Textbook Alternatives

Search for Ebooks in the Library

This search finds only the online books in the EMU Library.

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Request an Ebook Title for Your Course

Find a Title that might be available as a Library Ebook

See also the search on the University Press & Scholarly Publishers page, as many of those titles will be available as library ebooks. You can also collaborate with Subject Specialist library faculty to find suitable titles that are available as library ebooks.

Library eBooks

Library ebooks can be helpful when academic or trade books are assigned for course readings.
Not every title is available for purchase as a library ebook.

Library ebooks have some advantages and disadvantages. Overall, EMU instructors have been very happy with how well library ebooks have worked in supporting students.

Advantages
+ Students can access them for free with an emich login from off campus.
+ No particular ebook reader or other special device is needed: Library ebooks can be read via an internet browser on a desktop computer or laptop.
+ Unlike print reserves, no staff intermediation is required.
Some library ebooks can be purchased in unlimited multiple user versions which allow simultaneous access.
+ Some library ebooks may be accessible to students with special needs.

Disadvantages
- National surveys show that students prefer studying with print books that they can highlight and annotate (some library ebooks offer digital highlighting and annotating). Our experience is that many students will still opt to purchase the print book, while some students are very happy with a free library ebook. The library ebook provides an option for low income students that may otherwise try to get by with just lecture notes.
- Some library ebooks must be read online and have only limited options for downloading or printing content.
- Some ebooks are only available in a one-person at a time version.
- Although ebooks work well on computers and laptops, they don't always work or display well on phones, tablets, and other devices.

Multiple user ebooks vs. Single user ebooks
Some library ebooks allow any number of readers to access the book simultaneously. Some can only be purchased as a single user book, where only one user at a time can access the book and a 2nd simultaneous user must wait for the first to stop reading the book. In a few cases, librarians have the option to purchase a 2 or 3 simultaneous user version.

Using ebooks as Course Reading
When assigning a substantial number of chapters from a book, it's helpful to also place orders for a print version with the book store. This provides an option for students who prefer to purchase a print copy.  If you are assigning just one chapter from an ebook, consider also placing a print copy of the book on library reserves, as this provides an option for students who are less comfortable using ebooks.

If assigning an ebook, it is important to understand access procedures. Most important is to provide a fail-safe link that works from off campus. The easy way to do this is to use a link to the EMU Library's Esearch record for the book (see box below). 

Unlike with most web pages, referring students to the link you see in your browser address window is likely to fail. The link from the browser might not work at a different time and place. It also might not work from off campus. A link to the Esearch record is stable and set up to work from off campus with a my.emich login.

When assigning a library ebook, your subject librarian may be able to provide advice that could prevent access headaches. If you experience problems with accessing an ebook, discuss this with your subject librarian. We've seen cases where faculty assumed that the problem was limited access to the book, but it was actually a different problem that could be remedied. Students can also be referred to the Reference Desk for help (734-487-2445). Staff and student assistants at the Reference Desk have been trained to help with ebook access issues.

One issue we've seen:
In some cases, the professor provided the correct link and students accessed the book without problems. However, some students tried to add the book as a "favorite" or "bookmark" in the browser on their computer after accessing the book--this added a a web address that would not work correctly (the URL changes after you access the book). A work-around is to use the Esearch record URL as the bookmark/favorite link--this creates "two-click" access: 1. link to Esearch record 2. use link to book in Esearch record.

Copy Link from Esearch

The simplest method for finding stable links for library ebooks, or print books, is to use Esearch, which provides a permanent link that you can copy and reuse.

1. Search for the book in Esearch. Or use the ebook search to limit your results to ebooks.

2. Select the Permanent Link next to the book title in the search results, and copy the URL:

Ebook permanent link example

Ebooks: Ownership Issues

Many eBooks in the library collection are purchased and owned by the library in perpetuity; while some other eBooks in the library collection are accessed as part of subscription services; rather than owned by the library.

There is a small chance that books accessed via a subscription service will "disappear" from the collection. For example, occasionally a publisher will stop participating with Books24x7 and we then lose access to those titles (it doesn't happen often).

These ebooks come via subscription services:
Berg Fashion Library
Books24x7
Literature Online

These ebooks sometimes come via subscriptions:
‚ÄčEBSCO ebooks (some we own and some are part of a subscription from the Michigan Electronic Library).
SAGE ebooks (some we own and some are part of a subscription)
Wiley ebooks (some we own and some are part of a subscription)

If you have chosen a book from one of these, there is a chance that the book might not be available in future. Let your Subject Librarian know that you are planning to use one of these for course readings, as they may be able to point you to a more stable version.

It can be a problem to assign a title from Books24x7 as course reading. Our current contract allows only 3 simultaneous users across the entire Books24x7 database, so assigning a title from Books24x7 can lead to problems accessing the titles for both your students and other users at EMU. When you find a title in Books24x7 that you want to assign as required reading, please ask the library to purchase a copy of that title on another platform.

About the Fund

The EMU Library Textbook Affordability Initiative works  to improve student access to free or more affordable course reading materials.

Donor Honor Roll

Organizations:

$2500.

EMU Faculty donors:
$2400.

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Ebooks for Courses

Grants in 2014, 2015, & 2018  gave librarians the opportunity to provide library ebook versions for some books currently assigned in EMU classes.