E-Readers and E-Books

The e-books in the Biomedical Library's collection were designed to be used through the website, but some do allow for downloading of chapters or sections that can then be loaded onto e-book readers. A list of the databases that allow downloading is included below along with details about format and instructions followed by information about converting files to the appropriate format for your reader. (Our full e-books on the web are usually fully functional on iPads, Nook Colors, and other internet tablets when they are connected using Wi-Fi or 3G.)

Downloadable E-Book Databases

Access Medicine

  • Library of major clinical titles including Harrison's Online, Schwartz's Principles of Surgery, Hurst's The Heart, and the CURRENT series. Also contains Lange's Educational Library, including basic medical science and clinical books.
  • Format: Sections of Chapters by HTML or TXT
  • Instructions: Click "Download for Handheld" at the top right of a section


  • PDF Chapter downloads of the clinical core titles in this collection are available, including The Harriet Lane Handbook and Sabiston Textbook of Surgery.
  • Format: Chapters in PDF
  • Instructions: Login to your personal ClinicalKey account (or create one by clicking "Register") in the top right corner. Click on the PDF symbol to the right of each chapter title.


  • Huge library of academic and professional titles
  • Format: EPUB
  • Instructions: Sign in to or create an EBSCO personal account. Click the "Download (Offline)" link near the record for the book. Open ePub file in a reader that supports Adobe DRM, such as BlueFire Reader for iOS and Android or a Nook Device. Adobe DRM requires registration Adobe account.

Ovid Books

  • Varied collection of clinical, basic science, health professions and nursing books, including Merritt's Neurology, Lippincott Manual of Nursing, and Cancer.
  • Format: Chapters in HTML or TXT
  • Instructions: Click "Save" at top right of chapter

Springer Books

  • Broad library of books on science research topics including medicine and biomedical sciences. Books of research protocols. Includes titles with more narrow topics including the Translational Stem Cell Research, Atlas of Epilepsies, Cancer Cell Signaling, and Nanomaterials and Nanosystems for Biomedical Applications. Also Includes books in non-English languages.
  • Format: Chapter by PDF
  • Instructions: Click "Download PDF" above the book viewer

E-Book Format Conversion

Most e-book readers have a preferred file format. The iPad, the Nook, and the Sony Reader all use the international e-book standard format, the EPUB. The Kindle uses the MOBI format, it also accepts plain TXT files and HTML files. Most of these readers also support PDF files, but many people do not like to use PDFs on e-readers due to the small screen size and inability to change text size and background. As you can see above, some e-book chapters in the library are available in PDF, while others are in TXT or HTML. One solution is to use an e-book converter. The free, open-source e-book manager Calibre will convert between all of these formats and is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Calibre can be used to manage an ebook collection and can convert many kinds of documents to e-reader formats. To learn about all of Calibre's features, you can watch the video on the help page or read the user's manual. The basic process of converting a document after installing and opening Calibre is to (1) click "Add books" and choose the documents, in this case the e-book chapters, on your computer's file sytem. Calibre will populate its main window with a list of your documents. (2) Right click on a document in the list and hover over "Convert books" in the menu that pops up, choose "convert individually" to convert one document (the one currently highlighted) or choose "convert bulk" to convert all of the files. (You will probably want to stick to converting individually if you have some that are HTML and some that are PDF.) (3) From the Output Format drop-down box in the top right corner choose "EPUB" for iPads, Nooks, Sony Readers or "MOBI" for Kindle. (If you are unsure which file type your reader prefers and it is not listed here, check the company's website for more information.) (4) Choose "Page Setup from the list on the left side. Under "Output Profile" choose the name of your device from the list. (5) Click ok, and it should create your file for you. You can use Calibre to send it to your e-reader, or you can just retrieve the file from the folder that it was saved to on your computer and move it to the e-reader yourself. (You can also set your Preferred Output format; EPUB, MOBI, or other; in "Preferences>Behavior" and you won't have to deal with changing it every time.)

For help with e-readers or mobile devices, feel free to contact Technology Librarian Andrea Wright at awright@southalabama.edu or 251-461-1424.