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Research 101 (older version): E-books

Using E-books

This is what an e-book result looks like in OneSearch:

Screenshot of ebook - when result says Book and Available online, it is an e-book. Click on "available online" to ge to the record page.

On the record page, you will see at least one link to get to read the book:

Screenshot of result page, with "view online" and "Ebook Central: Hostos Collection" circled in red. The name shown is the database collection that includes the book. If there is more than one database listed, you can click on any of them to get to your e-book.


Once you get to the book, notice the information before you. Each e-book publisher is a bit different, but there may be:

  • a table of contents (click on any part of the table of contents to start reading)
  • a link that says “open book” or “read online”
  • information about how many pages you can copy, download, or print (you usually will not be able to print the whole book).

Screenshot of ebook page with table of contents


When you click on "read online" you will be able to read the book, and can also search for particular words inside the book.

screenshot of book in read online mode with search box highlighted as well as icons for downloading, printing, citing, and increasing/decreasing text size


Here's what it looks like after you do a search:

screenshot of search results - interface uses color to show how many results are found in a given chapter, with more blue meaning more results. Users must click on an arrow to see excerpts of specific pages with the desired word, and may click on the excerpt to go to the page.

Ebooks on mobile devices

Most of our eBook collections work on a variety of devices, including desktops, laptops, eBook readers, tablets and mobile phones. You can also read our eBooks on your computer screen in a web-based eBook reader (this requires an internet connection).

Most of our eBook collections “loan” eBooks for download. After a predetermined amount of time (some collections allow you to select the loan period, often up to three weeks) the loan will expire.

To read eBooks on your mobile device (for example iOS or an Android tablet) you must first set-up your device by installing an eReader app and configuring the app’s settings with your Adobe account information. Then you can search for an eBook and download the eBook directly to your device. Here’s how to download eBooks to a device:

Step 1: Sign up for an Adobe ID (Digital Rights Management)

Digital Rights Management (DRM) software manages the distribution of eBooks you download. When you download an eBook that is protected by DRM, you will be limited in how you use that eBook. For example, it may “expire” (be unreadable) after a set number of days. You may not be able to share it between numerous devices (even if you own multiple devices, there may be a limit to the number of devices where you can read the eBook).

Although different eBook collections may use different DRM software (Apple and Adobe are popular examples), most of the eBook collections at Hostos (and the New York area public libraries- has a large collection), rely on Adobe DRM to manage their collections’ lending. Sign up for an Adobe account.

Note: Some eBook collections allow you to freely download and keep excerpts of books (single chapters or a small page range). If this is the option you plan to use, you won’t need an Adobe ID. Also, there are a number of free eBooks that you can download without an Adobe account (these are generally available for free on the web– Project Gutenberg is a notable example).

Step 2: Download eBook Reading Software

You have to decide where you’re planning to read your eBook, and download the app that makes sense (or that you prefer) for your device or desktop. Here are some options to get you started:

  • Mobile devices: Bluefire Reader is a free app for iOS and Android phones and tablets. It was one of the first eBook reading apps to support borrowing Adobe DRM protected library books on iOS. However, it’s a good idea to quickly search your appstore for any new readers, as new apps are developed all the time.
  • Desktop and Laptop PCs: Calibre is an eBook reading application for desktops and laptop PCs (Windows, Mac and Linux). Adobe Digital Editions is another PC (Windows and Mac) eBook reading/ viewing application.

Once you’ve downloaded your app/software, you will need to enter your Adobe ID into it’s configurations. Most applications ask for this information while you are installing the app/software on your device or PC. Sometimes, you will need to find the settings screen in the application and enter the information yourself.

Step 3: Find and download an eBook (using our collections)

Visit our eBook Search page ( for a list of resources for finding eBooks. Note that you can use dedicated eBook readers that support Adobe DRM (older versions of Nook, for example), but will need to first download the eBooks on a PC with Adobe Digital Editions, and then you will need to sync the device to the PC (using a cable connection) to transfer the book.

 Video Tutorials

How to download eBooks from eBrary to an iPad using Bluefire Reader

Go back to finding and evaluating sources

 Finding research sources Evaluating research sources


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