Be careful when using e-books that were shared on social media or on an open publishing platforms, such as ISSUU or Slideshare. Some of them may be illegal copies.

By downloading, linking to or sharing illegally-uploaded copies of e-books, you will be participating in an infringement of a copyright-protected work.

Using chapters, books and e-books

Embedding or linking

Where possible, embed or link to a digitised chapter or an e-book instead of scanning, photocopying, downloading or uploading it. Embedding or linking to e-books or chapters is the safest way of sharing them.

Using snippets or quotes

You can use snippets or quotes from books without permission from the rights holder if the quote taken is not a substantial part of the original work. Whether a quote is substantial or not is determined by its importance rather than the amount copied, so it can be difficult to quantify.

You must always attribute the author of the quote.

Scanning from print

You can scan 1 chapter or 10% of the total number of pages from a book under the Fair dealing: 'research or study' and 'criticism or review' provisions.

Scanned chapters can be stored on your computer, external drives or your personal RMIT drive for research or study purposes, however:

  • You can only keep them for the duration of your study,
  • You must keep them in a secure location (e.g. password-protected folder),
  • Fair dealing 'research or study' provision does not apply to public use, so you can't share the files with anyone else.


Each e-book database has different restrictions on downloading, copying and printing. Some publishers permit downloading portions of an e-book for printing or reading later. Other publishers may only allow reading online. Some publications are DRM (Digital Rights Management)-free, allowing less restricted printing and downloading.

You can download one copy of an e-book or a chapter from e-books for personal research purposes. e-Books from Library databases can be downloaded for offline reading on a computer or other device. You will need to register with the e-book platform first.

You must not share printed or copied e-books or chapters with anyone. If you wish other students or friends to view/read the chapter, just share the link with them.


Chapters from e-books held within the Library’s databases must be printed from the platform it is hosted on.

The majority of database licenses allow you to:

  • link or embed e-books,
  • print limited amounts for personal research and study.

The licences do not allow for:

  • printing and photocopying of e-books to share with others,
  • downloading chapters from the database and sharing via email, external platform or online learning platform, such as Canvas.

Sources of e-books

Library e-book databases

The Library subscribes to a number of e-book databases in a wide range of subjects. You can find e-books using LibrarySearch. 

Go to our e-Books guide for more information.

Creative Commons and open license e-books

Open Educational Resources (OERs) are learning and teaching materials published under the Creative Commons open licenses. OERs have licensing restrictions, so terms of use will vary for each publication. Check the permissions of each OER you want to use to make sure you comply with the terms.

To find out more about OERs, including where to find them, to help you understand allowable us of OERs, go to the Library's Open Educational Resources (OERs) guide.

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