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E-Book Acquisitions Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

A brief list of frequently asked questions (and answers!) pertaining to the availability and purchase of e-books for the Ort Library's collection.

E-Book Acquisitions Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is an e-book?

An e-book (or, “electronic book”) is a digital form of a book that is accessible and read using computers or comparable electronic devices, such as an e-book reader.  E-books are published in various formats, such as portable document format (PDF) or EPUB; various publishers and vendors support any of several different formats.  E-books are typically capable of being searched, making them excellent reference sources.  E-books are accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Many vendor platforms and e-book reading devices provide amenities such as dictionary and note taking applications. 

2.  Does the Ort Library have e-books in its collection?

Yes.  The Library is committed to supporting FSU’s academic programs and courses by providing access to scholarly publications and content.  E-books are a key component of the Library’s collection building strategies and new titles from leading academic publishers are regularly made available to Frostburg State University students, faculty and staff.

3.  How do I access the Library’s e-books?

E-books may be accessed by searching OneSearch, catalogUSMAI or by searching/browsing titles in relevant Library databases. Off-campus users will be required to enter the barcode number on their FSU ID card and their last name when prompted in order to access e-books.

4.  Can I download an e-book to a portable device like an e-reader or iPad?

Yes, if downloading is an available option from the vendor that hosts the e-book and if it is permitted by the publisher of the title.  All e-book vendors provide access to content on their web platforms and many also support downloading to supported e-book reading device.  Each vendor will have its own unique method for downloading e-books, so you will need to follow the instructions on the screen when you have found a title you would like to check-out.  Most e-book vendors require that you first download an application such as Adobe Digital Editions or BlueFire Reader and install it on your computer.  Please note that many, but not all, e-book readers are compatible with Adobe Digital Editions.  Instructions on downloading EBSCO are available on the Tutorials Button at the top of this page.  Check-out periods for downloaded books may vary, but most are 14 days.

5.  How many people may use an e-book at any one time?

Most e-books are available to and accessed by users in the same manner as a print book – one user at a time.  Faculty members may contact the Acquisitions Department to inquire about additional simultaneous user options for specific titles.

6.  What type of e-books does the library purchase? 

The Library observes the same guidelines for e-books as for its printed collections.  Both print and electronic items are purchased and/or licensed to support the curricular and research objectives of the University’s academic programs.  Course textbooks are not purchased by the Library.

7.  May I request that library order an e-book?

Yes.  Faculty may place e-book and other materials requests to be applied to their department’s library materials allocation by using the Library Materials Order Form on the Library’s website.  Students or members of the community may request e-books and other materials by leaving suggestions at the main Circulation Desk of the Library or by contacting the Acquisitions Department directly.

8.  Why is it that the Library is not able to acquire some e-books I have requested?

The Library may not be able to obtain a book in electronic format for several reasons, but there are a few common explanations:

  • Availability may be an issue as publishers do not necessarily offer all of their print books in electronic format.
  • A publisher may choose to sell e-books to individual consumers, but not to libraries for lending to its users.
  • An e-book may be not hosted on a platform that supports the user authentication and/or lending capabilities necessary for the Library to manage circulation of the item.
  • Access to the title may involve recurring hosting fees or service charges.

9.  Why doesn’t the Library just purchase e-books directly from Amazon or Barnes & Noble?

Neither Amazon nor Barnes & Noble (or similar book retailers) provide academic libraries with a platform that supports lending capabilities for all of its students, faculty and staff without requiring a specific end-user device.  The Library partners with e-book vendors that provide access to content on a web-based platform as well as downloading capabilities to many e-book readers.

10.  What is the typical cost of an e-book in comparison to a print copy?

The Ort Library’s experience to date is that the typical price of an e-book from an acceptable academic e-book vendor is usually greater than its print counterpart.  The average cost of an e-book ordered by the library for fiscal years 2019 through 2022 combined (July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2022) was over 2.5 times greater than that for a print book ($95.02 vs. $35.14). 

11.  Is there online help or tutorials available for using e-books?

Instructions on searching, using and downloading e-books are available on the Tutorials Button at the top of this page.  Help is also available on the e-book content sites and, of course; please do not hesitate to ask a librarian for assistance. 

Search for E-Books

Search for E-Books