How to use e-books
Our guide to accessing, downloading and reading e-books.
Accessing an e-book
- Find the book on your reading list or in Library Search. Click the link to open the e-book.
- You can also find the VLeBooks website on the Database A-Z.
- Choose either read online or download. See the relevant sections on this page to find out how.
- There may be a preview option instead. Select preview to open the book then close the preview screen. The read online and download options should appear.
- If you see a 'Request access' button, click it. You will need to enter your UWE Bristol email address and click 'Request access' again.
- As well as PCs and Macs, e-books can be read on tablet devices, phones and ereaders (eg an app).
Read online - VLeBooks
Using the VLe website
- Select edit accessibility settings on the left side of the screen to alter how the website appears (this will not affect the e-books themselves)
- Select email your library on the left side of the screen if you have a problem, to report the issue directly to library staff. Please include details of the problem you are having. Or use Ask a Librarian, with 24/7 live chat.
Bookshelves allow you to store and find books later.
- Add books to a Bookshelf using the button under the reading options. You can either use a pre-existing bookshelf or create a new one.
- Bookshelves can be accessed using the Bookshelf tab at the top of the page, or through the My Bookshelves dropdown menu on the left of the screen.
Reading online in VLeBooks
For most e-books your session will last until you close it, but some books can only be used for four hours before they close automatically. This will be explained in a warning message before you open the book.
Note: If you leave an e-book inactive for more than 15 minutes in read online mode it may time out and you will have to access it again. Avoid this by turning the page occasionally.
Changing the page appearance
- Click the page layout button in the top right. Choose single page to view one page at a time. Choose double page or cover page to view two pages at a time.Use the arrow buttons to move back and forth one page at a time, or to skip to the beginning and end of the book.
- Click the page resize button in the top right (it looks like an x). Choose fit to height for a zoomed out view where you can see one whole page at a time, or fit to width for a zoomed in view.
- Click the page options buttons in the top right (it looks like a piece of paper). Click rotate right or rotate left to spin the page you are currently reading.
Use the magnifying glass buttons in the top right to zoom in or out.
- Use the arrow buttons to move back and forth one page at a time.
- To find a particular page, type the page number into the number box and press enter.
- Use the Table of Contents tab in the contents sidebar to find chapters.
- Use the Thumbnails tab in the contents sidebar to find specific pages.
See the section below on 'using the contents sidebar'for more details.
Using the contents sidebar
- To hide the contents sidebar, click the Show hide Sidebar button in the top left. Click this again to show the sidebar.
- Click the x in the top right of the sidebar to minimise it. Click one of the symbols on the left-hand side to open the sidebar again.
- The Book details tab will give you more information about the book including author, publisher and publication date. It will also let you know how many pages you can copy and print from it, as well as how many you have already copied or printed.
- The Table of Contents tab will let you find chapters. Click on a chapter title to go to it. If a chapter has an arrow next to it, click this to open a further list of options you can navigate to.
- The Search tab is where you can search for words of phrases in the text. See the section on dictionary and word lookup for details.
- The Annotations tab is where you will find all your bookmarks, notes and highlights. See the sections on bookmarking, making notes, and highlighting for more details about how to do these things.
Searching the text
- Select search in the contents sidebar.
- Type a word or phrase into the search box and press Enter or click the magnifying glass.
- Click on a result to go to it in the text.
- Use the blue buttons at the top of the search results to group the results by page or by chapter. if you group by chapter, use the arrow next to the chapter title to open up the fill list of results.
- The red numbers tell you how many results there are on each page.
- If you want to search for part of a word (eg nurs so that results for both nurse and nursing appear), click Advanced options under the search box. Untick match whole word, then search as normal.
- Click Clear to delete your search.
Selecting and copying
- To select a whole page click the Page options button in the top right (it looks like a piece of paper), then choose Copy page.
- To select specific text, choose the Arrow button in the top right. Click and drag on the page to select the text you want. A box will appear with the option to copy the text.
- To turn off the selection tool, choose the Hand button in the top right.
- The Book details tab will let you know how much of the book you can legally copy.
- Click the print button in the top right. The pop up will tell you how many pages you may print according to copyright law.
- You can choose if you want to print the current page you're reading, or a range of pages.
- If you have printed from a specific eBook before this will be remembered and will count as part of your total print allowance.
Dictionary and word look up
- To look up a word from the text, choose the Arrow button in the top right then click on the word. In the box that appears, choose Look up word. This will activate the dictionary in the sidebar.
- You can also use the dictionary by clicking on the Dictionary button in the sidebar (it looks like a book). Type in a word and click the magnifying glass to search for it.
- Choose the Arrow button in the top right. Click and drag to select the text you want.
- In the box that appears, choose one of the coloured pen buttons at the bottom to highlight the text.
- To find a highlight, go to the Annotations section of the sidebar. Highlights are marked with a coloured pen symbol. Click on a highlight to go back to it.
- To delete a highlight, go to the Annotations section of the sidebar. Click the bin symbol on the highlight to remove it.
