Explore these collections of e-books available through the Library.

All of our e-books are included in the catalog (instead of a call number and availability, you'll see a link to Connect from Amherst College), but you can also search full text in the collections below.

Find e-book collections on the open web.
  • Internet Archive Texts
    Over a million freely available ebooks, or try the e-book lending library at Open Library
  • Hathi Trust
    Digital library with 2 million books in the public domain, plus search of restricted titles.
  • Google Books
    A service from Google that searches the full text of books and magazines that Google has scanned, converted to text using optical character recognition, and stored in its digital database.
A majority of the library's e-book content comes from ebrary, EBSCO, JSTOR, and EBL. This page has tips on how to navigate, download, print, and email e-books in these platforms. For further questions, contact us.

Be aware:  Access to e-book titles may change at any time; books may be removed from these collections at the publisher's/vendor's discretion.

Ebrary e-books

To read online:
After selecting a book, click the blue Read Online bar. When the e-book has loaded, the top menu bar provides tools and navigation.

To print or download content:
Click the printer icon (it reads "Print to PDF" when you hover over it). This will allow you to create a PDF of the current page or a range of pages from the e-book. You can then save this PDF as a download and print from it.

The main page of the e-book will tell you how many pages you are allowed to print (or download to PDF) or copy. See more about print/copy limits here.

Note: Publishers may set different limits on how many pages may be downloaded/printed. Consult the main page of your e-book to see what's allowed.

PDFs will be created as PDF images -- in order to be able to select or search through text, you will need to run the file through an OCR converter.

To download e-book for offline reading:
Along the top toolbar, select either Full Download or Chapter Download.

Full Download: Requires signing in -- click Continue to sign in via your institution -- and Adobe Digital Editions 1, a free download.

  • Once you have signed in, select the Full Download icon and follow the steps provided. You will be asked to select your device, and note whether you are using a private or public computer.
  • If you do not have Adobe Digital Editions, you will be prompted to download it. Open the installer and follow the prompts to install the program.
  • Back in ebrary, select "done with the step" to move on. Download your e-book.
  • Open your e-book file using Adobe Digital Editions. You may be asked to Authorize your Computer --  you can select the "I want to authorize my computer without an ID" checkbox instead.

Note: This means that the e-book you have downloaded will only be accessible on the machine that you're using now.

  • Once you have authorized your computer, your e-book will be added to your Library collection and can be read offline.
  • Downloaded books will exist on your device for up to 14 days, after which the file disappears. You can annotate and search within this offline e-book using the Adobe Digital Editions features.

Chapter Download: Navigate to the chapter you want to download in ebrary, and then select the Chapter Download icon. A PDF of the chapter will be created for download.

EBSCO/NetLibrary e-books

To read online:
In the e-book title/details screen, click PDF Full Text on the left-hand side. Use the arrows to move from page to page. Page forward and zoom using bottom menu commands.

To print:
Click the Save Pages icon on the top menu to save the current page, or a range of pages, to PDF.

The PDF will be available as a download, which you can then use to print.

To email/save pages:

Click PDF Full Text. Go to the page you want, and click one of the following options from the top menu:

  • E-mail Pages: An E-mail PDF header screen will appear. Select the page range and email format that you want. Your PDF selection of pages will be attached to the e-mail.
  • Save Pages: A Save Pages to PDF option will appear. Select the page range you want. A PDF will download to your computer.

Note: There is a 100-page limit for all activity, including saving to PDF and emailing.

JSTOR eBooks

To read online: 
After locating a title in the catalog, first click Location & Availability. Next, click Five Colleges: Link to resource.

To print or save content:
Click Download PDF. A new window will appear requring you to accept JSTOR's terms and conditions. Click I Accept to proceed. A PDF version of the content will open. From the PDF window select the print or save icons.

There are no limits on downloading or printing.

EBL e-books

To read online: 
Select your institution. On the next screen, enter your Amherst College username and password. A screen with the book's cover and details will load. On the screen, click on the blue Read Online button. To view the book in PDF format, select PDF from the menu at the top of the screen.

To print:
Click the print button on the top menu. In order to print you will be required to check-out the book. Select a loan length and select Yes (borrow this book).  The window that opens will provide several options for printing including single page, print range, and full chapters. 

Note: There is a limit to the number of pages which can be printed; the amount varies for each book.

To download:
Select Download from the vertical menu on the left side of the screen. Adobe Digital Editions must be installed before downloading the book. If you do not have Adobe Digital Editions, you will be prompted to download it. Open the installer and follow the prompts to install the program.


  • Adobe Digital Editions
    1. ADE provides free digital rights management and a platform for borrowable e-books. Your borrowed e-books stay with your ADE account and your copy of the software, so you must set it up on your own computer, not shared Library computers. Once set up, your account can be synched to, and ebooks moved, between multiple devices. When you click to download (borrow) an eligible e-book, indicate in the pop-up box that the .acsm file (a "key" file for ADE, not the book itself) should open in Adobe Digital Editions. ADE opens in a separate window with the book displayed within. The actual pdf file will be stored in your computer.