The library provides access to over 230,000 eBooks.

Access them via the Library Search. To read and download the vast majority of them, you need to use  Adobe Digital Editions on your PC or mobile device.

How to find and access

On a PC or Mac

  1. Make sure your computer has Adobe Reader and Adobe Digital Editions
  2. Search via the eBooks search tab on the library homepage or filter by 'ebook' in your search results.
  3. Click on the title of the book in the search results, and choose the ‘URL: Online Access’ link from the next page.

(You may also see a link below the title result, e.g. ‘View Record from Oxford University Press’; click on this to access the eBook if so.)

  1. Log in with your usual Bath Spa username and password.
  2. Read your book online, or download.

On tablet and mobile

  1. Download the apps: make sure you have the Adobe Acrobat Reader (iOS / Android) and Bluefire Reader (iOS / Android) apps on your device.
  2. Access and read online as on a PC.

How to download

On a PC or Mac

  1. For the majority of eBooks, you'll have the option to read online or download. Read online (the open book icon) is the most fail-safe way of reading the eBook, and instructions and help can be found here.
  2. Download by clicking the icon with the downward arrow.
  3. On the following pop-up, choose the length of time you wish to download the book for (usually 1 to 3 days), and click ‘Download’.
  4. The PDF or ACSM file will be sent to your downloads folder (or whichever folder location your browser is configured to send downloads).
    1. If the file is a PDF, open the book from your downloads.
    2. If it is a ACSM, you will need to use Adobe Digital Editions. Simply drag and drop the ACSM file into your Adobe Digital Editions 'library'.

If you're using Google Chrome and you attempt to open the PDF file directly in the browser by double-clicking on the PDF that appears in the bottom-right of the browser, you'll often get the message ‘Failed to load PDF document’. You must locate the PDF file on your computer and open it with Adobe Reader.

After the download time has expired (1 to 3 days), the file will no longer open, and you'll need to access and download the book again, or read it online.

On tablets and mobile

  1. From the download pop-up, make sure you select the link ‘For iPhone & iPad users click here to download’. (This attempts to open the book in a new tab in your browser.)
  2. In the new tab, tap on the blank screen, and select the ‘Open in ...’ option at the top of the screen.
  3. Choose Adobe Reader (iOS / Android); if this doesn’t work, choose Bluefire reader (iOS / Android). The eBook opens in that application, and will remain there for the amount of time you selected (1 to 3 days).

More detailed instructions and screenshots can be viewed here: for iOS devices | for Android devices.

eBook help

We buy eBooks from several different providers, and they all have different interfaces. This means that different problems can arise with each.

Identify the eBook supplier you have reached and find their guides below:


I am getting the message ‘Failed to load PDF document’

You may have tried to open a digital-rights protected eBook directly within Google Chrome.

  1. If it is a PDF, you will need to find it in your downloads folder or other nominated location, and open it from there using the Adobe Reader application.
  2. If it is an ACSM, you will first need to download Adobe Digital Editions. Once you have it, simply drag and drop the ACSM file into your library, or use the 'Add to Library' facility in the File menu.

Can I make notes on my eBook?

Yes, this is possible for books on DawsonEra (the supplier of the majority of our eBooks), and instructions on doing this can be found in this document (pages 2 - 6).

For PDF eBooks that don’t have download restrictions (for example, those from JSTOR, Routledge Handbooks and Oxford Handbooks), you can add notes within Adobe reader (for PC or Mac | for iOS).

It says I’m in a queue, what does this mean?

A few of our books only allow one person to view them at any one time. You will be able to submit your email and receive an email after the user before you in the queue has signed out of the book, or left their session idle for fifteen minutes. It’s a little in-depth, but there’s further explanation of the system here.

Can I download Library eBooks to an e-reader such as Kindle or Kobo?

Many library ebooks have Digital Rights Management (DRM) written into the eBook files, by which the books publishers protect themselves from illegal file sharing.

Most of our eBooks cannot be read on a Kindle for this reason.

You can send library ebooks with this DRM restriction to e-readers such as Kobo using Adobe Digital Editions or to the NOOK GlowLight Plus e-reader directly by following the NOOK GlowLight Plus guide. 

For books without restriction on download period (books from JSTOR, for example), you can send the file to your Kindle using Amazon’s Kindle Personal Documents Service.

Can I print and copy from eBooks?

You can print and copy from most eBooks within the limits of copyright law and/or publishers’ license agreements. This will usually mean that you are able to print or copy 10% or one chapter of a book (whichever is greater), as with a printed book.

You will usually be told what these limits are when you try to print or copy from a book.

How long can I keep my download for?

For the majority of our eBooks, you can choose between one and three days for the duration of your download.

There are other books classed as eBooks which don’t have restrictions (Digital Rights Management, or DRM), for example those from JSTOR, Oxford Handbooks and Routledge. These can be downloaded and kept on your PC or device indefinitely.

Which read aloud options are available for eBooks?

Adobe Reader has a Read Out Loud Text-to-Speech tool which can be used with ebooks you have downloaded.

In addition, all computers in the Library and Learning Commons have screenreader software installed called 'Read and Write Gold'.

'Read and Write Gold' doesn't work in the 'Read online' view. You must first download the eBook to your computer.

Read and Write Gold provides an excellent Beginner's Guide to get you started.

Adobe Digital Editions is compatible with JAWSNVDA, or Window-Eyes on Windows and VoiceOver on Mac.

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