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Library Services



Electronic books (e-books)

Guide to finding, using, and citing e-books at UCL.

Using e-books

This section of the guide advises on how to use e-books, including information on how the platforms vary in regards to downloading, copying and printing content, annotating, and accessibility.

Number of e-book copies available

For the majority of e-books purchased by UCL Library Services there is no limit on the number of people that can read them at the same time (unlimited simultaneous users). However, owing to publisher restrictions, some of our e-books do restrict the number of simultaneous users and some may even only allow one reader at a time - you will see a note in the View It menu in Explore if there is a limit on the number of people that can access the book at the same time. 

Screenshot showing limited numbers of users listed under View It

Depending on the e-book platform, you may see the message Sorry, this Ebook is in use or All copies are currently in use. Once someone closes the e-book, you will be able to read it, so please try again later.  

To keep waiting times down, make sure you close your browser window once you have finished reading the e-book. If you are repeatedly unable to access the e-books you want because of these messages, please let your subject specialist librarian know. You can find their contact details on the Subject Guide page for your subject: