The Library subscribes to almost 900,000 ebooks all discoverable in our online catalog. Look for the “Resource Type” filter on the left side of your search results to limit the items to “ebooks”.
Unlike print books, you can’t browse these resources on shelves–so accessing ebooks is a little different. Ebook subscriptions are purchased from a wide variety of providers and each platform has slightly different features and functionality. Most will allow you to view ebooks anywhere, on your computer, ereaders, and mobile devices.
Keep in mind that not all books are available as ebooks. Ebook subscriptions are separate from our print book purchases. If you need digital access to items in our print collection, please explore our document delivery and digitization services.
In general you need to be connected to campus wifi or logged in with your U of I account to access most ebooks. If you click on links from our catalog and databases this should happen automatically, taking you through U of I’s single sign on system.
Once authenticated, all ebook collections allow you to read in your web browser. However, each platform has different terms for downloading, printing, and using ebooks on other devices. Some subscriptions allow only a limited number of users to access the resource at the same time.
Many downloaded ebooks have Digital Rights Management software (DRM) that prevents users from sharing files with others and may impose a time limit for use. These ebooks may require using the free Adobe Digital Editions software to download the file.
Step by Step Instructions
- Start your search in the library’s catalog
- Limit to ebooks using “Resource Type” filter on the right side of search page
- Click on the title for more information about each ebook, or go straight to the full text with the “Full Text Available” or “Online Access” links.
Open Access eBooks
There are many sources of freely available ebooks on the web. These range from open access scholarly books to free copies of popular classics.
|Biodiversity Heritage Library||BHL is a consortium of natural history and botanical libraries that cooperate to digitize and make accessible the legacy literature of biodiversity held in their collections and to make that literature available for open access and responsible use as a part of a global “biodiversity commons.” BHL also serves as the foundational literature component of the Encyclopedia of Life (EOL).|
|Project Gutenberg||Project Gutenberg offers over 60,000 free ebooks: choose from among free epub books or Kindble books and download or read them online. All ebooks are free in the United States because their copyright has expired.|
|Internet Archive||The Internet Archive contains a wide range of digitized fiction, popular books, children’s books, historical texts, and academic books.|
|Hathi Trust||HathiTrust is a partnership of major research institutions and libraries working to ensure that the cultural record is preserved and accessible long into the future. More than 10 million total items have been added although not all are available for free. To find those that are, click “Full View Only” prior to searching.|
|International Childern’s Digital Library||The ICDL Foundation’s goal is to build a collection of books that represents outstanding historical and contemporary books from throughout the world.|