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This guide aims to provide everything you need to know about eBooks at CSU-Pueblo! It is a work in progress.

About eBooks

  • What are eBooks?
    • An e-book is a publication in electronic format. There are a couple different kinds: those formatted to be downloadable for e-readers, such as the Kindle, the Nook, the Sony e-Reader, the iPad, or a computer; and those that are accessible only online and not downloadable. The latter are typically accessed by logging into a website securely. You can access both kinds of eBooks using your CSU-Pueblo library account.
  • What are the advantages of eBooks?
    • Lower carbon footprint than print books.1
    • Improved access to hard-to-find and out-of-print books. Improved access overall: you can get the full text of an eBook online without having to come to the library.2
    • People are reading more with eBooks than they did when only print books were available.3
    • Enhancements like hyperlinks, sound and interactive text make the experience more exciting and potentially more educational.4,5
    • Rising sales of eBooks help keep publishers profitable while print book sales diminish.6,7
    • Lightweight: hundreds of digital books weigh the same as one eReader. Take a whole library with you on vacation!
    • Less expensive (usually) and easier to maintain than print books; eBooks also take up no shelf space, allowing the library to provide many more of them.
    • Searchable text, enlarge the font: eBooks allow users to find and manipulate text in ways not possible with print materials.
  • Are there any disadvantages of eBooks?
    • eBooks may have a lower carbon footprint than print books, but eReaders have a high carbon footprint, particularly when new versions of the technology come out every few years. One eReader has as much environmental impact as 40-50 printed books.1
    • Requires access to technology: if you can't afford (or borrow) an eReader or computer, then eBooks are not available to you. 7
    • Owning your books means something different when the book is digital (and exists on a server somewhere else) than when it is printed and lives on your shelf. You (or the library) may have to pay ongoing fees to continue licensing access to those books. Over time, this makes the digital book cost much more than the print book.
    • Publishers sometimes limit access to eBooks so that libraries must re-buy them after a set number of check-outs. Publishers also have raised the prices on or refused to sell eBooks to libraries, so that libraries cannot provide them at all.
    • Some users report eyestrain from reading screens instead of paper
    • Certain art forms (poetry, papercraft, cover illustrations, marginalia) are not a good fit or completely impossible with eBooks.9
    • Preservation in digital formats remains an ongoing problem because technology fails. Print publications are still more stable and reliable when it comes to lasting for hundreds of years.
  • Which eBooks does the library offer?
    • Our library offers many different options from many different publishers and providers. Just search the catalog! See the box above for links to our eBook collections.
  • Where can I find eBooks that the library doesn't have?
    • Most publishers do not allow libraries to lend eBooks to patrons at other libraries (called Inter-Library Loan. Springer-Verlag is one notable exception: they do allow libraries to loan eBooks). However, there are online digital libraries with tens (maybe hundreds) of thousands of books that you can access for free! For links to these digital libraries, see the eBooks tab, above.

1 Godelnik, Raz (August 2010). Is e-reading really greener? Independent Book Publisher’s Association.

2 Your Thundercard allows you to check out print books, but your eAccount allows you to view our eBooks from anywhere--as long as you have a browser! For whole libraries of free eBooks online, see the eBooks tab, above.

3 Fowler, Geoffrey A. and Baca, Marie C. (Aug. 25, 2010). The ABCs of e-reading [electronic version]. The Wall Street Journal.

4 Shirky, Clay (2010). Cognitive surplus: creativity and generosity in a connected age. New York: Penguin Press.

5 Piersanti, Steven (n.d.). The 10 Awful truths about book publishing.

6 Electronista staff. (Oct. 25th, 2010). Amazon: Kindle books outselling all paper books combined.

7 Librarians refer to this as “the Digital Divide.”

9 Fowler, Geoffrey A. (April 1st, 2010). Screens and eyestrain [electronic version]. The Wall Street Joural.