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E-books at City

This guide provides information on how to access the e-book collection here at City, University of London.

For further details please see the provider specific pages and CityLibrary Search.

E-book access problems

If you are experiencing problems accessing an e-book, contact us.

Provide details such as:

  • title
  • platform ISBN
  • browser you are using
  • screenshots of any error message you receive.

What are the advantages of using e-books?

  • E-books can be accessed on and off campus.
  • They are available 24/7.
  • No library fines!
  • Many of our e-books will allow you to search within the text, highlight and make annotations.

How do I access e-books?

  • E-books are accessible on and off campus.
  • To access our e-books search for them on CityLibrary Search and follow the links.
  • Login using your City username and password.

The majority of our e-books will allow multiple concurrent users, however we do have some content where usage is limited to just one user.

Any restrictions to the number of concurrent users is imposed and enforced by the publisher and not the library.

What software do I need to read e-books?

  • E-books are compatible with all operating systems and popular web browsers.
  • It is recommended you install the most recent operating system and web browser on your device.
  • Adobe Acrobat Reader software is required to print/copy/download e-books. This software should be installed on all City network PCs.
  • You can download Adobe Reader to your own device for free from their official website.

Can I print/copy from e-books?

Copyright restrictions

  • E-books are subject to the same restrictions as print books.
  • Individuals are permitted to print up to one chapter or 5% from an e-book.
  • See here for further information on copyright.

Publisher restrictions

  • E-books are subject to DRM (Digital Rights Management) controls. 
  • DRM technology allows publishers to control and manage the usage of their e-books, for example they can restrict the number of concurrent users and limit the number of pages a user can copy, print or download. 
  • As we purchase our e-books from a variety of sources, DRM will vary between each provider. 
  • Any restrictions to DRM are imposed by the e-book provider and not the Library. 
  • Once these restrictions have been met, the publisher will prevent you from printing or copying any further text.

Can I download e-books?

Yes - many of our e-books can be downloaded to your PC, mobile device or e-reader. 

Not all of our e-book providers are able to offer downloads, please check the provider specific tabs on the left of this page for further information.

Who can access our e-books?

E-books can be accessed by current staff and students of City, University of London.

Unfortunately alumni and sconul members are not permitted to use our e-books.  This is due to licensing restrictions imposed by e-book providers.  


We aim to purchase e-book platforms and publisher content which are accessible to all students. Included in this guide is information for each platform including links to accessibility standards or guidance followed, format availability, download restrictions and native accessibility tools included in platforms where available.

If e-book platforms or publisher resources are not compatible with your assistive software, please see our alternative formats service available for students registered with Learning Success.


A summary of the accessibility features and characteristics of the available formats:


eBooks in HTML format for reading online.  HTML text is usually accessible to text-to-speech and screen reading software. It can usually be copied and pasted, increasing usability. The option to read eBooks online without having to download them makes it quicker and more straightforward to access them and to browse through the content of different titles. It is also useful for people who cannot open downloaded files on their device.

PDF online

eBooks as PDF documents for reading online. eBooks formatted as PDF files can be similar in appearance and layout to a print book, which some people prefer over reading HTML text. The option to read eBooks online without having to download them makes it quicker and more straightforward to access them and to browse through the content of different titles. It is also useful for people who cannot open downloaded files on their device.

PDF download 

eBooks as downloadable PDF files. Downloadable PDF files which have been structured for accessibility can be navigated by screen reading software, meaning they are accessible to blind and low vision users. They also allow the user to benefit from inbuilt accessibility features in PDF reader software such as Adobe Reader. These include:

  •  Enlarging text
  •  Reflow
  •  Changing font and background colours
  •  Text-to-speech functionality

Find out more about PDF accessibility and making adjustments in Adobe Reader.


eBooks in EPUB3 format. A benefit of EPUB3 is the ability to present the final text in a range of ways that can be adapted to suit the user. EPUBs are created with accessibility in mind and to standards. See Text-to-speech reading support for compatible reading tools.

Thank you to the Ebook Audit 2016 for allowing us to reproduce this list. 

Are you having trouble accessing an e-book?

  • Is your Library account valid? What is the date on your City card?
  • Are you entering your City username and password correctly?
  • Do you have Adobe Reader installed? You can download Adobe Reader for free from their official website.
  • Have you tried clearing your cache? See instructions for clearing your cache. These instructions are provided by wikihow via the Creative Commons license. Close the browser and log back in.
  • Is the latest Operating System/browser installed?
  • If the problem persists, try using a different browser and report the problem to us.
  • Try again later; it may be a title with limited concurrent usage.
  • Have you looked at the platform specific tabs at the top of the page?