Guide to e-books

The Library subscribes to over 800,000 e-books.

How do I find an e-book

Go to the Library homepage and type in the title of the book into the search box or search by keyword. 

When you get a set of results, use the filter on the left-hand side to select 'Full Text Online under Refine Your Search and 'Book / eBook' under Content Type.


How do I access an e-book?

You can access e-books both on and off campus using your GUID and password.

Accessing the e-book through the link on the Library website ensures that you will be authenticated properly.

Once you’ve found your e-book click on the ‘Full Text Online’ link from the results page.

Enter your GUID and password when prompted.

You will then be taken to the website of the e-book provider where you will be able to access the e-book.

How do I use an e-book?

Each e-book provider has its own website so they all look and work differently. Most e-book providers have a read online option or a download option (see the section below, 'Can I download an e-book?').  Many e-books allow you to highlight text and make notes which can be saved and viewed the next time you access the title.

If you are struggling to use the e-book it is worth checking the ‘Help’ section of an e-book provider’s website as this often contains technical specifications and known errors. You can also get help from the Library by contacting

Can I print or copy from an e-book?

Many e-book providers allow you to print or copy from an e-book.

Different e-book providers have different policies – some allow printing and copying while others do not.

For reasons of copyright, some providers use Digital Rights Management (DRM) to control what you can do with an e-book in terms of printing, downloading and copying and pasting. E-books that have DRM allow you to print or copy up to a certain limit. The amount that you are allowed to print and copy varies depending on the provider and should be displayed on the screen.

DRM is established by the various e-book providers and restrictions on printing/downloading are not imposed by the Library. 

Can I download an e-book?

Many e-book providers allow you to download an e-book to read offline.

The length of time you can keep the downloaded e-book varies depending on the e-book provider. Some providers impose a limit of 24 hours of access to the downloaded title. Others can be downloaded and kept.

Having problems downloading the e-book?

Many e-book providers require that you use specific software to download an e-book and details are usually provided on the website.  The most common software required is:

Note: Ensure that you have the latest version of the required software

It is also worth checking the ‘Help’ section of an e-book provider’s website as this often contains technical specifications and known errors when downloading e-books from different devices. You can also get help from the Library by contacting Also try using a different browser in case of compatibility issues.

Can I read e-books on my mobile device or e-reader?

Not all e-books can be downloaded onto an e-reader (e.g. Kindle). Due to DRM many of our e-books would not be compatible with e-readers as they require specific software for downloading and reading online.

Most of our e-books are compatible with mobile devices, such as smartphones or tablets. You usually need to download an app to do this, and this can vary from provider to provider. However the most popular apps are:

Other providers may have their own apps that are required to download an e-book, however instructions are usually provided on their website when you go to download the e-book.

There are some providers that do not require any app at all and you can download the e-book straight into your device.

Unfortunately we cannot guarantee that all the Library's e-books are compatible with mobile devices.

I have been placed in a queue or I have received a message that the e-book has reached its concurrent user limit

Some e-book providers impose a limit on the number of users who can access an e-book at the same time. This can range from 1 user upwards. If you see this message then the maximum number of readers has been reached and you will usually be placed in a queue. Once someone has stopped using the e-book you should be notified by email and you will be able to access the title. 

I am being asked to log in or pay for content – should I have access to this e-book?

The e-book provider needs to recognise that you are from the University of Glasgow. If you are off campus you will need to authenticate:

  • Search for the e-book on the Library website and follow the link. You will be prompted to enter your GUID and password.
  • Alternatively look out for an ‘Institutional Login, ‘Shibboleth’ or ‘Access Management Federation’ log-in option on an e-book provider’s website – this option should allow you to choose the University of Glasgow and enter your GUID and password for access.

In some cases it may be that we do not own or subscribe to an e-book or there may be an issue with the e-book website. If you are still unable to access an e-book after authenticating, please contact

Are there any open access e-books?

The library has access to collections of open access e-books, including Knowledge Unlatched and Open Book Publishers. These e-books are fully downloadable and can be kept. As they are open access there are also no restrictions imposed on printing or copying. It is also possible to access public domain e-books where copyright has expired through websites such as Project Gutenberg. Note that some sites may only offer access to older editions of textbooks, so check this if you need access to the most recent edition. 

Where can I get help?

If you need more help or advice about using e-books, contact