Not all print books have equivalent e-book versions and an e-book title may not be available for a Library to purchase even though it is available for an individual to buy.
Textbook publishers are often reluctant to make e-book versions available and if they do they are often highly priced and tightly controlled. Many academic e-books are released 3-18 months after the corresponding print editions. There is fairly overwhelming evidence that students prefer the experience of reading from a paper copy to on screen. This is particularly true of textbooks.
There are multiple e-book file formats (PDF, Epub, HTML etc) and as yet one standard format has not been adopted by the publishing industry and additionally there are a range of licence and access models. For example the access model of only three concurrent users would not be suitable.
Most e-books offer text search and (limited) printing. Some versions also offer annotation options and the ability to increase or decrease the font size for easier reading.
Libraries as supplier of E-books
E-books available to an academic library are not compatible with traditional e-book readers like Kindle, which use their own, proprietary software. The Library e-book model is complex with a range of licence and access options: perpetual access or subscription; single or multiple concurrent access etc.
LBS Library and e-books
The LBS Library does not usually use consumer market suppliers such as Amazon, or high-street booksellers such as W H Smith and Waterstones, neither do we generally deal with individual publishers who offer e-book content or packaged online teaching materials. For example: Cengage or Pearson.
Most of the library’s e-book collection is designed to be read online via the website of the vendor. To access the library’s e-book collections, search the library catalogue within Portal; this ensures access both on and off campus. Once you find a title you wish to read, click on the link, this will take you to the e-book platform.
All of the e-books can be read online without the need to download them. Most e-books can be downloaded but the length of the download period will vary from publisher to publisher, many can be downloaded for 2 days at a time, some up to 7 days. Once the download period has finished the file will expire. (Therefore library e-books work in a very similar way to print book loans.)