be shared.

Finding a specific eBook

If you want an electronic copy of a specific book you should search Discovery for the title of your book.  All eBooks purchased by Heriot-Watt are linked from the library catalogue. 

 A step-by-step guide to finding eBooks is available on the Information Services website.

Can't find your book?

Many books are not available online, either because they have not been published electronically, or because they have not been purchased by Heriot-Watt.  Information about suggesting books for purchase can be found on the Information Services website.  Please contact the library if you would like more help finding eBooks.

Introduction to eTextbooks

eTextbooks are different from our eBooks as the electronic copy ‘belongs’ to that student for the academic year and they can make highlights and annotations on it as it is their own personal copy.

We have a small number of eTextbooks where the titles were essential reading in the second semester last year and we will be increasing the number in academic year 2021/2022.

Our eTextbooks are provided by the company Kortext and they can either be read online or using the Kortext app after setting up a Kortext account which is very quick and easy to do. More information about using Kortext eTextbooks will be available soon. 

Finding eBooks about a topic

Use Discovery to find electronic books about a topic.  Search for word(s) that might appear in a description of a book about your topic using the Discovery search box (below).  On the results page, choose "Show Only: Full Text Online" and "Resource Type: Books" to just display eBooks.

Searching inside eBooks

Discovery and the library catalogue search information about books.  You will need to use the publishers' websites to search inside electronic books.  Each publishers' website will search the contents of books produced by a specific company - you should search more than one publishers' site to increase the coverage of your search.

Some of the key suppliers of eBooks are:

Askews & Ebook Central eBooks

You can read the university eBooks online, and many of these books can be downloaded for offline reading.

You cannot download eBooks from Askews or Ebook Central on university computer lab PCs, but you can download these to your own laptop, tablet or PC.  If you download an eBook from Askews or Ebook Central you will need to have Adobe Digital Editions installed. Adobe Digital Editions can be downloaded from the Adobe site. An Adobe ID is required. See: https://www.adobe.com/account/sign-in.adobedotcom.html .