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Finding Ebooks

Ebooks are electronic versions of books. The ebooks available in NYU Libraries' collection typically do not require ebook reading software. Users may view our ebooks on any computer, on campus or off, from all of NYU's global locations. Because NYU Libraries gains access to our ebooks from multiple sites there are several ways to search for them.  Here are some suggestions for how conduct your ebook search of our collection.

1. Search BobCat:  First try searching BobCat as you would for any other type of item. Most ebooks that NYU Libraries owns can be found here. From your results list limit your list to ebooks only.  To do this select Availabliity and then choose Full Text Online.  You may also limit your search to Books under the tab for Resource Type.  These options will only appear if an ebook version is available through BobCat.


2. Search Summon: If you don't find what you are looking for in BobCat try the Summon search tool. Summon has the ability to search across many of NYU's databases to find ebooks there.


3. Search the Publisher's Databases: Search for ebooks within individual collections, such as Ebook Central, Safari Books Online or ACLS Humanities Ebooks using the pages in this guide. Ebooks are categorized by subject area, including Arts & Humanities and Social Sciences.

You can always Ask a Librarian for help.  NYU Libraries staff are available for in-person consultations, or via chat, email, and phone to help you find what you are looking for. 


You can download an entire Ebook Central document directly to any mobile device that supports the Bluefire Reader app, but you’ll need to have done the first two steps before downloading from within Ebook Central.

First, create an Adobe ID:

  1. Go to
  2. Click “Create an account
  3. Fill in at least the starred fields…
  4. Click “OK

Second, install the BlueFire Reader app (some Library iPads may already have this app installed)

  1. Go to the App Store on your device
  2. Search for “BlueFire Reader
  3. Download it to your device
  4. Authorize your BlueFire account

Third, download the ebook from within Ebook Central

  1. Go to your usual Ebook Central site
  2. Sign in to your Ebook Central bookshelf account
  3. Search for the document you want to download
  4. Click on its cover or title to open it in QuickView
  5. Click on the green “Download” button
  6. Select the option to download the entire book
  7. Follow the prompts, including signing in to your Adobe ID

Your downloaded ebook will then be available in your iPad’s BlueFire folder, ready for offline reading, annotating, etc. Additonal information on using the BlueFire Reader found here.

Quick Tip: To access the navigation panel, tap the center of the screen.

Amazon Kindle Format.  A custom format for the Amazon Kindle, this DRM (Digital Rights Management) restricted file format is only usable on a Kindle e-reader.

DjVu Format. High-compression rate for high-resolution documents. Web-browser, desktop and mobile-device compatible. An alternative to the PDF.

Electronic Publication Format. An e-book standard maintained by the International Digital Publishing Forum. It features reflowable text, inline images and the ability to use Digital Rights Management (DRM) such as Adobe Digital Editions.

Hypertext Markup Language Format. A computer programming language that many texts are formatted with; these texts are intended for viewing as part of a web page.

Mobipocket Mobile Format. A format primarily designed for PDAs and older mobile devices. Also used on the Kindle.

Portable Document Format. Made by Adobe and compatible with their free Acrobat Reader, the PDF is widely used.  PDF files are scanned images of printed pages or converted digital documents from other formats.  PDF files are fixed-layout, meaning that their scale may not be suitable for very small screens.

Plucker Format.  Software that can be used on a handheld mobile device to choose content that is converted into a readable file from the web.  Plucker files are stored in the mobile device used to view the material.

Plain Text File Format. A text file is readable by most basic desktop word-processing programs.  Not compatible with all dedicated e-readers.

Other formats exist for individual devices; e-readers, tablets and web-enabled phones may have their own e-reader applications or software.  Consult manufacturer’s website for further information.

Adapted from Library of Congress's Finding E-books: A Guide

E-books come in a variety of formats and may not always be easy to read on your device. The apps and software below can make it easier to read and manage e-books on your computer, smart phone, tablet or e-reader device.

What is included on the A - Z list of databases?

The A - Z list of ebooks includes all databases and content packages that provide access to ebooks in any way. 

What is an ebook?

NYU Libraries defines ebooks as self-contained content that exists both physically and digitally in book form. This includes monographs from scholarly presses, reference volumes, textbooks, manuals, and primary text archival items. It does not include audio books.

Is there one place to access all ebooks at NYU?

Unfortunately, there is not. NYU's access to ebooks comes in many forms, including bulk ebook providers like Ebook Central, academic publishers like Oxford University Press, and others. Therefore, we recommend that you use a variety of search strategies when looking for ebooks.

  • Search Bobcat if you know the specific title or author of the book you're looking for
  • Search Summon if you want to explore concepts or keywords and discover ebooks according to topic
  • Explore our ebook collections by subject and conduct searches within individual resources
  • Ask a Librarian for help.

Can I limit my results in BobCat to only show ebooks?

Yes. First perform a search for author or title in the BobCat tab. Once your results appear you will see options for "Availability" and "Resource Type" on the left hand side of the screen. Click on "Availability", if your results include online resource then "Full Text Online" will appear as an option. Next click the limit "Resource Type" and choose "Books" if that option is available. Your results will then be limited to only ebooks. If you do not see the option for "Full Text Online" or "Books" that means that the item is not available as an ebook on BobCat, and you may want to try searching elsewhere or try altering your search?

I found an ebook on Ebook Central and want to print it. Can I do this?

Yes, though printing options often vary by publisher. In most cases, you can print up to 60 pages per browser session. It's necessary to create an individual account within Ebook Central and to sign in, in order to print. Similarly, you must sign in if you would like to download chapters or books.

Is my textbook available as an ebook?

Maybe, but probably not. NYU Libraries has some textbooks but does not automatically purchase every textbook on every syllabus. If no copy exists in the main collection, there are other options. Sometimes a professor puts a personal copy of a book on Course Reserves (usually a 2-hr. loan). Also, some course textbooks may be available via E-Z Borrow.

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NYU Libraries Global Help Contacts

The NYU Abu Dhabi Library can help you search for ebooks, download them to your laptop or mobile device, configure your ereader or link to them in NYU Classes. For one-one-one help please visit us in person or contact us via email.

The Bobst Library is located at 70 Washington Square South, New York, NY 10012. If you need assistance finding ebooks or other library resources please visit our Library Reference desk on the 1st floor during the following hours.  Research consultations are available upon request.

We're also available to assist you online via chat, text, and email through our Ask A Librarian service.

The Dibner Library is located on the 3rd and 4th floor of 5 MetroTech Center, Brooklyn, NY 11201. If you need assistance finding ebooks or other library resources please visit our Library Service desk at the library entrance on the 3rd  floor from 9:00am-6:00pm.  Research consultations are available upon request.

We're also available to assist you online via chat, text, and email through our Ask A Librarian service. You can quickly reach a Dibner Librarian by emailing

The NYU Shanghai Library can help you search for e-books, download them to your laptop or mobile device, or configure your e-reader. For one-one-one help please visit us on the 4th floor, or send an email to

Library users at one of NYU's eleven Global Academic Centers can contact the NYU Libraries staff for assistance via our Ask a Librarian services.

The Global Services Librarian is also available via email to assist you with any questions you may have. Please visit the Global Library Services Guide for more information about the Global Services Librarian and available library services at the Global Academic Centers.

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