Making and using notes
- To make a note on a page, go the Annotations section of the sidebar, then click Note. A box will pop up where you can make your notes. Click save to save the note when you are finished.
- To make a note on a specific section of the text, choose the Arrow button in the top right corner. Click and drag to select the text you want to add a note to. In the pop-up box, click the note button in the bottom right, next to the highlighter pens. A box will pop up where you can make your notes. Click save to save the note when you are finished.
- The note box has options to change the font style and to insert images or hyperlinks.
- Pages with notes on will have a yellow box on the left-hand side.
- To close a note, click the x button in the top-right corner of the note box.
- To go back to a note, go to the Annotations section of the sidebar. Notes are marked with a yellow box. Click on a note to go back to the page it is on, then click the yellow box on the page to open the note.
- To edit a note, open the note box. Click on the text of the note to edit it.
- Click and drag on the top of the note box to move it around.
- To delete a note, go to the Annotations section of the sidebar. Click the bin symbol on the note to remove it. You can also click the bin symbol on the note box.
- To create a bookmark, click the Page options button in the top right (it looks like a piece of paper), then choose Bookmark. This will bookmark the page you are currently on.
- Bookmarked pages have a blue flag in the top right corner. You can bookmark multiple pages at a time.
- To go back to a bookmark, go to the Annotations tab in the contents sidebar. Bookmarks are marked with a blue box. Click on a bookmark to go back to it.
- To delete a bookmark, go to the Annotations section of the sidebar. Click the bin symbol on the bookmark to remove it.
Exporting and sharing notes
- To export notes, go to the Annotations tab in the contents sidebar. Click the blue Export button then save file. You can print your exported notes if you want to.
- To share notes with someone else, go to the Annotations tab in the contents sidebar and click the blue share button. This will provide you with a token that you can give to someone else that they can use to import your notes to their copy of the book.
- To import notes, go to the Annotations tab in the contents sidebar and click the blue Import button. Enter a share token (see bullet point above for information on sharing notes) to import notes to the book.
Download - Adobe Digital Editions
Downloading an e-book on VLeBooks
- Select download.
- Choose how many days you want to loan the book for and select download.
- The website will generate a download link. Once this is finished, select click here to download.
- In the pop-up select open with. In the drop-down menu choose Adobe Digital Editions.
- If you have difficulty choosing Adobe Digital Editions, refer to the troubleshooting section.
Using Adobe Digital Editions to read downloaded e-books
For instructions on downloading e-books, refer to the download section.
Note: You cannot print from Adobe Digital Editions.
- If you download an e-book and choose to open with Adobe Digital Editions the book should open automatically in the software.
- The first time you use Adobe Digital Editions you may get a pop up asking you to authorise Adobe Digital Editions on your computer. You can click the link at the bottom of the box to skip this step. Authorising Adobe Digital Editions will let you access books you have downloaded to your account on any computer.
- To authorise your computer, follow the instructions given in Adobe Digital Editions to create an Adobe ID, then log in to Adobe Digital Editions. use your UWE Bristol email address to create the ID.
- If you already have an Adobe ID you can simply log in.
- If you want to remove the authorisation for your account from a computer, select help then erase authorisation.
Using the library page
- Return to your book library from reading mode by clicking Library in the top left.
- Read a book either by clicking on it once, then selecting read in the top left. Alternatively, you can double click on the book.
- Arrange your books by title, author or other options using the drop-down menu in the top right.
- Use the 'view items as thumbnails' and 'view items as list buttons' in the top right to choose how your e-book library displays.
- Re-download books that have expired by right clicking on them to download again. This may not work depending on the particular eBook you are using. If you encounter problems, refer to the troubleshooting section.
- Remove expired books you no longer need by right clicking on the title and selecting remove from library.
- Create bookshelves by clicking the plus symbol on the left-hand side (next to the Bookshelves heading).
- Move books to Bookshelves by right-clicking on the book, selecting copy to bookshelf and choosing the shelf you want to use.
- Rename or delete bookshelves by clicking on the bookshelf you want to alter, clicking the cog symbol (next to the Bookshelves heading) and selecting rename or delete.
Reading books on Adobe Digital Editions
Zoom in and out by clicking the page icon next to the search box in the top right and selecting how you would like to view the book.
Using the navigation panel
- Click on the list icon (next to the flag in the top left) to open the navigation panel if it is not automatically open.
- The leftmost option in the panel is the Table of Contents. Click on chapters with arrows next to them to expand or collapse that section of the list. Click on chapter headings to navigate to that section of the book. Click on the settings cog at the top of the panel to expand or collapse all chapters at once.
- The middle option in the navigation panel is Bookmarks. See the section on making notes and bookmarking for information.
- Scroll up and down to move between pages.
- Navigate to a specific page by typing the page number into the box at the bottom of the screen and pressing enter. You can also go to reading in the top left, choose go to page, enter the page number in the pop-up and click OK.
Searching the text
Type a search term into the search box in the top right then press enter. Move between search results by clicking the arrows to the right of the search box.
