UW-Madison Libraries continue to expand access to online content including e-books. Some e-book content is licensed and only available to UW-Madison faculty, students and staff. Other content included is freely available to everyone.

Online viewing

All e-books available in full text may be viewed online. Printing e-book content while viewing online is typically restricted by the e-book provider.

Note that UW-Madison users can NOT checkout e-books from other UW System libraries.


Only a small percentage of our e-books are currently available for download. Most of this content is in PDF or EPUB file format and will only work on compatible mobile devices and e-readers.

Where to find UW-Madison e-books

There are multiple ways to locate e-books in our Libraries:

Library Catalog

The Library Catalog contains the most complete information about UW-Madison Libraries’ e-books and e-book collections.

Search the Library Catalog by author, title or topic to retrieve both print and, when available, electronic versions.
Refine your results by using a combination of facets at the left of the screen – Click on Format: Books and Online Access: Yes. The results will then be limited to books available online and, in some cases, downloadable.

See Catalog Help for more information on using facets.

Database Library

Many e-books and e-book collections are included in the Database Library.

Reference Resources

Many biographies, book reviews, dictionaries, encyclopedias, etc. are available in electronic format.  Please use the Database Library Reference subject page to access databases containing these materials.

UW Digital Collections

The University of Wisconsin Digital Collections – a UW System resource – provides access to digital resources, including books, that support the teaching and research needs of the UW community, uniquely document the university and State of Wisconsin, and provide access to rare or fragile items of broad research value.

Resources within the collections are free and publicly accessible online. They are loosely organized into collections that span a range of subjects including art, ecology, literature, history, music, natural resources, science, social sciences, the State of Wisconsin, and the University of Wisconsin.

Google Books

Google Books includes digitized versions of some UW-Madison titles as well as titles in the public domain and previews/snippets of other books.

These books may be discovered by searching Google Book Search.

Some titles include downloadable PDF files of entire books if they are out of copyright (or if the publisher has opted to allow it). Others include previews of select pages.

Hathi Trust

The Hathi Trust is a partnership of major research institutions and libraries with a goal of preserving and keeping accessible our rich cultural record. The UW-Madison Libraries contribute to the shared digital repository and so it includes digitized versions of some UW-Madison titles as well as titles in the public domain.

These books may be discovered by searching Hathi Trust.

Other sources of e-books

Madison Public Library

Madison Public Library provides access to lots of additional e-books. A Madison Public Library card or South Central Library System card is required.