Answered By: Sarah Hornby
Last Updated: Jan 14, 2023     Views: 11

Ebooks are made available to academic institutions on a variety of access models and licences, which are decided by the publisher. Some ebook titles are only made available to institutions on restrictive licences, including those where only one or a limited number of users can access the ebook at a time.

If you try to access an ebook and see a message which says the ebook is locked to another user, that the ebook is ‘checked out’, or that all copies of the ebook are in use, this means that the number of concurrent users allowed by the licence has been reached.

If the ebook you require is displaying a message which says all copies are in use, please try and access the ebook again later.

The majority of ebooks with limited user licences will be found on Ebook Central, VLeBooks or EBSCOHost. Details on when ebooks ‘in use’ are made available again are listed below:

Ebook Central

When one of the users of the book does one of the following, the status of the book will change to ‘Available’:

· Signs out of their Ebook Central account

· Returns to searching or opens a different book (in the same tab)

· Closes the tab or the browser they were reading in

· Is idle with the book for 30 minutes (that is, no page turns, copies, prints, etc. for 30 minutes)

· Reaches the end of their download period for full document downloads


· Single user licences are made available after 40 minutes of inactivity.

· Other user licences are made available after 2 hours of inactivity.


· All user licences are made available after 30 minutes of inactivity.

The library has disabled the download and reservation feature for ebooks where only one user can access an ebook at a time, to try and preserve access for as many users as possible for the most restrictive licences.

We will buy ebooks where there are no limitations on access wherever possible, but this always depends upon the licence terms decided by the publisher.