Skip to Main Content

Requesting online materials to support coursework: Requesting ebooks

A guide to requesting online materials for library purchase, such as streaming video, ebooks, and database or online journal subscriptions

eBook Request FAQs

Ebook access restrictions

Q:  How do I put an ebook on reserve for my class to ensure only my students can use it?

  • A: There is no way to put an e-book on "reserve" as you would a print book
    • If the only options for the book you're considering have user limits, there are a limited number of virtual copies of the book that can be checked out.  Even if it was purchased specifically for your course, there is no way to put restrictions on who can check it out.  Students or faculty not associated with your course may find the book and check it out, leaving fewer (or no) copies of the book for your students to use. 

Q: How can I make sure all of my students will be able to access an ebook that has content they need, especially when it has user restrictions?

  • A: If all students in the class need to access the book for a reading, be sure to plan ahead.
    • Some ebooks have restrictions on how many copies can be used at once.  For example, A 3-user e-book can only be used by 3 students at once. It's much like having 3 copies of a physical book on reserve. When a student accesses the book, it is "checked out" to them for 24 hours. No other students can use that copy of the book during that time. 
    • For those ebooks with user restrictions, faculty can download a limited number of chapters and upload them to Canvas for students to access.

Where you can find user limits in the library catalog:

Q: If my student gets a "turnaway" for an ebook that has a limited number of copies, will they be placed on a waitlist so that they get the book in the order they tried to access it?

  • A: Unfortunately, this is not a feature of our ebook platforms at this time.  The first user who tries to access an ebook once it becomes available again is the one who gets it first. 

Ebook format restrictions

Q: Are there any other ebook restrictions I should be aware of before choosing an ebook to assign to my class?

  • A: We can't always purchase an e-book, even if you have found it available to purchase somewhere online
    • We have no way to purchase kindle e-books on Amazon
      • If you find a book available on Amazon as a kindle e-book, there is no way for our platforms to support that format.  It may be available in a format that we can support from another vendor, so feel free to send a request for the title, but please be aware that we may not be able to get it for you as an e-book.
    • Some e-books are only available in packages
      • Some e-books can't be purchased individually because of the way they are offered for sale.  Packages of e-books are expensive, so if the only option for purchasing a single copy is as part of a package, we will most likely not be able to obtain that title. 
    • Publishers may not allow the library to purchase an ebook they have identified as a textbook.