Making notes, highlighting and bookmarking
- Find all your bookmarks notes and highlights in the Bookmarks tab of the Navigation Panel on the left-hand side. Click on one of your notes to navigate back to it.
- To bookmark a page, click the flag icon in the top left (next to the Library button). You can also right click on the page itself and select bookmark page. The flag will turn large and red on a page that is bookmarked.
- Highlight the text by clicking and dragging to select a selection of text. Right click on the selected text and choose highlight.
- Make a note by clicking and dragging to select a section of text. Right click on the selected text and choose add note to text. A yellow box will pop up over the book where you can write your notes. Move this note around by clicking in the grey bar of the note and dragging. Resize it by clicking on the bottom right corner (where there are small lines) and dragging. Hide notes by clicking the minus sign in the top left of the note box. Shown hidden notes by double clicking on the note in the Navigation Panel or by right clicking on the page where the note is and choosing open pop-up note.
- Delete bookmarks, notes and highlights by clicking on the item in the Navigation Panel and pressing delete. You can also click the settings cog and choose delete selected or simply click on the red bookmark flag in the top left.
- For EBSCO e-books, you can read the full book online using the PDF full text link on the left-hand sidebar. You can also scroll down to the table of contents and choose to read a specific chapter online. A download link is also available in the left-hand sidebar.
- Most other websites look different but function very similarly. You can choose to read online or download PDFs of whole texts or chapters.
Downloaded PDFs from these sites can be read in any PDF reader (eg Adobe reader). They do not require Adobe Digital Editions.
E-book accessibility guidance
UWE Bristol Library e-books are available through different online platforms. These platforms offer a range of features to make e-books more accessible for disabled readers. Which features are available, and how to use them, can differ between platforms.
Contact us if you have trouble with the accessibility of an e-book.
Accessibility guidance can commonly be found in an accessibility statement or within the help or "how to" pages. Links to this guidance can often be found at the top or bottom of the webpage.
Read the accessibility guidance for the most widely-used eBook platforms:
- Cambridge e-book collection
- EBSCO e-book collection (look under e-book user guide on help page)
Common features offered by e-book platforms
- Compatibility with
- Keyboard alternatives
- Background/contrast choices
Using text-to-speech software with e-books
Text-to-speech software isn't always fully compatible with e-books when viewed online. If you find your software doesn't work, you could try:
- Try downloading the e-book.
- When viewing online, try features such as "scan from screen" in ClaroRead Plus or Screenshot Reader to scan the text and make it readable.
- Try a different reader or internet browser.
- Try to copy and paste a section of the text into a Word document.
- If none of these work, contact us for help making the text more accessible.
There's no 'read online' or 'download' option after closing the preview
There is an error with the setup of the book. Use the 'Email your library' button to report the problem.
There is no download option
Some books cannot be downloaded. This is usually a decision made by the publisher and unfortunately cannot be changed.
The book has no credits
These books have a limit on how many times they can be used (called credits) before we have to buy more copies. Library staff monitor this and would normally buy more credits before they ran out, but sometimes credits run out faster than anticipated or there is another issue. Use the 'Email your library' button to report the problem.
This title is reserved by other users
Some books may only be used by one reader at a time. You can enter your email address into the popup box to put yourself in the reservation queue. You will then be alerted when the book is available for you to use. You will have a limited time window to activate your reservation before the book is passed on to the next person waiting. Library staff monitor usage of these limited access titles and purchase additional copies where possible to ease demand, but queues cannot always be completely eliminated.
The book closed by itself and I can't open it again
Some books have limitations on how long you can read them and will automatically end your session after that time. Some books also time out if you do not turn a page for more than 15 minutes. If you cannot open it again, there is most probably a queue waiting to use it that you must enter.
The system encountered unexpected behaviour and could not recover or Oops something unexpected occurred
This error message means there is a problem with the website that has to be resolved by the supplier. Library staff will report this as soon as they are aware of it. Please use the 'Email your library' function to alert us.
I downloaded a book from VLeBooks but it won't open
- If you are on a personal computer, ensure you have Adobe Digital Editions installed (all library and learning zone computers should have it). Or download it to your device:
Download Adobe Digital Editions.
- If you have saved the e-book, find the file in your Downloads folder. The file name will be a string of numbers and the file format will be .acsm. Right click on the file and select 'Open with' then choose Adobe Digital Editions.
- If Adobe Digital Editions is not on the options list, click Choose another app then More apps, then Look for another app on this PC (Windows 10) or the equivalent options on other operating systems.
- Go to the C: drive (System, This PC or equivalent), then choose the Program files (x86) folder. Go to the Adobe folder, then Adobe Digital Editions. Select the file called DigitalEditions and click Open.
- Make sure to tick the box to always use Adobe Digital Editions to open this file type to avoid having to repeat this process.
If you have not yet downloaded the e-book, choose Open with in the download popup. Use the dropdown menu to choose which program to open the file with, then follow the above instructions to select Adobe Digital Editions.