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eBooks: Home

A guide to finding and using e-books at Atlantic Cape

Introduction to Ebooks

Ebooks are published books that are available in digital format. They can be used for research in the same way that printed books can be used, but they can only be read on a mobile device or computer. The library subscribes to several e-book collections, which contain current, recent, and historical publications. Our e-book collections support research across all the subject areas of the curriculum.

Not all books are available digitally. When you are doing research, for best results, you should explore both the print and electronic collections.

Atlantic County Libraries E-Books

The Atlantic County Library System subscribes to a number of ebook collections, digital audio book collections, and sound recording collections. When you search the library catalog, you may sometimes see items from these collections in your results list. You cannot borrow (download) these items using your Atlantic Cape barcode and PIN. Ask a librarian about how you can get access to these materials, or how we can help you to get a copy of an item you need.

Why Use Books?

The libraries of Atlantic Cape contain thousands of print and e-book titles. 

Scholarly books contain in-depth, authoritative information with extensive accounts of research, historical data and views by experts on the subject

  • Use the Table of Contents for a general idea of the topics covered.
  • Books will contain a bibliography of materials used by the author that may provide a guide to additional relevant sources on the subject.
  • The index will list the specific subjects, events, dates and other detailed terms related to the contents of the book. The index is also a good place to see subject terms and keywords that might be helpful to refine your search.
  • In some instances, books take considerable time to write and publish and are not always the best source for a current topic.

Ebooks at Atlantic Cape

Reading Online

  • All of our ebooks can be read
    • in the library,
    • in any of our computer classrooms or labs, and on any faculty/staff computer,
    • on any computer connected to the Atlantic Cape WiFi, including tablets and smart phones,
    • on your computer at home (Internet connection is required)

      For off campus Contact the library for user name and password

  • To read ebooks online, you will need
    • the Adobe Acrobat (PDF) Reader. This is available in all of our computer labs, and is preloaded onto most computers. However, if you do not have this app on your computer, you can download it for free for either Windows or MacOS. Mobile versions are also available.
    • Most of our licensed content can also be opened in EPUB format using Adobe Digital Editions for Windows, MacOS, and mobile devices..

Reading Offline

  • You can 'borrow' books from our licensed e-book collections to read off-line. This requires some setup, and restrictions may apply. Each e-book publisher has different requirements. Use the tabs at the top of the screen to get information about borrowing e-books from a specific vendor or collection.


  • You can download, print, or e-mail sections of books from our collections. The publisher determines how many pages you can copy this way.


  • Ebooks must be cited, just like all other material you use for your research. You'll find more information and examples on the Citing Ebooks page of this guide.


  • Ebooks (and all digital content) are subject to copyright laws. Just because it's online, you can't assume that nobody owns it.

You can borrow (check out, download) books from our licensed ebook collections. This allows you to read them offline (not connected to the internet).


  • You will need to download software to read ebooks offline. Different publishers require different programs. Refer to the Ebsco eBooks tab for specific instructions.
  • You will need to set up an account with the vendor of the e-book collection. Refer to the Ebsco eBooks tab for specific instructions.


  • You can 'borrow' each book for a limited time period. The book should expire automatically, and disappear from your device.
  • Sometimes there are restrictions on how many people can use a book at the same time (spontaneous users). You might sometimes have to wait a few days for another student to finish with a book.
  • There may be restrictions on how many ebooks you can borrow at the same time. If this happens, you can wait until one book expires before downloading another, or if you need the book right away, you can read it online.
  • You can only save (copy, print, or e-mail) part of any book you use from our licensed collections. 

These restrictions are set by the publishers, in order to maintain control over their intellectual property. Books in free ebook collections may be unrestricted or may have these or other restrictions applied to them. Learn more about digital rights management.

Ebooks in Academic Libraries

Want to learn more about academic ebooks? Check out this short video from RMIT University.


This guide was originally developed by Michael Stirm for the Atlantic Cape Libraries, and has been extensively adapted by Leslie Murtha.
Originally published 2011. Revised 2018. Updated by Robert Mast, Spring 2020.