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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Guide to Finding Digital Literary Texts: Google Books

Using Google Books

Google is also a great way to access ebooks. The Google Books project has been scanning millions of volumes that are now avaible online. There two way that you can access these books. 

1. Do a search through the library's catalog. The results page should look like this. 

Screen cap of library catalog results page

Click on the highlighted link (It should be list as the Google Books resluts) and this will take you to a results page for Google Books. 

2. You can go to  and start your search. 

One thing to note is that not all of the results that Google Books returns are free. They also return book that only have a partial view or no view online even though it is listed. You can tell by looking the results page. 

screen cap of Google Books results page

If it says "Read" in the highlighted box the book is free to read online or download your computer. If it was "Preview" then you will only be able to see a limited number of pages. If it says "No Preview" you will not be able to see any of the book. "Full View" means that  you are able to access the entire book online but may not be able to download it. 

To know if you can download or buy the ebook you need to first click on the item and then look at the left-hand side of the screen. 

Screen cap of Google Book view page

The red button will tell you if the ebook is available or not. The example above does not have ebooks but other items might and the read button will tell you the price and will take you to where you can purchase the ebook if you choose. 

You can also specify in your search to only return free books. You do this by searching for the item you want the scrolling down to the bottom of the page and clicking on the advanced search option. The link should be below all the items and under the Google logo and page number tool. 

screen cap of google results page

This will then take you to the Advanced book Search page. Look to the search options. 

Screen cap of Advanced Book Search Page

By clicking on Google eBooks only it will only return results that you are able to read completely online and download. If you search Full view only you will get Google ebooks but you may also get book that you can only read online not download. 

At this screen you can also specify things like author and publication date. 

Downloading Books From Google Books

When you find the book that you are looking for and have gotten to its page, look to the left side of the screen and the red button again. 

Screen caps of Google books results page

If it looks like the above (it says Ebooks-Free) then take your mouse and hover over the button (Do not click on the button this will take you to the Google Play Store) a drop down menu should appear. 

screen cap of google book results page

Click on the format that you want and click on it. The link will take you to a (cant remember what it is called) page and after filling it out the file will automatically start to download.