Icon Bookshelf


  • Education
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  • Education
47.1K ratings
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User Reviews for Bookshelf

Misses the Mark

The pharmacology book I bought is in ePub format, so I don’t see why I couldn’t just download it on iBooks to begin with. I would assume they’re pretty good about not allowing users to share books. I can’t think of another reason you’d force users into a proprietary app that is free. Reading the reviews, it looks as though the developers do update this app because I saw an option for night mode which someone had wanted. Here’s what I’d like:1. Better highlighting, especially with Apple Pencil. This hold and drag business is ridiculous 2. Changed chapter/page format. Each chapter being a page, I can see where that would sound convenient in a meeting but if your chapter is 30+ pages long it’s rather inconvenient to keep scrolling. That’s all so far. Thanks! Oh last thing-people are on here rating 5 stars because you can read the book offline with the app-you bought this book. You should be able to view it anywhere, just as you would a physical book. That’s not an amazing feature, that’s basic ebooks. I hope my concerns are addressed but either way I appreciate fewer natural resources being used to make a textbook that I have to have anyway.

_thelionheart, Dec 21, 2018
Just use the website

The main benefit of this app is that it is more mobile than the website. However, this app is buggy and is missing some basic features that completely remove the mobile advantage. They force you to frequently type your email and password just to use the app (there is no way to stay logged in), and the “read aloud” function is terrible. The low quality of the voice on my device is understandable because they use your device’s built-in speech engine, but they don’t set up their books to be read correctly by speech engines. Many words on the page are broken into their individual letters, resulting in words being spelled out one letter at a time. All footnotes are announced for every page, so I hope you enjoy having your book interrupted about once a minute to hear about all the legal restrictions on how you can use the book. On top of that, some of the text is skipped and other text that wasn’t even there before is added in. Divisions between chapters are not clearly marked, leaving you confused about the context.Why would I ever decide to use this app when I can use the larger screen of one of many public computers that are increasingly available to everyone, or my laptop which is easy to bring anywhere?

~chrisw~, Jan 05, 2019
Absolute Garbage

This app absolutely ruins the one great thing about ebooks: the ability to instantly search through them and find what you want. Oh sure you can search in this app but it’s just awful. For instance if you search for a two-worded phrase it will give you every single instance of both the words, which is less than helpful. There doesn’t appear to be any way to search for a phrase at all. The fact that this is geared toward text books and people who are going to need to search through the text on the regular is just ridiculous. The flash cards are a nice addition, though you’re severely limited in how you can format them. For whatever reason they only allow you one line to work with and you can’t space down to create a larger card. Everywhere throughout the app it claims you can hover over any diagram or sketch and add it to a flash card. I have yet to have that work. Then, say you messed up a flash card, editing them is a nightmare. I have 40 flash cards for one unit but when I hover over the one I want to edit I get nothing. No option to edit it. My option is to delete and start over.It’s a shame the publishers force people to use an app this bad for their product.

Buddhagem, Apr 02, 2022
Pretty good, but serious problems with “night mode”

As far as apps for textbooks go, this one is the best I’ve used; all the texts I have access too are formatted very nicely and the ability to change the font, font size, background color, etc is all great.I have one major issue with night mode however.On larger iPhones (I can only confirm for the 12 max), the “scrub bar” along the bottom that shows your place in the textbook stays white. Once it disappears, it leaves a blank white box in its place. Unfortunately, that really ruins the whole point of night mode and is really distracting. Plus, considering that one might be reading for hours it’s a serious burn-in risk for OLED devices; it is an unmoving, pure white rectangle on a contrasting dark gray background. As a result, that section will be getting magnitudes more “wear” than any other part of the screenIdeally, that bar would totally disappear when reading since it doesn’t even show the position once it’s not active. But, it could also be fixed by just making that bar the same dark gray as the app controls. Everything else is, so it seems like an oversight. It would also be nice if the contents, notebook, bookmarks, and flash card section were also night-mode friendly, but at least those aren’t screens you’d spend hours on like you would for the reading

Dandrewe, Feb 14, 2021
Lacking refinement

The biggest gripe I have is that certain sections of the book appear to be pictures instead of accessible text. It’s as if all they did was scan the book and stitch the pictures together in an app. When you attempt to highlight text in these “picture“ sections, it doesn’t let you highlight. Instead, the app acts as if you’re trying to pick up a picture and move it somewhere else. The only thing I’m actually able to highlight is section titles and some information in the section reviews. All of the content within the chapter is a series of pictures I can’t do anything with. Don’t get me wrong I’m satisfied with the fact that I’m able to get all of this information for cheap compared to purchasing the full book, but if they are advertising certain capabilities in this application they should be usable throughout the entire book. For me to give four stars, the entire book would need to be in a unified format of accessible text. For me to get five stars, the book would have to be more interactive than simply QR codes and a few videos.

