Vital Source

An eTextbook has exactly the same content as a printed textbook, delivered in electronic form over the Internet. It has the same chapter divisions and the same page numbering.

eTextbooks offer many advantages over printed textbooks:

  • They are cheaper.
  • You do not have to carry them around.
  • They are much better for the environment.
  • With an eTextbook, you can do full text searches, take notes, highlight text, print pages, copy selections and paste them into documents of your own.
  • They can be read on any internet-connected computer, or even when you are offline.

VitalSource is one of the recommended e-textbook aggregator platform in Higher Colleges of Technology. VitalSource Bookshelf® allows faculty and students of Higher Colleges of Technology to access their digital/eTextbooks via their course management system (Blackboard Learn).

VitalSource is one of the most flexible e-textbook platform:

  • Students gain instant access to content—code free
  • Seamless management of drop/add period
  • Ideal for HCT which includes materials in tuition
  • Set custom expiration dates for online and downloadable content
  • Industrial strength DRM

Compatible Learning Management Systems:

Students can access the content & tools they need anytime:

  • Online, downloadable, mobile (iOS® and Android™)
  • Students can search all of their books
  • Notes and highlights sync: students can maintain their notes whether they are on a browser, PC, or iPad®
  • Highly accessible (508 and 504 compliant)



The above error is shown when Instructor’s in their individual sections try to access an eTextbook from Vital Source platform.

This has been identified and reported to Blackboard and Vital Source’s building block teams who are working to have this issue resolved for our faculty.

In the meantime, we are proposing a quick workaround. If you are an instructor experiencing the above error or an Ed Tech support staff, please follow the steps below to resolve this issue.

Please NOTE: These steps need to be performed JUST ONCE for every eTextbook that the instructor has access to via his/her section in Bb Learn.

  1. STEP 1Instructor should go into the section, which they are using for the eTextbook (from Vital Source). Under Course Management area of the Bb Learn section they should click on ‘Course Tools’ and select the ‘Bookshelf’ option as shown in the Image 2 below


  2. STEP 2On the right hand side as shown below in Image 3 select ‘Bookshelf Content and eTextbook Refresh’ option
  3. STEP 3Click SUBMIT as shown below in Image 4
  4. Step 4Return to your Course Menu link ‘eTextbook’ to view the titles assigned to your section. You should now be able to access your title. If you have not already registered to access the Vital Source Bookshelf Online platform, then it should at this point ask you to register your details. This remains a one-off registration process for instructors.

Please find the step by step guide HERE.