Answered By: Darcy Gervasio
Last Updated: Jun 27, 2022     Views: 269

The best way to search for ebooks at our Library is through the individual ebook databases on the eBooks Guide.  See video below!


Use the eBooks Guide

The  eBooks Help Guide brings together several ebook databases for the Humanities, Arts, Social and Natural Sciences. (Individual ebook databases can also be accessed via the Library's Databases A-Z list.)  

ProQuest Ebook Central and Ebook Collection on EbscoHost are two great places to start your search. That said, any of the collections on the eBooks Guide can be useful. There is also a tab on the guide for open access/free ebook collections. Additionally, you can also find free e-books and e-texts from the OER Guide (for open educational resources).

If you are off campus, you will be prompted to log in with your Purchase College username and password to access our ebook collections. 

eBooks in Discovery Search

The Library Discovery Search also contains many ebooks, including some open access ebooks; however, Discovery does not list every ebook we subscribe to. Make sure you always check the databases on the eBooks Guide, in addition to Discovery. 

In Discovery, to limit your results only to ebooks:

  1. Search for the book by title, author, etc. as usual. Be sure to use the "Almost Everything" scope.
  2. Using the filters on the left, limit to "Books" under "Resource Type"
  3. Next, limit to "Available Online" under "Availability"
  4. Your results should now show ebooks only.

Pro Tip: Watch out for book reviews in Discovery! Book reviews often have the same title as the ebook you're looking for, but these are articles evaluating the book, not the book itself.

eBook Versions of Physical Items

Please note we do not have an ebook version of every book in our print collection or every textbook on physical Course Reserve. If you need digital access to a book in our print collection, please email

We cannot guarantee that every print title is available in ebook format, but we will do our best to acquire ebooks when possible.


Additional Access Tips

The Library typically buys multi-user licenses for ebooks in our collections. This means you do not need to "check out" or place a "hold" on our ebooks (i.e. Purchase College Library's ebook databases operate differently than Overdrive and public library ebook services). 

You should be able to search in one of our ebook databases, click on a title, and read it via the browser. Some ebooks allow you to download PDF or ePub copies to your own computer, tablet, or e-reader, while others do not allow downloads.

A few of our ebooks have a limited number of simultaneous users, so if other users are reading it at the same time, you may not be able to open it. In this case, please check back later, once the other patrons have closed their browser. This can be important if an entire class is using an ebook. As a courtesy to the next patron, please close your browser window completely and leave the database when you are done reading.


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