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Innovation: EBSCO eBooks: Read a Book

This guide helps VDOT employees explore books (both "printed books and eBooks) related to innovation.

EBSCO eBooks Basics: Get Started Reading

Like Skillsoft Books, EBSCO eBooks are available for on-screen reading. EBSCO eBooks can also be  "downloaded" for offline viewing, but we advise most patrons to stick with on-screen reading due to its simplicity. These eBooks can be viewed as PDF or EPUB files in your browser window.

Viewing options may include either PDF or EPUB...or both formats. Both PDF and EPUB are easy to view onscreen but EPUB is easier to use for those who typically increase font size for easier viewing. 

Step 1: When you find a book you are interested in reading, you'll see the access options below the book description/thumbnail image on the Brief Record (below, left) and to the far left of the book description/thumbnail image if you are looking at the Full Record view (below, right):

Brief Record View: 
Screen capture showing the EBSCO ebook brief record view.Step 2: Select either the PDF Full Text or EPUB Full Text to start viewing the book's contents. Please note that the "Table of Contents" and "Most Relevant Pages" links can help users find key concepts within an eBook more quickly, which is a helpful strategy to narrow your focus. 


The "Full Download" option is not recommended for most patrons since it has few advantages over "on screen" viewing. Why? It requires the installation of Adobe Digital Editions software, and requires the user to have an eBook reader. Plus, the "full text" can be read onscreen with no additional hardware or software and many EBSCO eBooks allow for quick and easy single-chapter downloads.

However, it is an option for patrons who want to download the eBook to their computer and/or a portable eBook reader for offline viewing. This library FAQ talks about the types of devices/requirements that are compatible with "offline viewing." 

Full Record View:
Screen capture showing EBSCO ebook full record view
Shows the same options as a Brief Record, only in this view those options will appear on the far left side of the screen, as shown above.

PDF Full Text: Selecting the "PDF" option opens a PDF version of the eBook in the built in viewer. This quick and easy option allows you to start reading quickly.
Screen capture showing an EBSCO eBook in PDF format.

EPUB Full Text: Selecting the "EPUB" option opens an EPUB  version of the eBook in the built in viewer. This option also gets the user reading in a couple clicks.

Screen capture showing an EBSCO eBook in EPUB format.

PDF, EPUB and 'Reflowable" Text

PDF: One benefit of the PDF format is that is provides a "fixed layout" version of the eBook pages that looks precisely as it was formatted for print publication. This means things like graphics and page numbers will appear the exact relative locations (and proportions) as seen in the original "printed" work. The downside of this format is that if pages are magnified enough, text will fall off the screen to the right.

EPUB: One benefit of the EPUB format is that that as you resize the book's font (if you want to read in a larger or smaller font), the text will never "fall off the page." Instead, it will "reflow" perfectly. One consideration of that effect is that as the text is reflowing, graphics may "move" and page numbers are completely eliminated, making it a challenge to cite in some instances. This library FAQ shows examples of EBSCO eBook text and fixed versus reflowable text.

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