Using ebooks

The libraries at Falmouth and Exeter subscribe to thousands of ebooks. Using a university ebook is different to using an ebook that you might have bought for your own personal use and the following video will give you a good overview.

Remote video URL

University of Exeter students might prefer to use their Ebook LibGuide


How to find ebooks and read online

You can search for ebooks

  • Falmouth: via the Falmouth University Library Search.
  • Narrow your search to ebooks by using the filters.
  • Exeter: via the University of Exeter Library catalogue.
  • Narrow your search to ebooks by using the filters.

All ebooks can be read online from most browsers. You will be able to access them off campus too, as long as you have an internet connection.


Reading Technologies

If you sometimes find it hard to take in the meaning of what you read (either in print or online) or if reading on screen is particulaly challenging then visit our Reading Technologies pages to find out more about useful free apps, plug-ins and other tools to help access texts or enhance your reading skills.


How to download, print and copy from an ebook

Downloading a book or chapter from it will allow you to read it offline. This can be really useful if you are travelling and will be without internet access.

When you download an ebook, it is similar to borrowing a physical book and in most cases the book will be on loan to you for a period of time, set by the publishers. When the due date arrives, your access expires. You can always download them again.

To be able to download an ebook, you will need some software installed (most of our ebook platforms will provide a link to this software):

  • Download to a IOS or android phone or device: Bluefire Reader
  • Download to a laptop/desktop: Adobe Acrobat Reader or Adobe Digital Editions software

Like physical books, ebooks are protected by Copyright Law. Most ebook suppliers have applied Digital Rights Management software to their ebooks and this will automatically limit how much you are able to print or copy.

Ebook Help

The following links will take you to Help pages for the different suppliers that we use:
Ebook Central (Proquest)
VLe Books (Holt Askews)

Exeter University have a comprehensive Ebook Guide which provides instructions about how to use ebooks provided by different suppliers.

Alternatively, please email or use the ‘Ask a librarian’ service if you are having problems.



Can I ask the Library to buy ebooks from Amazon or Google eBookstore?

These sites sell ebooks to individuals and not to libraries. We will try and find another supplier of the book, but this isn’t always possible. Please email with your request.

I’d prefer to read the ebook on my own mobile device (iPad, android phone, iPhone). Is it possible?

Good instructions can be found via the Oxford University Library website

I’d prefer to read the ebook on my own ereader (Kindle, Kobo, Nook). Is it possible?

Generally this isn't possible because traditional ebook readers use their own proprietary software. However, if you have a Kindle Fire, it is possible if you download Bluefire Reader.

Why can’t Exeter and Falmouth students access the same ebooks?

Access to ebooks is governed by licencing agreements from the publishers to ensure they are only access by those who have paid to see them. Falmouth University and University of Exeter have separate licences based on their teaching needs and student numbers, and at present it is not cost effective for Exeter and Falmouth to subscribe to them jointly.

If you find an ebook that you’d like to use but are unable to due to restriction, please email and library staff maybe able to provide a solution.

Why am in seeing ‘This ebook is currently in use’ or ‘Currently being viewed’ messages when I try to access an eBook?

Most eBooks allow multiple users to read them at any one time. However, some of our eBook suppliers limit the number of users. These include some books provided by Dawsonera. It is usually posible to reserve the book, and you will have 24 hours to 'pick it up' and use it. If you find you are repeatedly get the in use messages, please contact or use the ‘Ask a librarian’ service

Why do I have to 'Request Loan' for some ebooks?

Some ebooks require further authorisation before the library is charged for them and the text is made available to you. Click on the Request Loan button if prompted and your request will be sent to the relevant librarian.