Academic ebooks

Oxford University has access to approximately 540,000 academic ebooks – this blog post will explain how to find and view them.

Finding ebooks

Most ebooks can be found by searching SOLO as you would for a print book. SOLO will tell you that multiple versions have been found (this usually means that there is a print copy as well as the ebook).

Click on “View all versions” to see the details:

eb1 copy

Now click on View online to read the ebook:

eb2 copy

You may now need to log in with your University of Oxford Single Sign On username and password (more information here).

Downloading ebooks

All ebooks can be read online, but there are two options for downloading material, these are determined by the publisher.

Some publishers will let you download one chapter or article from an ebook as a PDF. You can then save this and keep it on your computer. Generally speaking, such ebooks are likely to be reference works containing many articles by different authors.

Other platforms will let you “loan” an ebook. This is a temporary download of the entire book to your computer or mobile device (after the loan period expires, the ebook will be removed from your library). These are more likely to be monographs written by a single author.

To loan ebooks you will need to install Adobe Digital Editions on your computer. This software is free and can be downloaded from the Adobe website. You will also need to register with Adobe, create an individual ID and sign in to Digital Editions with it.

Ebooks downloaded to Adobe Digital Editions

Ebooks downloaded to Adobe Digital Editions 

Downloading to mobile devices and tablets

You can download ebooks to mobile devices using the Bluefire Reader app. Again this is free and you will need to sign in to the app using your Adobe ID. You can download the app for Android or Apple devices here.

Bluefire library running on an Android device.

Bluefire library running on an Android device.

Unfortunately, it is not possible to download any of these ebooks to Kindles, as they only let you view items purchased through the Kindle store. You can email PDFs to your Kindle and attempt to convert them to a readable format, but results may vary! More information here.

Ebook packages

If you want to browse ebook packages, the best way to do it is via OxLIP+.

Click on the “subject” tab and select e-books


This will provide a list of all the platforms available to Oxford University.

Ebook packages recommended for social scientists

Entire books downloadable for loan:

The E-Book Library (EBL)

Ebrary Academic Complete

EBSCOhost Ebook Collection

Single chapters downloadable as PDFs

Cambridge Companions

Cambridge Histories

Oxford Handbooks Online

Oxford Scholarship Online

Have you discovered any ebook gems?

What are your preferred ebook platforms?

If you have any questions about finding, viewing, or downloading ebooks, please leave a comment below or contact the library.


About Nuffield College Library

We are a social sciences library serving Nuffield College and the University of Oxford
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