Barnes and Noble Book Resources
To help maintain consistency and ensure students are equipped to learn wherever they are, BNED has joined VitalSource and leading publishers in providing free access to eTextbooks through the remainder of the Spring term. BNED operates more than 1,400 physical and virtual bookstores at campuses nationwide, and has partnered with VitalSource since 2016 to supply millions of students with eTextbooks and digital learning materials. Students at BNED campuses that have been closed down due to COVID-19 will now be able to access these eTextbooks free of cost to help them successfully complete their academic year.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is VitalSource Helps?
VitalSource Helps is a program designed to support students who may have lost access to course materials due to a campus moving to distance-learning to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This program is made possible by the leading publishers and campus retailers in US higher education. The program offers free access to tens of thousands of ebooks through May 25, 2020 to Spring semester students and instructors at impacted 2 and 4-year non-profit institutions in the US. A complete list of eligible institutions is available here.
Who is eligible for the VitalSource Helps program?
Students meeting the following criteria are eligible to access free ebooks as part of VitalSource Helps:
1. Attend a 2-year or 4-year institution on a semester academic calendar. A complete list of eligible institutions is available here
2. Be enrolled in course(s) that began prior to March 16, 2020
3. Use an institution-provided email address
How do students access VitalSource Helps content?
To get started, students should visit bookshelf.vitalsource.com. Before students can begin searching for and reading ebooks, they will need to log-in or create a Bookshelf account with their institution-provided email address.
It is important to note that, while students at your institution may use Bookshelf today as part of an Inclusive Access program, they may access content via an LMS integration that does not require an email address, or their account may be linked to their personal email address. To access VitalSource Helps content, students must use their institution-provided email address.
For students accessing Bookshelf for the first time:
Here are instructions on creating a Bookshelf account that you can share with students and instructors. Once students create an account with an institution-provided email address, they should login and click on the “Explore” tab in the upper left corner of the screen.
For students with existing Bookshelf accounts linked to their institution-provided email address:
Students with existing Bookshelf accounts linked to their institution-provided email address will see a new tab called “Explore” when they login. This tab provides access to the freely-available ebooks.
For students with existing Bookshelf accounts NOT linked to their institution-provided email address:
Here is an article explaining how a student can check the email account associated with their Bookshelf account, and how to change it to an institution-provided email account to access VitalSource Helps ebooks.
How long is the VitalSource Helps program available?
We and the publishers are offering free access to ebooks through May 25, 2020 to ensure affected students are able to use required learning materials through final exams. Once the free access period ends, students will maintain access to their Bookshelf account. However, ebooks provided during the VitalSource Helps program will no longer appear.
How many titles may be accessed for free as part of the VitalSource Helps ebook program?
Users may add up to seven titles to their account for free. There is a “counter” in the lower left corner of the Bookshelf screen to help users keep track of the number of books accessed.
What type of content is available as part of the VitalSource Helps ebook program?
VitalSource, publishers, and resellers have worked together to make tens of thousands of ebooks available to allow students to find their required learning materials. Students may access up to seven titles.
Custom content, interactive content, and content used for assessment is not included. Commonly assigned materials from publishers, often referred to as “courseware” (like Pearson’s MyLab, Cengage MindTap, WileyPlus, etc.) are not included in this program.
If your store needs help providing custom content to accommodate students who have lost access to materials, please contact the publisher.
Which publishers are participating?
Most major ebook titles from the commonly used publishers in higher education are available.
Where should students go if they need support?
Students can check out a list of frequently asked questions here.
What if students or instructors on my campus cannot find the ebook they need?
If you do not see the publisher of a book required on your campus on this list, or can’t find a required course material by searching for its ISBN, title, or author then that material is not available as part of VitalSource Helps. Most custom content is not included in VitalSource Helps.
What if a student is trying to access his or her Bookshelf account from the campus LMS?
Any content typically accessed via the LMS, such as Inclusive Access content, will still be available on LMS-integrated accounts. However, ebooks that are part of VitalSource Helps are only available through the Explore tab at bookshelf.vitalsource.com and within all native Bookshelf apps (iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, etc.).
It is important to note that, while students at your institution may use Bookshelf today as part of an Inclusive Access program, they may access content via an LMS integration that does not require an email address, or their account may be linked to their personal email address. To access VitalSource Helps free content, students must use their institution-provided email address.
Can students download materials?
Yes! To access ebooks offline, students and instructors should download the Bookshelf app on their computer or mobile device. The Bookshelf app is available free on all major app stores. Learn more about the Bookshelf app here.
Students may download ebooks on two desktop/laptops and two mobile devices.
If a user reaches the activated devices limit, she can deactivate devices to activate other devices in her account settings. Learn more here.
Does Bookshelf allow users to print portions of books?
In most cases, yes. However, printing restrictions are set by each publisher.
Is the Bookshelf platform accessible for students with special needs?
Yes. We take accessibility seriously. You can find our VPATs here, and relevant support articles here. We ensure all materials meet a minimum standard of accessibility, and the Bookshelf platform supports even more accessibility features, but publishers determine enhanced accessibility for their own content.
VitalSource does not share user data and all participants of the VitalSource Helps program will automatically be opted out of marketing initiatives. To learn more, click here to view our Privacy FAQs.
Is there somewhere where items will be updated frequently?
Yes. The latest information will be posted here.