How to access ebooks

Find ebooks by searching the Library catalogue or databases listed in the Browse section of our Library website. 

Read ebooks online and offline

Most ebooks can be read online without the need for additional software. To read ebooks offline, or to highlight and annotate content, specific software may be required.

Download ebooks on Mac or Windows:

  1. Download and install Adobe Digital Editions.
  2. Find an ebook in Library catalogue and sign in to access the ebook platform.
  3. Download or borrow the ebook:
    • For ProQuest Ebook Central: select “Download Book”, then click the download icon in the toolbar at the top of the page.
    • For EBSCOhost ebooks: sign in to your EBSCOhost account (or create an account if you don’t have one), select “PDF Full Text link”, then click the “Full Download” button.
  4. The ebook will begin downloading in Adobe Digital Editions. If the ebook doesn't automatically download, open the .acsm file in your download folder.

Download ebooks on mobile devices:

  1. Download the BlueFire Reader app from your app store. 
  2. Authorise BlueFire Reader with your Adobe ID. If you don’t have an Adobe ID, select “Create a free Adobe ID”.
  3. Find an ebook in Library Search and sign in to access the ebook platform.
  4. Download or borrow the ebook.
  5. Tap on “Open in BlueFire Reader”.
  6. The ebook will begin downloading. Once complete, the ebook will be ready to read.

Access limits

Some ebooks that we provide access to are protected by digital rights management (DRM), which imposes restrictions on access and usage. These restrictions vary depending on the ebook platform or publisher.

For example, you may encounter ebooks that allow 3 concurrent users at a time or a 7-day viewing period from the time of borrowing. Some ebooks may only allow you to download a single chapter or a limited number of pages during a single session. 

Our Library aims to purchase DRM-free ebooks wherever possible to provide you with more flexible access. However, not all publishers provide DRM-free options.

What to do when an ebook is “in use”

If all copies of an ebook are currently being read by other users, you may see a message indicating that the ebook is “in use”. For ProQuest ebooks, the “Read Online” button may be greyed out when the user limit is reached. 

If an ebook is in use:

  • try accessing it later to see if it has become available 
  • refresh your browser to update the status of the ebook and show its availability
  • find the concurrent user limit for an ebook by going to that ebook’s Library catalogue record and looking at the information under the "View online" section.

Terms and conditions of use 

Currently enrolled students and staff of the University of Sydney are provided with access to Library subscribed ebooks. 

Alumni Library members have access to select resources, subject to the specific terms and conditions of their membership

By accessing University of Sydney Library eresources, you acknowledge that you have read, understood, and agreed to the terms and conditions of use of University of Sydney Library eresources page.