About VitalSource eBooksAs an instructor, you’re probably familiar with VitalSource eBooks, the industry leader for eBook delivery. If so, you know that VitalSource eBooks are not only easy to use but also provide all the features that students want. That includes:
- Bookshelf, the VitalSource program for managing and reading eBooks
- Bookshelf for Windows and Mac computers as well as for iPads, Android tablets, and other mobile devices
- Student features like searching, highlighting, bookmarking, and adding notes
Why you should install and use VitalSource bookshelf on your computer
Although you can access and read your eBooks at the VitalSource website, the online version of Bookshelf simply doesn’t work the way you want it to. In particular, it doesn’t let you display facing pages so you don’t get the instructional benefits of our “paired pages” approach. Besides that, the online versions of VitalSource eBooks expire after 365 days.
That’s why we recommend that you and your students install and use Bookshelf on a Windows or Mac computer with the Page Layout set to Facing Pages. That way, you not only get the full benefit of our “paired pages” formatting, but also get all the features of Bookshelf. In fact, we believe that if you use our VitalSource eBooks in this way, they work even better than our print books.
In case you missed it above: When you read our VitalSource eBooks online at the VitalSource website, the eBooks expire after 365 days. However, they don’t expire if you read them with an offline version of Bookshelf. That’s another reason for using an offline version of Bookshelf.
You may also want to warn your students about this in case they want to use our eBooks for reference after the course is over.
How to get your Murach eBooks from VitalSource
How to get your Murach eBook at VitalSource
- To get your Murach book at VitalSouce, you need to use the redemption code from your Murach email or Murach account and then go to VitalSource. If it is your first eBook, you will need to create an account there. Otherwise, log into your VitalSource account and then click on Redeem Code and insert your redemption code.
How to use the online version of Bookshelf
How to access your eBooks
- When you sign into Bookshelf on the VitalSource website, the opening page displays the exam copies that you’ve requested with the last book you were reading at the top of the page:
- If all of the books that you requested aren’t shown, you can select Update Library from the Tools menu that’s shown above. If you have requested new books, you need to click on the Redeem Codes at VitalSource and insert the redemption given to you by email or in your Murach account.
How to open and display an online eBook
- To open one of your eBooks, go to the Home page and click on the book:
- Then, you can use the controls at the left and bottom of the screen to work with the eBook. However, you can’t control the size of the book page, except by adjusting the size of the browser, and you can’t display facing pages.
Why we recommend that you use an offline version of Bookshelf
Simply stated, the online version has many flaws. In particular,
- It doesn’t let you display facing pages so you can’t take advantage of our “paired pages” presentation method.
- You have to be connected to the Internet to use it.
- The online versions of VitalSource eBooks expire after 365 days, but the offline versions don’t.
How to use an offline version of Bookshelf
How to install an offline version of Bookshelf
Note: If you have an older offline version already installed, the screens will look different, but the functionality will be much the same.
- To install an offline version of Bookshelf, you start from the Home page of the online version of Bookshelf, and you click on the App toolbar button that’s shown below. Then, you click on the Download button to download the offline version of Bookshelf for the device that you’re using.
- When you install and start the offline version of Bookshelf for a Windows or Mac computer, all of the exam copies that you've requested and redeemed will be displayed:
- If all of the books aren’t shown, you can select Update Book List from the Account menu. Then, if necessary, you can click All Titles in the Collections pane on the left side of Bookshelf.
How to open and display an eBook on a computer
- To open one of the books, click on it. Then, you can use the left and right arrows at the sides to move from page to page. You can also experiment with the controls in the toolbar to see how easy it is to to search, navigate, highlight, bookmark, add notes, and more.
- To change the display of a book, use the Aa icon in the bottom toolbar. Here, for example, is the Bookshelf display for a Windows computer with Aa set to Facing Pages and the Table of Contents hidden:
- This is the layout that we recommend for our books because it lets you get the most from our “paired pages” presentation method. To page through the sets of paired pages when the Navigation panel is hidden, you can press the PgUp and PgDn keys.
- Note: If you have an older version of Bookshelf installed on your computer, you can use the View menu or Page Layout icon to set the display to Facing Pages.
How to use our eBooks on tablets
- Bookshelf for tablets works similarly to Bookshelf for a computer. Here, for example, is a figure page from one of our books in Bookshelf for the iPad, with the Aa option selected:
- Here again, if you experiment with the controls at the top and bottom of the page, you’ll see how easy it is to search, navigate, highlight, bookmark, add notes, and more.
How to use our eBooks on mobile phones
- You can download and install Bookshelf for a phone in the same way that you download and install Bookshelf for a tablet. You can also open and display your eBooks in the same way.
- In general, we don’t recommend using Bookshelf on a phone because you lose the instructional benefits that you get from our “paired pages.” However, for an occasional lookup or quick review of a funtion, it can work quite well.
Our recommendations for using our VitalSource eBooks
Download and use an offline version of Bookshelf
- Since the offline versions of Bookshelf for Windows and Mac computers work better than the online reader, it’s worth taking the time to install an offline version. That also means you don’t have to be connected to the Internet to access your eBooks. And it means that your eBooks won’t expire after 365 days.
Use the Facing Pages layout on larger screens
- If the device you’re using for an offline version of Bookshelf has a screen that’s large enough to support Facing Pages, use that layout when you’re reviewing our books. That will help you see how effective our “paired pages” presentation method is for technical instruction.
- When you’re using Facing Pages, you can do a quick analysis of the content of one of our chapters just by paging through the sets of paired pages with your focus on the figure in each pair. That’s also an effective way for students to review for a test: just focus on the figures.
- But remember that Facing Pages are only supported by the offline versions of Bookshelf for Windows and Macs.
Take advantage of our “paired pages” on tablets
- On tablets, you can’t display both pages in a pair, but you can display one full page at a time. Just remember that each text page in our books is matched with a facing figure page. As a result, you can switch back and forth between text and figure just by going back and forth between pages.
- This also means that students can easily review for a test by skipping every other page and focusing on the figures.
Legacy support for LockLizard eBooks
- On August 17, 2017, we switched from LockLizard eBooks to VitalSource eBooks, and we will continue to provide access to those LockLizard eBooks from your My Account page.
- If you're going to consider one of those books for adoption, though, please request a new exam copy of the eBook. This time, it will be delivered as a VitalSource eBook, which will work much better than the LockLizard eBook.
- The VitalSource eBook will also show you exactly what your students will be getting if they buy the eBook, including all of the features that students want.