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eBook Collections at UBC Library

Using e-Readers/Tablets with UBC e-Books

e-Readers and tablets are a great way to download and use many of the e-books available through the UBC Library.

Many of our e-books are available to download, however others are not. This page will outline the best way that you can interact with our e-books to use them on e-readers and tablets, and will outline circumstances that might prevent you from doing so. 

If you have questions about a specific platform, including instructions on how to download to an e-reader/tablet, please reach out to your designated subject librarian.

Devices You May Be Using

Please note that UBC Library does not specially recommend any of the below e-readers or tablets, and this non-exhaustive list is provided for informational purposes only. This guide does not touch on all listed below. 

e-Readers: Amazon Kindle | Kobo | Nook

Tablets: Apple iPad | Samsung Tab / Samsung Galaxy Tab | Amazon Fire | Huawei Media Pad | Acer Iconia One


Some e-book providers place restrictions or limitations on their e-books. This can impact your ability to:

  • download whole e-books or chapters
  • highlight or annotate downloaded content
  • open downloaded content in certain applications or on certain e-readers
  • print downloaded content
  • view images that were published in the e-book

To find out more about what kind of limitations you may face when downloading or access electronic content using your e-reader or tablet, please reach out to your designated subject librarian

File Types FAQ

What file types will I encounter in UBC Library's collections?

e-Books come in a variety of file types that your e-reader or tablet will need to be able to process. The two most common file types you will come across in UBC Library's collections are PDF and EPUB. Some EPUB files will have Digital Rights Management (DRM), which will dictate the type or length of access you have with the file. Depending on the e-book, you may only be able to download a selection of chapters or pages.

You may also encounter other file types for resources that are on e-book platforms, but are not e-books. Pay attention to the type of resource you are working with. 

What are the downloading vs. online reading options for e-books at UBC?

If your e-reader or tablet has web browsing functionality, you may be able to read e-books directly from the web. This may be preferable if you don't want to read an entire e-book and are unable to download the entire item. Most of our e-book providers allow online reading directly in your browser through an online reader, full-text HTML, or an in-line PDF viewer.

If your e-reader or tablet does not have a web browser, or if you prefer to access files offline, you will need to download e-book files before reading them (if available to do so).

Do I need an account to read e-books at UBC?

To access UBC Library's digital collections using an e-reader or tablet, you will need your UBC CWL credentials, at a minimum. For most e-books, you will be able to access the book via your e-reader or tablet with just your CWL. However, some of our e-book providers will require you to create an online personal account before you can download or checkout an e-book.

To find out more about which providers require you to create a personal account, please reach out to your subject librarian

I have the Libby app through my public library - can I download UBC e-books to it?

No, UBC does not belong to the network of libraries that uses the Libby app. There are no plans to make this available at this time, as the Libby app works with other databases of e-books that UBC does not utilize.