What's a digital book and how is it different from an ebook?

You may have used ebooks from the library before. Here's a quick description of the differences between an ebook and a digital book.Record view of a digital book that shows available online, "Digital Availability" and "Digital Textbook"

Digital Books

Digital books are created by your library from a physical book that we own. The library scans the book into PDF files, and makes the PDF copy available to view from OneSearch in the digital viewer. Digital books are not available for downloading or printing. Most digital books are textbooks required for a class. Access to a digital book is usually limited to four hours at a time, but digital books may be renewed for longer if copies are available. The number of digital copies determines how many people can view a digital book at one time.

Learn more about digital books from the Los Rios Libraries, including details on how to access, read online, and limitations.


Ebook record that shows available online and "View Online" "Available from: EBSCO"Ebooks are purchased from vendors, who provide electronic access to a book. Ebooks are usually viewed through a specific database provided by the vendor/publisher. You may browse the ebook options from the databases page or search for an ebook by title or topic through OneSearch. The options for accessing and using ebooks are decided by the vendor license that the library buys or subscribes to. This controls things such as how many people may use a book at one time, how many pages may be printed or downloaded, etc.

Learn more about ebooks.


Both digital books and ebooks:

  • Can be accessed by searching in OneSearch
  • Require your Los Rios Login (w# and password) to read the full text of the book
  • Can be read online in your browser
  • Look the same in search results in OneSearch. You will likely not know it is an ebook vs a digital book until you click on the title for more information or go to the book itself

Search results in OneSearch where both the digital book and ebook just show "Available Online"

Last Updated: Jul 15, 2022     Views: 10

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