Downloading e-books

 

General tips

Downloading e-books is not always straightforward, as each collection has different requirements and download possibilities. Here are some general points to keep in mind.


 

Not all books can be downloaded

Whether it is possible to download depends on the e-book collection. Each one functions differently.

 

Sometimes you can download parts of the book, but not the entire book

How many pages you can download or print depends on the collection as well. Each collection has its own particular set of limits.

 

You may need to create a personal account to download

Some collections require that you create a personal account to download an e-book. This is a separate login on the collection’s website.

 

Some downloads are time-limited (i.e., borrowed)

Some e-book collections only allow time limited downloads, like Overdrive, where you can ‘borrow” a book for a certain amount of time before the file expires and then can no longer be accessed.

 

Most downloaded files are PDF’s

The majority of e-book files for download are in PDF’s, although occasionally you can choose epub or other e-book formats. If you need a specific file format for accessibility purposes, please see the section on Accessibility.

 

Keep in mind usage rights

Some of our e-books are subject to license agreements with e-book publishers. These licences restrict how an e-book can be used. For example, in many cases you are allowed to download or copy a single chapter or a single copy of an e-book.  Sometimes you are only allowed to download or copy a certain percentage of the book. You are not allowed to post a chapter or entire e-book to social media or the internet, however. If you need more information about usage rights, please contact collections.library [at] mcgill.ca

 

Download options by collection

This is a small selection of McGill’s e-books collections. To browse or search a list of all collections by name, please see the A to Z list.


 

Name of collection Can I download/read Offline? How much can I download? Do I need a personal account? Is the download "borrowed"?

ACLS Humanities E-Book

Yes

A ten-page excerpt

No

No

Books24X7

No (most titles)

Only the ExecSummaries and the ExecBlueprints

No, although you do have to log in with Shibboleth

No

BrillOnline

Yes

By chapter or full book, depending on title

No

No

Cambridge Core

Yes

Individual chapters

No

No

Clinical Key

Yes

Individual chapters

To download book sections as PDFs, you will need to create a login and password.

No

CRCnetBASE

Yes

Individual chapters

No

No

de Gruyter (Harvard University Press)

Yes

Individual chapters

No

No

desLibris

Yes, some titles can be read offline. They are either cached in the browser for offline reading for a certain time period, or downloaded without restriction. To check what a book allows, open it in the viewer and click on "More Details" at the top of the page.

Where available, whole book

No

Yes, some titles may be cached in your browser for offline reading for a specific time period.

Duke University Press (e-Duke)

Yes

Individual chapters

No

No

Ebook Central (formerly EBL and ebrary)

Yes, although there are restrictions. If you want to download the entire text, many titles can be 'borrowed" (time-limited download), although not all titles may be available. If you want to download a specific page or chapter, each book allows a certain number of pages to be saved to PDF, and these saved pages do not expire.

A specific number of pages or borrow the entire book

You do not need to login to save pages, but you do need to login to borrow the full-text book

Yes, for the full text, and you will need Adobe Digital Editions to borrow books.

EBSCO eBook Collection

Yes, some titles can be "borrowed"(time-limited download) but not all content is available this way. You can generally save pages from a title to PDF, but the number of pages is different for each book. To see how many pages may be saved for a particular title, look  for "Publisher Permissions" under the book's detailed record.

A specific number of pages or borrow the entire book

To read a book offline, you will need a personal account.

Yes, for the full text, and you will need Adobe Digital Editions to borrow books.

HathiTrust

Yes, some books out of copyright can be downloaded in PDF. Other materials are limited to searching the text only.

Where available, entire book

Yes, you must be logged in as a McGill user to download. The login should be prompted after you click a download link.

No

HeinOnline

Yes

Up to 200 pages of a title can be downloaded

No

No

IEEE Electronic Library Online(IEEEXplore)

Yes

Individual chapters

No

No

JSTOR ebooks

Yes

Individual chapters

No

No

Knovel

Yes. You can download a chapter/section by opening it in the online viewer and than clicking on the "options" button on the bottom of the right vertical menu. A "download section" command is there.

Individual chapters

No

No

Knowledged Unlatched

Yes

Entire book

No

No

MyiLibrary

Yes, you can download 10% of the book permanently , or you can borrow the entire book for a certain period of time. 

10% (permanently or Full book (time-limited)

To borrow a book for offline reading, you will need a personal account. 10% of a book can be downloaded without a login.

Yes, if you want to download the entire book for offline reading. You can select how long you want to borrow your book,  up to 30 days in most cases. You will also need Adobe Digital Editions.

OverDrive

Yes, you can download books to your computer, but you will need Adobe Digital Editions. Downloading books to other devices will require an app, like Bluefire or the Overdrive app. You can also read them in your browser without any extra software required.

Full book

Yes, sign in with your McGill username and password

Yes, up to 30 titles at once, the lending period varies from title to title. Some titles are not time-limited.

Oxford/UPSO

Yes, by selecting "View PDF" link, located to the left of the chapter abstract.

Individual chapter

No

No

Project MUSE

Yes

Individual chapter

No

No

Safari Tech Books Online

No

Nothing, online reading only

No

No

Science Direct

Yes

Individual chapters

No

No

STAT!Ref Electronic Medical Library

No

None, not available

No

No

Taylor & Francis E-Books

Yes, but a few books have digital rights management applied. They are marked with a "DRM" icon. They have different options than the other titles, such as:

  • Online copies are limited to 120 minutes of use per session online.
  • Offline copies are borrowed for around 36 hours, not permanently downloaded.
  • Offline use will require Adobe Digital Editions

Whole book

No

Maybe, as about 5% of titles in the collection must be borrowed. The vast majority are not borrowed, however.

Wageningen Academic Publishers

Yes

Individual chapters or whole book (clicking on the PDF tab on the book's description page downloads the entire PDF)

No

No

Wiley Online Library

Yes

Individual chapters or all chapters

No

No

 

 

Borrowing and holds


 

All about borrowing:

Some collections don’t allow you to permanently download an e-book file. Rather, they let you “borrow” it. This means you get to download it for a limited time. After this time, the file will have disappeared from your computer, or no longer be accessible. It’s very like borrowing print book from the library, except you don’t have to come back to return it! Some of the collections that use borrowing/time-limited downloads are:

 

Returning a borrowed e-book early

Some collections allow you to return an e-book early. This frees up a spot on your loan list, allowing you to take out another book instead.

 

So, I really don’t have to return an e-book?

No, the file takes care of itself automatically!

 

Holds:

Some of the e-books in our collections are only authorized for one or several users at a time.  If all the copies are currently being used, you will have to wait until a copy becomes available. Sometimes, you can place a “hold” on the digital copy. This works very like a “hold” on a physical book at the library. It allows you to reserve the next copy that becomes available, at which point you have a certain amount of time to download the book.  Some of the collections that allow holds on e-books are:

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