What ebooks do I have access to at King's and how can I access them?


Libraries & Collections provides you with access to over 700,000 ebooks covering a wide range of subjects. Sometimes navigating ebooks can be tricky. Access is often dependent on where you are, what device you’re using and the licensing restrictions set by the provider.

Please read the FAQs below if you’d like more information or if you’re having trouble accessing an ebook. 

How can I access ebooks at King’s?

You can find most ebooks using  Library Search. To see only ebook options in your search results, choose 'Available Online' and 'Books' from the filters available on the left-hand side 'Tweak your Results' panel. By following the link to the resource you’ll be redirected to the ebook provider platform which hosts the ebook.

Ebook provider platforms are listed on the A-Z Databases, along with databases. Click on the blue ‘i’ to view more information on each platform, including access restrictions. More general information on passwords and guidance on how to log in are available here.

Can I access ebooks when I’m not on campus?

Yes, most ebook platforms can be accessed off campus using your usual King’s username and password. Only a small number of platforms are restricted to on campus. Find the ebook you want in Library Search and follow the link to resource. You'll be taken to the King’s Institutional Login page and then redirected to the ebook.

If you’re in doubt about the access restrictions of a platform always refer to the A-Z Databases by clicking the blue 'i'.

What is DRM and Adobe Digital Editions? 

DRM stands for Digital Rights Management. It refers to technologies that ebook providers use to restrict what you can do with their content, such as limiting the amount of copying and printing as well as the loan length of downloaded ebooks.

King’s uses a range of ebook providers some of which use DRM. For those providers which don’t use DRM, you should remember copyright law and license agreements limit the printing and downloading of ebooks. 

Adobe DRM (or ADEPT - Adobe Digital Experience Protection Technology), is the most common form of DRM for ebooks. Adobe Digital Editions is needed to read Adobe DRM-protected ebooks. If you’re off campus, you can download it for free from Adobe.

Why am I seeing ‘this ebook is currently in use’ or ‘currently being viewed’ message when I try to access an ebook? 

Most ebooks allow multiple users to read them at any one time. However, some ebooks only allow access to a certain number of users at the same time or within a 24-hour period. Providers Ebook Central, STAT!Ref and EBSCO all limit the number of concurrent users to some extent. If you are repeatedly unable to access ebooks because of these messages, please email library@kcl.ac.uk

Can I download ebooks to my computer? 

Some of our ebooks can be downloaded to your computer for reading later. However, restrictions on the amount you can download vary from platform to platform. Many allow you to download chapters as PDFs, but some only allow you to download a percentage of the ebook at a time or restrict you on how much you can print.

With platforms such as Ebook Central and EBSCOHost, Adobe Digital Editions will need to be installed on your device before you can download ebooks. 

Can I download ebooks to my Kindle or mobile device?

It depends on the DRM used by the ebook provider in addition to the file formats your device is compatible with. Content from providers that don’t use DRM can be downloaded to and read on any device compatible with PDFs. This goes for Cambridge Books Online, Oxford Scholarship Online and some others. 

For Kindle, downloading PDFs is the only way you can read content as King’s cannot purchase ebooks in the Kindle format. Kindle uses its own proprietary DRM and which means you cannot transfer and read ebooks from Adobe Digital Editions to the Kindle.

For providers that do use DRM, there are a number of applications available for iOS and Android devices which support Adobe Digital Editions. 

If you’re having trouble accessing ebooks on your mobile device, please email library@kcl.ac.uk.

What is Ebook Central? 

Ebook Central is an ebook platform that allows King’s to make a greater number of ebooks available to our users. Ebook central hosts items that we could not afford to purchase outright but which can be 'borrowed' by users for twenty-four hours. Currently, we have access to over 250,000 titles through the Ebook Central platform.

Further information about Ebook Central


  • Last Updated Apr 27, 2023
  • Views 4805
  • Answered By Pete Garner

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