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A Guide to eBooks

A guide to finding and using eBooks for scholarly research, teaching, and reading.

Apps for Reading

What apps are the best for reading PDFs on my iPhone/iPad/Touch?

There are many options out there, but here are a few to try:

How do I add books to the iPad, iPhone & Touch?

See step-by-step instructions on how to add books to the iPad, iPhone and iTouch.  In most cases, you will need to use an app called BlueFire.

How do I save a PDF file email attachment on my iPhone/iPad to read later?

There are many apps you can download to help you save and organize PDFs, some options include GoodReader and iBooks. GoodReader offers more options for annotating, and iBooks is more simple. To use iBooks to save PDF email attachments, see this article on " Saving PDF File Attachments for Further Reading."  After you download the apps, when you click on an PDF email attachment, you'll be given an option about which app you want to open it with.

Downloading to Mobile Devices

Many of our ebooks are formatted as PDFs, and thus require no additional software to view.   However, some of our ebook platforms use digital rights management (DRM) to limit what a user can do with the content.  This prevents wide-scale distribution of electronic content or printing of large amounts of text in order to protect the publisher/author's income stream.  Still, most platforms allow some limited use of their content on mobile devices.


eBook Collection (EBSCO) uses Adobe Digital Editions as their digital rights management software.  In order to use it on a mobile device, it must first be downloaded  from the Adobe site.  It will work with these mobile devices.  EBSCOHost provides a list of compatible devices. Among them are the more common Barnes and Noble Nook and Sony Reader - but NOT Kindle devices.    In these cases, Keep in mind that you should be accessing eBook content from the device you intend to read from before downloading!  Using a PC in the Libraries or elsewhere on campus to download content is of limited usefulness, as you will need to access it only from that PC (and only for the period to which you were given access rights - normally 24 hours).   You cannot move this eBook from a library PC to your hand-held device.

Apple devices such as iPad and iPhone require a third party software that will enable Adobe Digital Editions to work with them, such as Bluefire Reader.

Android devices require the Aldiko Reader to enable Adobe to work with them.

PDF and Native Device Formats

Here's how to convert PDF files into the native Kindle format .azw.  Note that Kindle does support PDFs, but reading on the device is optimized for the .azw format.

For the Nook, you can use Calibre to convert from PDF to ePub.

It is often easier to transfer PDF files from PC to your ereader by simply plugging in your reader to the computer and dragging and dropping into the device.  This way the PDF automatically becomes part of your library, rather than just a "download."

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.