eBook FAQs for tutors

To ensure that the library checks for eBook available for your resource list, please request a Library Review of the resource list/s to trigger the acquisitions process. Library Services has an e-first policy. If a title on your resource list has a ‘Nominated eTextbook’ (one per module), ‘Essential’ or Recommended item level importance, we will obtain it as an eBook if one is available via one of our approved suppliers. 

One of my recommended texts is available on a one, two or three user licence.  Can I request another licence?

We receive automatic updates when a user is unable to access an eBook due to the licence limit having been reached. If this happens at least five times in a 24-hour period we will, where possible, purchase additional licences to try to meet the current demand.

You can feel reassured that we will take quick action, as most of our eBooks are purchased on a lending library model. While students may occasionally have to come back later to access an eBook, this still allows much quicker circulation of an item than a normal print loan. Most of the eBooks become available to the next person as soon as they stop being actively used.

When should I select a ‘Nominated eTextbook’?

The ‘Nominated eTextbook’ importance should be used on a single core text that is:

  • accessed regularly for students for their seminar reading
  • accessed regularly for exam revision and essays
  • embedded throughout teaching
  • directly supports assignments

Where available, Library Services will request an eTextbook for this title set as core reading or recommended to students to purchase. 

When a Library Review is requested, all titles with the ‘Essential’ reading importance will also be checked for an eBook that will allow unlimited concurrent access. If a publisher has not made an eBook available, or available but with a limit on the number of concurrent users, we will supplement provision with print copies. You may wish to consider our Digitisation Service when only a single chapter is needed. 

Please note that under our current arrangement, only one 'Nominated eTextbook' title per academic year per module can be requested. If you are teaching on a combined module that used to be two modules or if your resource list is in fact for several modules then please do contact ebooks-acquisitions@contacts.bham.ac.uk to discuss this.

If your chosen title is not available electronically with an unlimited user licence, the library will change the importance from ‘Nominated eTextbook’ to ‘Essential’ and you will be notified. Print copies will be purchased for limited or no electronic access.   

Can I pre-check if a book is going to be available electronically before I add it to my resource list or request it as an ‘eTextbook’? 

Ebook ordering for tutors provides instructions on how to check if a book is available electronically via our main eBook supplier. As part of the resource list ‘request Library Review’ process the Library will also conduct a comprehensive check for e-availability via all our suppliers. 

While not a guarantee that a suitable licence is available, checking if other UK libraries have electronic access is one way to investigate if an eBook is available. You can use Jisc’s Library Hub Discover to find out. 

There is a Kindle eBook on Amazon. Why was I told that there is no eBook available?

We can only make eBooks available if they have a lending library licence. Kindle or other personal eBook licences are not compatible for library use and are not suitable for our catalogue. 

What is the best way to access an individual chapter?

Most of our eBooks allow users to download a PDF chapter and store it on their PC/laptops without expiring. When only a single chapter is needed but we do not hold unlimited electronic access, students should be encouraged to download a PDF and then close the browser window/tab with the eBook. This will normally release the eBook for the next user. 

Please also consider using our Digitisation service if there is no eBook available, or when only one chapter is required for a large cohort.


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