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CUC eTextbooks: Library Project

CUC Library eTextbook initiative

Summer Semester Books Available Now!

Electronic books are more accessible than a single physical textbook.

 Undergraduate eTextbooks                                

Or download excel sheets here:

You may also search the library catalog using the title of the textbook. Many books are assigned multiple ISBN numbers depending on how the publisher packages the content, so when looking in the catalog, check the title first. Make sure to verify it is the correct edition you need for your class.


The CUC Library is trying to obtain ebook copies of as many required textbooks as possible so all of our students can access materials. Studies show that equitable access to core learning materials, like required textbooks, correlates with improved student performance and course completion rates. Not all publishers offer ebooks to academic libraries and some publishers only offer limited users to their content, especially if those books are connected to a publisher's platform. For a full list of your required textbooks, visit the CUC bookstore.

Information about eTextbooks

The library tries to buy all eTextbooks used by our students, but there are limitations!

  • eTextbooks can only be purchased for use on our databases. The sort of eTextbooks you may see on sale at Amazon or on vendor sites are not for sale to libraries. Only individual people may purchase them - usually for downloading to an individual’s device. Should the vendors sell access via password protected links, the license agreement limits use to a single user. Libraries cannot get around this.
  • eTextbooks are only purchased when they allow unlimited users. Purchasing single user eTextbooks for every student would be amazing, but unfortunately, unaffordable. While we attempt to purchase unlimited users for our textbooks, there are some that have limited users.
  • eTextbooks  purchase for unlimited users are only purchased when they are affordable. Some ebooks are more than $1,000. In order to be strategic with our budget, if an unlimited purchasing option is more than $500, the library will only consider purchasing the material if it serves more than one section of students. 
  • Not all vendors sell their books in a digital format to libraries and even those who do often hold back many of their titles. What publishers do not sell to academic libraries?
    • Pearson
    • Cengage
    • McGraw Hill
    • Many health sciences texts

CAUTION: Whenever you discover a title in the catalog currently being used as a textbook you should verify two things:

  1. Make sure it is the right edition. Be careful of the copyright date. Print books and eBooks may have different copyright dates. We may also have several older editions in our holdings from past purchases.
  2. Make sure it is for unlimited users. MOST of our ebooks are for either one user or three users. If a student attempts to use a single user or three user eBook as an eTextbook he/she will be in competition with every other student who also wants to use that resource. That probably will not go well. REMEMBER – Most eBooks are not available for purchase for unlimited users.

CAUTION: If a textbook has supplementary materials – quizzes, videos, additional reading, etc. - available from a supporting website, the library version of the title will not have access to the web site. What you see is what you get. We can only purchase what the vendors are willing to sell us.

Rules for printing, downloading, and saving vary greatly, depending on the vendor of the ebook.  Some etextbooks are purchased through database vendors, some of the materials are open access (this means anyone can view it), and some are available through the Internet Archive. While the library can obtain access to electronic content for CUC personnel, pay attention to the page that allows you to print/download/save etextbook content.

  • Some vendors provide access to the whole ebook, others to individual chapters, others to both
  • Some vendors require you to create a personal account to print or download
    • Example: The Internet Archive will allow you to use your CUC Gmail account
  • Some vendors require you to install third party software to download, first to your computer, then to your device
  • Some vendors limit the amount of pages you can print or download
  • Some vendors allow you to keep what you download (such as OERs)
  • Not all vendors allow downloading, and in some cases "downloading" really means "borrowing," with a limit of 3 to 40 days.

We strongly recommend that you save yourself time, effort, confusion, etc. and limit yourself to viewing if you cannot download/save your content.

FAQs about Access

Can I download the entire book? 

Sometimes! Some e-book publishers only allow you to download individual chapters or sections, including Project Muse and JSTOR. In these case, you may use Adobe Acrobat Pro or other free software to stitch the individual PDFs into a single PDF. Other publishers allow you to download the complete book as a PDF, including Springer and ProQuest, or to create a zip file of multiple PDFs (which still require "stitching"). In other cases, you may be required to download additional free software, such as Adobe Digital Editions, that restricts how you use the document.


Are there benefits of using reading online, or using the HTML version of the text? What about the PDF?

The HTML text often includes hyperlinks to other content cited in references and toggling between in-text citations and notes and references. It is also much more accessible than PDF for certain users. The PDF may not have this functionality, but is much more transportable than an HTML page, and can be annotated. Keep in mind that the links tend to work better for locating e-journal content. If you do not find an e-version of a book in the catalog from the e-book reference, please be sure to check the catalog for a print copy or contact the library.


I see both PDF and ePub options, which should I choose? Are there differences among PDFs?

