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E-books: Downloading and printing SU e-books

A guide on finding and using e-books in Stellenbosch University Library.

Adobe Digital Editions (ADE)

If you’re using a laptop or desktop, you need Adobe Digital Editions.

Adobe Digital Editions, not to be confused with Adobe Reader, allows you to access e-Books downloaded to your computer in either ePub or PDF format protected with Adobe Digital Rights Management (DRM). The books you purchase or download on one device will appear automatically across all the devices you have ADE on.

Download ADE.

Digital Rights Management

Digital Rights Management (DRM) is copyright protection for an electronic product that limits the length of the loan of the downloaded e-book, and the amount of copying and printing. You will usually be told what the limits are when you try to print or copy from e-books that are DRM-protected.

Many tablets/smartphones/e-book readers and applications now support Adobe DRM. On a computer the free Adobe Digital Editions is needed to access (read) downloaded Adobe DRM protected content on your computer. Adobe Digital Editions Help.


What is the difference between PDF and EPUB when downloading eBooks?

  • EPUB is an open eBook standard and file format that is optimized for viewing on devices. It automatically resizes to fit your screen and when you adjust font size. EPUB is the recommended format for download and is compatible with many eReaders and reading apps, including the iPad/iPhone, Kindle Fire, Galaxy tablets, the EBSCO eBooks app, as well as the Bluefire app for iOS and Android devices.
  • PDFs are not re-flowable, so their text size cannot be adjusted for display on various devices.

(Copied from: EBSCO Help)

Downloading e-books at SU


Worth knowing


In the case of e-books, the meaning of “download” is to borrow the book for a number of days and to be able to read the book offline. The one big advantage of downloading a book is that for the entire time of the download (up to 7 days, even 14 in some cases), the user has sole access to this book. The book can be accessed offline on a laptop or other mobile device. The disadvantage of course is that for the entire time of the download the book is not available to anyone else.

Keep in mind that a book does not have to be downloaded to be read. A book can be read online, the user can copy and print, make notes, etc. and when the user leaves the platform, the book is available for someone else to use. 

The following e-book platforms are called aggregator platforms (as opposed to publisher platforms) and are DRM protected (see box on the left). Each platform has its own specifications regarding downloading, copying and printing.

All (or most of) the other platforms on our e-book website are publisher platforms that are DRM free, which means there is no limit on the number of pages that can be copied or printed, and you can download an e-book chapter without having to create a personal account. Please note, however, that everything is still subject to general copyright laws and to our licence agreements.




Ebook Central

  • Adobe® Digital Editions is required for offline viewing.
  • Bluefire Reader is recommended for the downloading of Ebook Central e-books to mobile devices.
  • Books can be downloaded for a specified number of days. The user can choose the number of days between one and the maximum indicated.
  • The number of pages you print or save are deducted from your allowance. The allowance is indicated on the information page of each book.
  • ProQuest Ebook Central Overview training
  • Ebook Central LibGuide:

EBSCOhost e-books


  • You must first create a free, personal EBSCOhost account (My EBSCOhost) and be signed in in order to download, copy or print. You may also use your Google account to sign in.
  • Books with multiple access can be downloaded for up to 7 days. The user can choose the number of days.
  • Books with single access can be downloaded for up to 3 days. The user can choose the number of days.
  • The user can return a downloaded book before the loan period has expired. Do this on Adobe Digital Editions.
  • A user can place a hold if a book is in use and will receive a notification when the book is returned.
  • Adobe® Digital Editions is required for offline viewing.
  • Bluefire Reader is recommended for the downloading of EBSCOHost e-books to mobile devices.

Read more about downloading EBSCOhost e-books

  • Up to 60 pages of an e-book can be printed or saved per user as a PDF file from within the eBook Full Text viewer.
  • Note: The number of pages may vary depending on individual publisher-specified limits. A message indicating the number of pages available to print will appear on your screen when you hit the print icon.

Read more about printing e-book pages