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Bookshelf by VitalSource

VitalSource 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, SP 8 and later).

The VitalSource resources are available in English only.

As a strategic partner to publishers, learning management systems, and campus bookstores, VitalSource has been delivering an integrated, synchronized e-textbook experience across multiple device environments to institutions for more than a decade. When VitalSource is integrated with a Blackboard Learn course, their leading e-textbook platform is directly available to instructors. VitalSource has extensive experience providing:

  • 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

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.

Learn more at

VitalSource benefits

  • Mobile. This is the first time you and your students 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. You and your institutions have the opportunity to recommend a lower-cost textbook option to students.
  • Clarity. An improved reading experience allows you 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. You and your institution have access to a complete catalog of e-textbooks because of VitalSource and its collaboration with over 300 publishers from around the world.

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 instantly.
Features Tuition Inclusive Student Choice
Single sign-on Included Included
Preloads e-Textbook Included  
Students purchase e-Textbooks   Included
Search, sample, and adopt functionality   Included
Deep linking Included Included
Student success reporting and analytics Included Included
Mobile compatible, include Mobile Learn Included Included
Buy and own, or rent Included Included
Multi-course textbook adoption Included Included
Multi-institution management Included Included

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).

After you have installed, configured, and made the Bookshelf by VitalSource Building Block available, instructors can begin using the integration in your courses. Users can access the integration through Partner Content > Content Market in any content area in Blackboard Learn. Users can also access VitalSource through the Content Market Tools option in the Course Tools menu.

What do students experience?

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

More details on the student process can be found in the Student Registration Guide for the Student Choice licensing model.