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  • Library AND Information Service

E-books: Home

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

E-books in the time of Covid-19

The Library and Information Service purchases e-books from various publishers, but some publishers sell their e-books to individuals only and do not allow libraries to purchase their books in an electronic format. Textbooks are especially problematic and are generally not available on platforms that academic libraries have access to.

Some of the e-books and e-book websites only allow access to a limited number of Stellenbosch University members at the same time. You will get a message that the book is not available and you will have to try again later. However, in the time of Covid-19, some providers (such as Ebook Central and Ebsco Ebooks) have granted unlimited access to titles that SU owns on their website. 

On most, but not all, e-book interfaces, clients can create a free, individual account which will allow the reader to:

  • save books to a personal bookshelf from where it can be accessed again at a later stage
  • highlight sections and insert notes
  • print individual pages
  • download a book to read when offline

If you want to share a book (or an article or book chapter) with your students on SUNLearn, make sure that you use a permanent link and not the URL in the URL bar. The permanent link will be in the form of a Permalink or a DOI.

Please note: Copyright permission/reporting is not required if a link to an electronic resource is placed on SUNLearn/SUNOnline, However, reporting the use of third party content (e.g. articles or book chapters in PDF) in class notes/course material via CHEC is still required.  See memo regarding copyright clearance below.

About e-books

Electronic books are the digital equivalent of conventional books. The book’s content is in digital format and requires software to interpret the digital content and display it for the user to read. The software is usually embedded seamlessly in the e-book to facilitate easy reading on a computer screen.

Benefits of e-books

Because e-books are online, they can be accessed 24/7 from any computer with an internet connection. You don't need to physically be at the library in order to view electronic books.

The reader can search the entire text of a book and easily find the exact section of the book that is needed.

E-books can be read on many devices e.g. PC, tablet, smart phone

Some e-books can be accessed by multiple users simultaneously. Thereby you can avoid reservations and waiting.

Most, but not all, ebook interfaces allow the reader to:

  • save books to a personal bookshelf from where it can be accessed again at a later stage
  • highlight sections and insert notes
  • print individual pages

The size of the text can be changed to suit the reader.

E-books may include interactive links, graphics, audio clips, animations, and videos

No fines for overdue books!


E-resources librarian

Naomi Visser's picture
Naomi Visser
Stellenbosch University Library
Private Bag X5036
South Africa
+27 21 808 4433