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Tips for Using E-Books

Finding E-Books

E-books can be found by searching OneSearch or searching specific e-book collections from the Rickman Library homepage.

PASCAL, the SC academic library consortium, provides over 435,000 unique titles to member libraries through various vendors, and the way you read on each platform can be different. This guide was created to help you understand the differences so you can quickly and easily read the e-books that you are interested in. The tabs to the left provide guidance for the different ebook vendor platforms.

E-Book Formats

Some platforms offer a choice of formats when reading online or downloading e-books. The two most common formats are EPUB and PDF, each with its own set of characteristics and advantages.

E-Book Format Types

Digital Rights Management

  • Digital Rights Management (DRM) is a way to manage, and restrict, access to files. In regard to e-books, DRM is used by publishers to limit the amount of downloading, copying, and printing that is allowed for an e-book.
  • Not all e-books have DRM restrictions. DRM-free e-books do not limit a patron's ability to download, copy, or print chapters or pages from a specific e-book.
  • Each specific e-book platform will let you know if there is a limit on the number of downloads, copies, or printed pages you are allowed to make.

EPUB Format

  • Contains text that can reflow according to the size of the screen or the preference of the reader. Readers can adjust the font size, style, and layout according to their preference.
  • Supports features like bookmarks, annotations, text highlighting, and resizing of text without losing formatting.
  • Compatible with a wide range of e-book readers, tablets, smartphones, and e-readers devices.
  • Well-suited for text-heavy content like novels, essays, and academic works.

PDF Format

  • Files have a fixed layout, meaning the layout, fonts, and images remain consistent across devices.
  • Highly suitable for documents intended for printing, as they preserve the layout and formatting regardless of the device or software used to view them.
  • Can be opened and viewed in almost any device with PDF reader software.
  • Supports complex layouts, graphics, and multimedia elements, making it suitable for documents with intricate designs or graphical content.
  • Less flexible on small screens compared to EPUB files, as the fixed layout may require zooming and scrolling to view the content properly.
  • While some PDF readers offer limited text reflow options, PDFs are generally not designed for dynamic text reflow like EPUB files.