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E-Books: Reading/Downloading @ the WSU Libraries

Lorena's COVID-19 Notes


If you need assistance, please use the "Schedule Appointment" link under my photo on the left side of this guide. You can also email me directly at - Lorena



  • Free and expanded electronic access for temporary online teaching and learning. During the current period causing library closures, many publishers and library vendors are allowing special access to research databases and materials. Note that some of these will be invisible because they will be added to something we already have, like SAGE Research Methods or JSTOR.
  • Relevant highlights (although be sure to check the list for yourself!!): Publication Manual of the APA (6th and the new 7th editions). More access to a lot of our DRMed e-books; University of Michigan e-books (read online; no downloading, etc.); Bloomsbury databases include e-books; MIT e-books (soon).


Why e-books?

  • Search full text
  • Access and read 24/7
  • Download and read on tablet or laptop (not all e-books)
  • Save chapters/page ranges as PDF (most e-books)
  • Highlight and annotate
  • Save e-books to an online bookshelf for access and review later
  • And more!

Note: As of 8/15/2017, the Orbis-Cascade Alliance (Summit) will no longer be providing shared e-books through ProQuest Ebook Central (formerly EBL and ebrary). This has been replaced with access to e-books provided directly from Wiley, Taylor & Francis (Routledge and CRC), Oxford University Press, and the California University Press. No digital rights management, so chapters can be downloaded like articles. Includes some purchased content and some contract-period-only-access e-books.

The Academic E-Book Environment: Updates

Accessibility Issues:​ If you need accommodation for visual impairment, there are some e-book options (note- this is not a comprehensive or very useful list - I'll try to work on this!):

E-Books @ the WSU Libraries

It's complicated, because WSU has access to academic e-books from multiple providers, and available functionalities (more than one person use at same time, download PDF chapters, download full book to a desktop/laptop or digital device, etc.) depending on the e-book provider, the book publisher, and how each title was purchased/licensed by the WSU Libraries:

  • ProQuest Ebook Central and DDA Titles - Aggregator (multiple publishers). E-books are WSU-purchased, or purchased by the Orbis-Cascade Alliance for use by all Alliance (Summit) users. Uses Digital Rights Management to limit check-out periods; may have limited users, copy and pasting, and/or downloading depending on the title.
  • ProQuest Ebook Library Academic Complete - a subscription database of about 100,000 e-books from multiple publishers which WSU Libraries subscribes to (via the Alliance). Uses Digital Rights Management to limit check-out periods; may have limited users, copy and pasting, and/or downloading depending on the title. Title availability will change over time! It uses the same database as above, but the Search It catalog record will say "Ebook Central Academic Complete."
  • EBSCO e-books ​- Aggregator (multiple publishers). Uses Digital Rights Management to limit check-out periods; may have limited users, copy and pasting, and/or downloading depending on the title.
  • Scholarly publishers such as Springer, Elsevier/ScienceDirect, JSTOR, and more, accessed on their own platform. (Note: These usually come without digital rights management (DRM) and can be downloaded by the chapter in yours-to-keep PDFs just like scholarly articles. Most of this guide does not apply to them.)

example: The Handbook of Homicide (Wiley Online Library Online Books)

  • Freely available PDF or EPUB e-books that are freely available online from government agencies, free e-book providers such as Project Gutenberg, and other sources.
  • Orbis-Cascade Alliance e-book program (2017-) e-books from Wiley, Taylor & Francis (Routledge and CRC), Oxford University Press, California University Press. No digital rights management, so chapters can be downloaded like articles. Includes some purchased content and some contract-period-only e-books. These books will have their publisher platform noted, i.e. Taylor and Francis, then (Orbis-Cascade Alliance).


This page last updated: 7/30/2018

The 24-7 Virtual Bookshelf @ Your WSU Libraries

  • For assistance in reading a ProQuest Ebook Central book., or EBSCO Ebook Collection e-book online via the Web see the various tabs on this guide.
  • For assistance in downloading and reading e-books on a desktop or laptop using the Adobe Digital Editions (ADE) or Bluefire reading applications, see the specific vendor tabs or Downloading E-Books Using Adobe Digital Editions or Bluefire tab in this guide.
  • For assistance in downloading an e-book with digital rights management limitations (i.e. most academic e-books) to a digital device that can access the Web  (i.e. a Android or Apple iOS tablet or smartphone): Most academic e-book vendors now recommend the BlueFire app for iOS and Android devices (it also has a Windows desktop version now that is a substitute for ADE): see the Downloading E-Books to Mobile Devices tab or the tabs for specific e-book vendors.  
  • For an explanation of what this Adobe Digital Editions thing is all about anyway (including stuff about digital rights management (DRM) and e-book file formats), look at the "E-Books Formats and E-Book DRM" tab in this guide..

Finding E-Books in Search It

NOTE: if you are looking for an e-book specifically, you may want to search for your e-book with just the first part of the title and the author (i.e. "teaching to transgress" hooks for the book "Teaching to transgress: Education as the practice of freedom" by bell hooks) or you MAY NOT find it. This has to do with occasionally bad bibliographic data provided by our vendors.

To narrow a search to show just e-books in Search It, use the WSU Pullman (or your other campus library) scope (click the small "v" icon next to the Search button to find it), do your search (i.e. "atlantic salmon") then look at the top of the left-hand filter options under Type and select e-books (you may have to "Show More"). You can also pre-filter by e-book as a Material Type in Advanced Search. To access and read the e-book, click on the title; you'll see a direct link to the item. You may need to select the WSU campus and/or login again with your WSU Network ID if you have not already done so.

Some e-books may be PDF, EPUB, or HTML books that are freely downloadable online books from government agencies or other sources; others (especially those from vendors such as ProQuest Ebook Library or EBSCO Ebook Collection) are proprietary and require the use of Adobe Digital Editions (ADE) or Bluefire software to download and read the e-book offline because the books are wrapped in digital rights management coding to regulate loan periods and prevent piracy (you may need to authorize your e-book reading software with an Adobe account). Not all WSU e-books can be downloaded; it depends on the platform, the license the book was bought under, and on individual publisher permissions. You will usually (but not always) be able to print or save as PDF individual chapters or page sequences, however.

Note: In many cases, you will have more functionality reading your book on-screen than you will if you download it and read it offline on your desktop/laptop or (if it's even an available option) on a digital device such as an e-reader, smartphone, or even a tablet. That is especially true for e-books that are in PDF format instead of EPUB format.

Finding e-books within a specific e-book provider database if for some reason you wanted to

(all of these are also findable using Search It as noted above - if you are searching for a particular title in e-book form, search with the initial part of the title in quotation marks, plus the author. For example, to locate all versions of the book "Initiative and Referendum Voting: Governing Through Direct Democracy in the United States," in all potential Search It scopes, search for it like this: "initiative and referendum voting"  braunstein).

Most of the e-books in these collections are scholarly e-books in PDF or EPUB format that use Adobe Digital Editons (ADE) digital rights management . They can be read on-screen and, in some cases, can be downloaded and read using your desktop/laptop or a tablet or smartphone. Note: most of WSU Libraries e-books are in PDF format; a few are in EPUB. EPUB e-books will work generally well on a computer, however the PDFs do not work well on anything but a computer or laptop, or a tablet such as an iPad (on an smartphone they tend to swim around like reading microfiche...). However, vendors may allow you to download a chapter or page sequence in "regular" PDF format that you will be able to retain in perpetuity.

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