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E-Books at UB

What are e-books?

E-books (eBooks, e-books) are books in digital form. Some e-books are simple facsimiles of printed books; others incorporate features only possible in a digital environment, such as hyperlinks, interactivity, and audio-visual material. Some ebooks offer the pagination of the printed text; others do not. Different e-book platforms, and their proprietary readers, offer different features such as print, cut/paste, note taking, citation management, and read aloud. Some do essentially the same thing but through different interfaces. Further, e-books can be read with several reader programs, all of which work a little differently. These include Adobe Reader X, Adobe Digital Editions, various Google readers, and Sony Reader software. E-books also come in different formats, each of which offers different possibilities; these formats include PDF, ePub, and html. For a discussion of some of the above considerations see E-Readers, Computers, and More: Downloading E-Texts (PDF).

Are e-books available from UB Libraries?

Yes, and the number is growing daily! There are many e-book collections available through the UB Libraries, books from most can be downloaded and read off line. Many titles may be identified by using the Libraries' Catalog. While individual books that comprise collections are included in the catalog, there are often advantages to searching in a given collection. The foremost advantage is the ability to do full text searching across all the titles of a collection. To learn about our most major e-book collections visit Selected Downloadable “E-Book” Collections. For descriptions of the collections, click on the hyperlinked title of the collection.

All the e-books available through the Libraries are readable on computers in the Libraries. Most can also be read both on and off campus on a diversity of devices. To download or read on your own computer or other device, you’ll need to sign on with your UBIT name and password. Some of our books are available in both digital and print format. You can identify these by checking the Libraries' Catalog.

Are there free e-books?

Yes, there are many free e-books and many will load happily on Kindles, Nooks, and Sony readers – among other devices. Foremost among sources of free e-books are appropriate titles in Project Gutenberg, Google Books, and the HathiTrust Digital Library; but there are other sources as well. To learn about all of these sources visit Selected Downloadable “E-Book” Collections.

How do I find e-books?

Our e-books are in our Libraries' Catalog. While e-books may be identified in other ways, it is easiest to use the Libraries' Catalog and select the e-books tab. Then enter search terms to retrieve a list of individual e-books owned by the Libraries. Always, check Google Books and the HathiTrust Digital Library if there’s a book you’d like to use in digital form. This is because there will sometimes be a preview even of new texts. While incomplete, this may be all you need for your project. To this end, also check Amazon. Its Search Inside the Book feature may be available for the needed title.

How do I use and download e-books?

For detailed guidance on downloading e-books, that is, saving them to the full range of electronic devices, see the chart Selected Downloadable “E-Book” Collections and E-Readers, Computers, and More: Downloading E-Texts to which it refers. Download guidance for individual products (collections) are included in the descriptions for titles which may be accessed from each product’s hyperlinked listing in the chart.

Who can use the e-books the Libraries have purchased?

All of our e-books can be used by current UB students, faculty, and staff; most without directly signing into the product. Some require a UBIT name and password for access. In all instances, your privacy is protected through encryption. Most prominent among e-books unavailable to individuals not affiliated with the University are those in Ebook Library (EBL).

Many ebooks are available to anyone from anywhere. These include books in the public domain, as well as books published by the United States and by other governments, including various intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations. Many of these texts can be located using the catalog. E-books available to all – but generally not in our catalog -- can be identified using EBooks on the Web Multi-Searcher. Be sure to also check the chart Selected Downloadable “E-Book” Collections.

Which devices (e-readers, tablets, smart phones, and computers) can I use with e-books?

Most of our e-books will load on a variety of devices. Kindles are most restrictive; but more will load on a Kindle than you might think. For guidance on downloading, see the chart Selected Downloadable “E-Book” Collections and E-Readers, Computers, and More: Downloading E-Texts to which it refers. Know your device is always the best advice – if you know the capabilities of your device you’ll know the formats it can handle.

How do I cite e-books when I use them in a paper?

In general, cite an e-book as you would a print book. Although an e-book that is a facsimile of the printed book are in every sense the book as it appears in print, you should include the database or website you retrieved it from. This is especially important with books that have undergone any level of reformatting. The information needed to cite an e-book is:

  • Author
  • Title
  • Place of publication: name of publisher, date of publication of the print version (or the digital version if it only exists in digital form, that is “born digital”)
  • Title of the website, database, or Internet location from which the ebook was accessed (for example: Ebook Library, Early English Books Online, Electronic Poetry Center, SUNY Buffalo, Knovel)
  • Date accessed (unique for each user)
  • URL


  • APA

    Scranton, R. (1957). Mediaeval architecture in the central area of Corinth. Princeton,
    NJ: American School of Classical Studies at Athens. Retrieved April 22, 2009,
    from University at Buffalo Libraries, ACLS Humanities E-Book Web site:
  • MLA

    Scranton, Robert. Mediaeval Architecture in the Central Area of Corinth. Princeton,
    NJ: American School of Classical Studies at Athens, 1957. University at Buffalo
    Libraries, Buffalo, NY. 22 Apr. 2009 <>.
  • Chicago

    Scranton, Robert. 1957. Mediaeval architecture in the central area of Corinth. ACLS Humanities E-Book, 2002.
  • CSE

    Scranton, R. Mediaeval architecture in the central area of Corinth [monograph on the
    Internet]. Princeton: American School of Classical Studies at Athens; 2002 [cited 2009
    Apr 22].147 p. Available from