Skip to Main Content

Reading List Guide

Adding eBooks to your Reading List

Since the move to blended learning due to the Covid-19 educational context, it is now University and Library policy that all essential items on reading lists must be in electronic format. 

In order to determine if an eBook version is available for use on a reading list, you will need to do the following:

  • Check if we have an eBook version already available in Library Search (see video guide below). If we do, please link it to your reading list and request a review of the list.
  • If we do not have the item in our collection in eBook format, please do not add or single copies of eBooks from publisher websites or Kindle versions from Amazon and the like – these are personal copies, with licenses not suitable for Library resources. eBooks for libraries are purchased with a licence via a supplier, rather than buying a single, personal copy from the publisher or bookseller. 
    Instead, add the item as a print book to the reading list. Print books added to reading lists will be investigated and resourced and amended to your list as eBooks where available. We may have to change the status of items from "essential" to "recommended" reading status, if they're not available electronically. In these cases, we will add a "not available as eBook, (recommended)" note to the item on the list, and will endeavor to alert you to these via the Review complete email. 

Understanding eBook Licenses

eBooks for libraries are purchased with a licence via a supplier, rather than buying a single, personal copy from the publisher or Amazon. This means that you can’t really check if something is available as an eBook - we have to check with the suppliers. Unfortunately, not all eBooks for individuals are made available for multiple users.  Publishers may make a title available electronically, for purchase by a single user for personal use, perhaps on a Kindle device or similar, but this doesn’t mean that the title is also available as an eBook for the University’s multiple users.

When the Library reviews the items on your reading list, we will select the best available license in line with whether the book is Essential or Recommended reading, the number of students enrolled on the module, and our 
eBook purchasing policy. 

eBook license types:

  • Unlimited Access (UA): Allows unlimited use of the eBook by an unlimited number of users (some restrictions on full book download depending on publisher platform). 
  • Non Linear (NL): Allows access for 250 / 325 days / uses in a year. If more used, then it needs to be ‘reordered’ (where available) and access switched on again. We will only choose this option if an unlimited access license is either not available or is cost prohibitive.
  • 3 User (3U): Allows 3 people to use the eBook at the same time. The eBooks are not locked for a 24 hour period unlike Single User licences. 
  • Single User (SU): Allows 1 person to use the eBook at a time. The eBook is locked for 24 hours if students download the book to read offline. SU licenses are our least preferred option for eBook acquisitions, however they are often the only option made available by the publisher. Where a SU license is the only option, please utilise the 'request digitisation' function on your reading list and get in touch with us so we can ensure that the content is as accessible as possible for students registered on your module. 

When Library staff review your reading list, we will add information about the license type to help guide tutors and students on levels of access. We appreciate that the eBook licensing landscape is a complex and frustrating one, which is why we support the national Academic eBook Campaign asking the UK government to urgently investigate the academic publishing industry over its eBook pricing and licensing practices.


'No sales rights in your region'
Please be aware that although an eBook may appear as available via a publisher's website, we may not always be able to purchase it for the UK region due to licensing agreements. It is possible that the eBook will become available in the future, so you can contact the library to see if purchasing options have been updated.


How to make the most effective use of your eBooks

In order to ensure that your students are able to make the most of the resources available to them on your module, tutors can draw their attention to our guidance on downloading eBooks.