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Bookshelf by VitalSource

This article is archived and is no longer updated. Go to the latest information on the Bookshelf.

Vital Source Technologies, the world’s leading e-textbook provider, and Blackboard have partnered to deliver all the benefits of the VitalSource® Bookshelf® within the Blackboard Learn platform (for 9.1, Service Pack 8 and later).

The Vital Source resources are available in English only.

Features and Benefits

  • Mobile. This is the first time students and instructors will be able to access both their courses and e-textbooks through Blackboard MobileTM Learn, which is available as a native application on iOS and Android devices. Bookshelf e-textbooks are configured to work with the Apple iPhone®, Apple iPad®, Apple iPod touch®, AndroidTM, and Amazon Kindle Fire® devices in addition to online/browser-based access.
  • Savings. Institutions and instructors have the opportunity to recommend a lower-cost textbook option to students.
  • Clarity. An improved reading experience allows instructors to direct students to the exact section of an e-textbook. This eliminates any confusion with students about required readings, leading to higher engagement in course materials.
  • Choice. Institutions and instructors have access to a complete catalog of e-textbooks because of Vital Source and its collaboration with over 300 publishers from around the world.
  • In-Language Content. Vital Source delivers content in 17 languages.

Licensing Models

The integrated solution is designed to meet the unique needs and business models of institutions:

  • Tuition Inclusive: Ideal for Career schools and Higher Ed schools that include textbooks as part of students' tuition. Students are pre-licensed to have access to their course textbooks within their Blackboard Learn environment.
  • Student Choice: Instructors can search, sample and adopt from the most extensive inventory of e-textbooks, and make them available directly for students to purchase within their Blackboard course environment with a single click.
Features Tuition Inclusive Student Choice
Single Sign-On yes yes
Preloads e-Textbook yes  
Students Purchase e-Textbooks   yes
Search, Sample & Adopt Functionality   yes
Deep Linking yes yes
Student Success Reporting & Analytics yes yes
Mobile Compatible, include Mobile Learn yes yes
Buy and Own, or Rent yes yes
Multi-Course Textbook Adoption yes yes
Multi-Institution Management yes yes

How Do I Get Started?

Visit Behind the Blackboard to download the Bookshelf by VitalSource Building Block.

To learn how to install and configure the Building Block, see the VitalSource Administrator's Guide (available in English only).

Who is Vital Source Technologies?

As a strategic partner to publishers, learning management systems and campus bookstores, Vital Source has been delivering an integrated, synchronized e-textbook experience across multiple device environments to institutions for more than a decade. With an e-textbook solution now integrated into the Blackboard Learn course, their leading e-textbook platform is now available directly to instructors through LMS integrations. Vital Source has extensive experience providing the following:

  • Worldwide distribution of content
  • Customized, branded e-textbook solutions
  • Combined print/digital solutions
  • Integrated analytics with your institutional systems
  • Instructor usage reporting from within the course
  • Rich media and interactivity development

How Do Instructors Get Started?

After the Bookshelf by VitalSource Building Block has been installed, configured and made available, instructors will be able to begin using the integration in their courses. Instructors can access the integration through the Partner Content tab in any content area in Blackboard Learn.

How Do Students Get Started?

VitalSource e-textbooks can be accessed either through Blackboard Courses or Modules. To get started, students will click on the VitalSource e-textbook(s) and/or links their instructors have embedded within their course. The student will be prompted to pair their user accounts and, for Student Choice models, purchase the e-textbook.

To learn more about the student process, see the Student Registration Guide (available in English only) for the Student Choice licensing model.

How Much Does the Integration Cost?

The integration is free for institutions and instructors to use. Student access to e-textbooks is based upon the licensing model: Tuition Inclusive or Student Choice.

To learn more, visit

To Learn More

To learn more about instructors using Bookshelf, see the resources for instructors.