The PDF option is usually a much more faithful copy (PDF/A) of the print and can be transported into such citation management systems, such as Zotero. However, it may also have a different look and feel, such as here (Oxford University Press), in which case the page numbers are embedded into the document. Im some enhanced PDFs, you will be able to toggle between notes and texts. And in others, there will be no links. ePub versions of the text are web-based and often do not include page numbers. However, they may be more transportable across Kindles and other readers.


How do I know what restrictions are on an e-book in terms of copying and pasting, or how many users can use simultaneously? Check the detailed record for information concerning number of pages one can download or copy/paste during a session, or whether there are restrictions on number of users. "Unlimited" or "non-linear access" do not have any restrictions on how many users can access or check-out the e-book at one time. Keep in mind that you may be able to get around some of the copy/paste limitations by closing your browser session and re-opening a session. If you are reading online and are finished, please close your session and browser so as to free up access for another user. After a period of activity, your session may be closed automatically.


I read an e-book I found in the catalog but can not find it now. Where is this book? -  Contact the library if you need a book you can not find, or if a link no longer works. It is highly recommended that instructors check their e-book links for their courses in order to ensure that access is not interrupted. A subject librarian can potentially purchase a single copy of the text.


What if I prefer a print version of an e-book? No one has to use an ebook if you prefer the physical book. The library does not contain every physical copy of all required textbooks, so you may have to purchase or rent your materials if you prefer the physical copy. We strive to purchase e-books that are easy to use and have no restrictions, but not all are available this way so we understand not all e-books are the same as print books. 


Why can't I access this title? It is turning me away? – The title may have reached its maximum limit of users. We try to purchase multi-user titles as much as possible, but sometimes there are restrictions on the number of users who can use and/or an e-book simultaneously (see examples below to see how you can tell).  We have tried to place some local maximums (length of checkout, ability to read online for some titles while they have been checked out) and rules to allow for maximum use of these titles. However, we can make some changes at the local level for items on Reserves. Please be considerate to your fellow patrons by returning downloaded books early if you can.


How do I link to an ebook for reserves or for a reference?

For EBSCO and ProQuest titles, look for the "permalink" which serves as the permanent link to the ebook record. For publisher-direct content, the URL in your browser should suffice. You may want to link to a specific chapter or to the entire text. Be sure you see the CUC proxy in the address.


What information is being collected when I use e-books? 

Each publisher and vendor has different privacy policies. Typical information collected includes your location from IP address, titles read, and the length of time used.

Adobe Digital Editions - Free e-Book reader program used by some e-book providers to manage restricted e-book checkout and use. You may be required to create a personal ID and password. This is not the same as Adobe Reader.

Concurrent – Allows for unlimited and at the same time access up to an annual maximum number of uses (typically 365 uses). Once the maximum number of uses is met, the e-book is no longer available. On the anniversary of the purchase date, the number of uses is reset to the original maximum. 

DRM –  Digital rights management.  DRM is the use of technology to control and manage access to copyrighted material. Another DRM meaning is taking control of digital content away from the person who possesses it and handing it to a computer program.

DRM-free – Unlimited access to users with no DRM restrictions on printing, saving, and copying. Full-book downloads require no special software such as Adobe Digital Editions.

EPub - The industry standard format for delivering eBooks, because it enables publishers to create books that behave more like web content. These titles are often embedded with links to help the user navigate between sections, from the index to the relevant pages, and out to the open web.

Limited User – A set number of users can access the title at a time. The most common limited user models are Single User (1U) and Three User (3U). Any users attempting to access the title contact the library for another copy. 

Non-Linear Usage (NL) – This model allows for unlimited concurrent access but has a set number of lending days per year (typically 325 days). The combined number of loan days per year cannot exceed the maximum days-of-use allotment. On the anniversary of the purchase date, the number of loan days reset to the original maximum.

Open Access (OA) – Open access resources are available to users for free online. While some publishers have committed to keeping certain e-books, most providers have a small and/or frequently changing number of open-access resources. Most providers indicate their open-access resources with an image of an open lock.

Perpetual Access –  A library purchases and owns individual titles or pre-selected packs of titles.

PDF - The best format for retaining page numbers. Library surveys indicate that most students prefer this format. Most publisher PDFs now include hyperlinks to navigate within the document, whereas other publishers create "surrogates" of the original print in which page numbers are incorporated into the text.

Public Domain Title – Any book for which the copyright has expired—usually a book published before the 1920s. Public domain e-books are generally encrypted at a lower level of security. 

Unlimited Users (UU) – Unlimited usage e-books have no limits on the number of uses or simultaneous users. Note that not all unlimited titles are DRM-free titles and may still have copy and download restrictions. 

Contact the CUC library team for help!

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