kallen0611, Aug 11, 2020
Good enough, but needs more fundamental features

I am using this app only because the books you buy from VitalSource are encrypted and can only be read from this app. The app shows books with a small font and almost no formatting at all (no identation, no spacing). You need to make do with the few formatting options they provide to make it easier to look at. I also wish you could flip pages from the sides instead from the top and bottom, since it takes up text space. The app also locks you from reading if you install it on an old device, and it becomes inconvenient when you have an old iPad used mainly as an eBook reader, and can't keep all your books on the same place. The app does have some good aspects, the reading feature keeps me focused on the text more than if I read it by myself, and there are a few study features (notes, highlighting, bookmarks and flashcards, citations) and they are useful to study.

net0_, Sep 02, 2019
New update is a no from me

I pay thousands of dollars for tuition, including my books from school. The old app was perfect and user friendly. When you open the app, you are greeted with all the books you have downloaded to your account. I had no issues At all. However, with the new update, when I open the app (on iPad and phone) I’m greeted with a screen that says “start building your library today”. I don’t need to start building a library because I’ve already started. However with the new update, I cannot access any of my books. All there is on the screen is a “what’s new” section and a “get help section” I’ve read through all of the help articles and nothing. I emailed support as well because this is absurd. I cannot turn in my assignments if I cannot access my books. I used the search tool and nothing. This is absolutely crazy. Why would you fix something that’s not broken? I have no access to my text books for any of my classes except through this broken app.

shanoscope, Mar 24, 2021
AP Ways of the World History Textbook Review

This textbook not only has extremely interesting material, but it makes finding all of the key terms and facts extremely easy which saves so much time and effort. The AP Exam Tips on the side of every page are also extremely useful to study with and to help me prepare for the AP Exam. I also love the way the pages are organized and how the paragraphs are properly separated with not too much writing in between. The images and captions also better my understanding of the specific topic I am concentrating on, and I personally learn well from visual aids as well. This book also loads extremely quickly and I can easily access it on the go, when I am not home for instance. The information in this book additionally makes it fun to read and the text isn’t overly analyzed or boring either. I looking forward to using this book to assist in my academic studies as well as my AP exam.

simfruit, Sep 11, 2020
Almost perfect

Over all the app is great. I have been able to down textbooks for school. And I can rent them at a lower cost rather than purchasing them outright. The app so far syncs pretty well between devices. However the major flaw I see with the app is you cannot highlight, or make notes. This is a basic feature and one of the primary reasons to download a digital book app on your phone or tablet. The company only gives the option to make notes (notecards) or highlight text on the website on a computer. The whole point in downloading the app on a tablet is so you don’t have to take your laptop with you everywhere. Being able to highlight text on your textbooks is a basic feature that one looks for in a digital book app. It was real let down when I found out I was unable to do so. Whether you are using an Apple Pencil or your finger you should be able to mark on the pages.Update, the developer reached out regarding the issue I had from my review. Gave instructions on how to address what I needed in the app. I appreciated the feed back on the help. Though done slightly differently than the website version. Indicated to press down on item needed to highlight and the option would come up. I attempted to do so and it has worked. I will continue to use this app.

Starsigma, Jan 17, 2020

The reading app is excellent. Layout is made with an effort to mirror the actual book as much as possible. Appreciate the fact that there is more that one color highlight, although there could be more than just two colors. Second thing that could be better is the frame for viewing tables. I would appreciate being able to zoom in and out with a finger pinch. And lastly, the « narrator» needs to sound much more like an actual human reading. As for now it is like a robot reading sequences of sentences. Nonetheless, scrolling down the text is easy and there is no hopping from page to page; it is rather a continuous thread when it comes to any particular chapter. And by only sliding left or right you are already in the next chapter. This keeps different chapters closer, and saves time.If improvement is made to based on the preceding fallouts, I think this is can become the leader in reading apps (I have already tried both Inkling and kindle).

Stellie10, Mar 17, 2019


With Bookshelf, you can enjoy a digital-first, comprehensive study experience from the convenience of your iPad or iPhone. Access all of your VitalSource textbooks and study anytime, anywhere. Bookshelf Features: • Download books to your iOS device for 100% offline reading. • Customize highlighters and add notes for a rich study experience. • Create flashcards with text and images to learn concepts faster. • Personalize font, font size, and background colors to make reading easier. • Listen to your books and learn on the go with Read Aloud. • Sync your current reading position and all your work across devices so you can easily pick up where you left off. • Built with accessibility in mind.

Requirements: • VitalSource Bookshelf account • Access to one or more VitalSource textbooks. • iOS 13+

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