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Research Guides

e-books at Wellesley: Downloading e-books

Downloading e-books from Other Vendors

With other providers, there are typically three ways to access an e-books. You can either download an entire ebook, or download specific chapters, or read the book online.


With sites like Springer, you can choose to download the entire book as either a PDF or and EPub(see our handy box down below for the difference).


Other providers and publishers may have different restrictions, including number of downloads, so it’s a good idea to read the website and see if it lets you know any restrictions or gives you a guide on how to use their e-books.

E-book Formats


File format created by Adobe, .pdf is the defacto standard for document interchange. It can be protected by DRM (such as Adobe DRM) or DRM-free. Supported by almost every computer platform, handheld device, and e-reader.


An open format defined by the Open eBook Forum of the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF). It can be protected by DRM (such as Adobe DRM) or DRM-free. It is supported by most devices, the most notable exception being Amazon's Kindle and Kindle Fire.


File format used to provide DRM on Adobe eBooks PDF and ePUB. Open this file in Adobe Digital Editions to access the full e-book.

Adapted from the MobileRead Wiki. Content is available under Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike license.

Downloading Ebook Central books

You have two options for downloading ebooks from Ebook Central. You may:

Print or Download chapters or range of pages (the amount of pages varies from book to book) as a PDF that does not expire.  

The typical print/download allowance for most titles is 40% of the book. Printing a chapter or range of pages, both deduct from this allowance.

1. Detail Page Chapter Download

Clicking the PDF Chapter Downloads link will direct you to the first entry in the table of contents. From here you may navigate to chapter Download PDF links or subsection Download PDF links throughout the table of contents.

2. Reader Toolbar Chapter Download Icon

From the Reader toolbar, select the Chapter Download or Print to PDF icons and select Page Range options and your citation style. Download and save or print the PDF file.

Download entire book for a period of 1-30 days (requires Adobe Digital Editions - see the Adobe Digital Editions tab for more information)

1. Click on the download button:

a. If you are on the book's details page, the download button is located under the book's cover image:

Download button is on the left-hand side, under the 'read online' button

b.  From the online reader, the download button is the first icon in the upper right: 

Download button is the first icon along the top of the online reading pane

2. If you are not already signed in to your Ebook Central account, you will be asked to sign in‚Äč.  Sign in with your last name and library number.

3. After signing in, you will be asked what kind of device you are using. Ebook Central should detect if you are coming from a laptop/desktop or mobile device and pre-select the appropriate option. 

Download process, step 1: choose your device

 4. You will be prompted to download Adobe Digital Editions (ADE) first, if you haven’t already.

If you selected "I'm using my own computer" in step 1, you'll see a link to get an Adobe ID and a "Get Adobe Digital Editions" button, which will bring you to the Adobe downloads page for ADE. If you already have ADE, select "Done with this step"

Download Process - step 2: download Adobe Digital Editions

If you selected "I'm using a public computer" in step 1, you'll see a tip recommending you download to your own computer instead. If you choose to download on a public computer and open in Adobe Digital Editions, you may not retain access to the book for the entire loan period or be able to transfer the file to your own device, since downloaded files are associated with the user authorized on that particular instance of ADE. If you'd like to proceed anyway, select 'I Have Adobe Digital Editions':

Download - step 2: Get Adobe Digital Editions, on a public computer

5. Select your download length and file type, if there is more than one option provided, and then click the Download button:

Download - step 3: Download your book

You will receive an .acsm file. This file can only be opened by Adobe Digital Editions or ADE-compatible programs like Bluefire Reader. Once you open the .acsm file in ADE or Bluefire, the actual book file will be downloaded and open directly in that program (in EPUB or PDF format depending on which file format you selected in step 5. If you are using a public computer we recommend you send the .acsm file to yourself to open in ADE on your own computer later. Please note that you will need to authorize Adobe Digital Editions with an Adobe ID if you'd like to access the ebook on multiple devices. All devices must be authorized to the same Adobe ID in order to share downloaded files. 

Once you have downloaded the book, the next time you visit the book's details page you will see the information about the time remaining on your download:
Details page when you have an active download


You can also see information about your active downloads on the Bookshelf page:

Bookshelf - Downloads and Loans