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E-book FAQ

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How can I find e-books in Omni?

  1. Sign in to Omni.
  2. Type in your search terms.
  3. Find Resource Type on the left side of the page and narrow down your results to Books & e-Books.
  4. Under Availability on the left side of the page click Available Online.
  5. A list of e-books on your topic will be displayed.

Can I print or download an e-book?

  • The book publisher determines whether and how much of the book you can print or download. You can usually print at least a few pages or a chapter of an e-book. 
  • Some e-books are available in PDF and can be downloaded and opened using the free Adobe Acrobat Reader.
  • Other e-books require the free Adobe Digital Editions and an Adobe ID  (e.g., e-books available on the ProQuest E-book Central platform).

Learn how to download books from these major e-book publishers:

Why do I have to create an account or download special software in order to read an e-book?

  • Publishers sometimes require this to control access to e-books. These restrictions help publishers protect their intellectual property and profits. The library tries to purchase e-books with very few or no digital rights management (DRM) restrictions whenever possible.

Why am I getting a message telling me that there are no copies of an e-book available?

  • Publishers often use digital rights management (DRM) technology to limit how many people can simultaneously read a book. These restrictions help publishers protect their intellectual property and profits. The library tries to purchase e-books with very few or no DRM restrictions whenever possible.
  • If you can’t access an e-book, try again during off-peak times - early morning or on weekends.  Due to increased demand for e-books, we have limited download periods on some e-books to 24 hours to ensure that the maximum number of students have access.
  • Contact us if DRM restrictions are causing access challenges. We'll consider purchasing additional copies of an e-book on a case-by-case basis.

I’m located outside of Canada and can’t access an e-book from the library's collection. What do I do?

  • Contact us if you can't access an e-book due to your location. 

Can I link directly to an e-book?

  • Yes. The easiest way to do this is by linking to the e-book's record in Omni. Once you click on the title of the e-book in Omni, under the “Send to” menu, select “permalink” and you can copy the link.

Does the library have my course textbook as an e-book?

  • The library purchases e-books for use as textbooks whenever they are available. Unfortunately, many publishers are not willing to license textbooks for university campus use.  When e-book versions are available, they are provided electronically through the Ares Course Reserve system.

Why doesn’t the library provide access to electronic versions of all course textbooks?

  • Approximately 85 per cent of existing course textbooks are only available for libraries to purchase in print format.  
  • Textbook publishers have built their profit model around selling print and electronic textbooks (e-textbooks) directly to students. Publishers assume that if they allow e-textbooks to become available through university libraries, students will stop buying their own individual copies and their sales revenue will go down.  
  • In rare cases where a publisher does license an e-textbook to the library, it typically limits usage of that title to one person at a time.

If the library can’t get an e-version of a textbook what are some alternatives?

  • The library can scan portions of a book and post them in Ares. The Fair Dealing Policy allows us to copy a single chapter or up to 10 per cent of the book, whichever is greater. We will try to obtain permission from the publisher for amounts that exceed those limits, but it’s unlikely that it will be granted for large portions of a book.  
  • We can create an online course pack by linking via Ares to alternate content from the library’s collection of e-books, journal articles, streaming media, and digital resources.
  • We can try to acquire an alternate e-book which is suitable for classroom use,
  • We can help search for open educational resources (OER), which are freely available educational materials (including textbooks) that are openly licensed to allow for re-use and modification.

As an instructor, what can I do to help advocate for better access to e-textbooks?

  • Refuse to use e-textbooks that don’t allow for library licensing.
  • Work with library staff to identify DRM-free works for use in your courses.
  • Adopt, adapt, or create an open educational resource (OER) for your course instead of a commercial textbook.
  • Select a publisher that minimizes access restrictions to its e-books when you are writing a textbook.
  • Work with Library staff to explore options for making the textbook you wrote more open and accessible.


Contact us.

The library is committed to ensuring that members of our user community with disabilities have equal access to our services and resources and that their dignity and independence is always respected. If you encounter a barrier and/or need an alternate format, please fill out our Library Print and Multimedia Alternate-Format Request Form. Contact us if you’d like to provide feedback: