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Instructor Overview of Bookshelf

This article is archived and is no longer updated.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 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 Vital Source and its collaboration with over 300 publishers from around the world.

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 I Get Started?

After the Bookshelf by VitalSource Building Block has been installed, configured and made available, you will be able to begin using the integration in your courses.You can access the integration through the Partner Content drop-down list in any content area in Blackboard Learn.

The following resources are available to help you get started:

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 you have embedded within their 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.

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