4.6 (58.4K)
169.5 MB
Age rating
Current version
VitalSource Technologies, Inc.
Last update
1 year ago
Version OS
14.0 or later
Try SplitMetrics Acquire Starter Plan
Free Apple Search Ads automation & optimization platform for growing businesses
Sign Up Now
SplitMetrics’ Apple Search Ads Benchmarks are based on

Apple Search Ads Cost Analysis Benchmarks for apps like Bookshelf

Grow your app with SplitMetrics’ Apple Search Ads cost benchmark data on CPT and CPA, measured Worldwide.
SplitMetrics’ Apple Search Ads Benchmark Dashboard
Take a data-driven approach to scaling your Apple Search Ads
Get my benchmarks

User Reviews for Bookshelf

4.63 out of 5
58.4K Ratings
4 years ago, Starsigma
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.
Show more
4 years ago, simfruit
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.
Show more
1 year ago, Kan123stupid
Back to school
It has been a really long time since I needed to study for anything. Accessing E technology for my textbook is great! I am using on my IPad with ease. Access anywhere and no heavy book to carry around or figure where you last left it. The only problem I’m having is controlling the highlighter function. The page moves really easy while I try to highlight and wants to move the entire screen/page. I don’t have a consistent technique yet to make that stop happening and is a tad frustrating. I have 800 pages to go so I suspect I’ll get better. An accidental swipe left or right takes you to the next chapter and once you go back it drops you back at the top of chapter and you have to try to remember where you were and scrolllllll to get back easier if you can recall a page number to enter and jump to that page (Any tips? For those 2 issues ) Creating flash cards is fantastic !! Quick access to study anytime. I’ll need to reference this book for life so I hope future access won’t be an issue. Crossing fingers as I sit for testing in May 😬
Show more
5 years ago, ~chrisw~
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?
Show more
2 years ago, Buddhagem
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.
Show more
5 years ago, _thelionheart
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.
Show more
4 years ago, kallen0611
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.
Show more
4 years ago, VLK0212
UPDATE: The developers reached out to me. They made the swipe feature to go between chapters a little more sticky so normal scrolling through the current chapter doesn’t bounce between chapters. It made a HUGE difference. I read 2 chapter (around 60 pages) and it didn’t happen one time. Kudos to their team for being so responsive. Thank you! 🥳🥳🥳 I love having this access to my textbooks, but the app is infuriating. There aren’t pages to turn like in a Kindle. The chapter eternally scrolls on. If you swipe left or right, it takes you between chapters. Slow scrolling while you’re reading has to be perfectly straight or BOOM you’re in the next chapter. I lose SO MUCH TIME finding where I was because the screen doesn’t lock onto what you’re reading. After a while, I inevitably swipe not perfectly straight and IT HAPPENS AGAIN! Put arrows to go between chapters and lock the scrolling feature.
Show more
9 months ago, fbsiakvbdbaowpcnfk
Poor without internet
I love the concept of this app, the flash cards and highlighter work great… However, the fact that you can’t access any of the flowcharts or self checks that are offered in some of my college books without going to the online version is frustrating. And the online site that I have to use for the books I have tries to force my iPad into opening the app. Literally every time I turn a page on the online version it tries to redirect me to the app and it’s extremely frustrating and overall a poor collaboration between the two platforms. This is something that should be addressed. We should be able to completely download the book onto a e-reader device and then still be able to use it, not only have access to certain parts of it without internet… makes me want to go back to 20 lbs of textbooks, at least I can answer the questions in those books and then check the back to make sure I got the answers right…
Show more
5 years ago, Stellie10
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).
Show more
5 years ago, e-BookReader
Just keeps on getting better!
Today’s update, 20 December 2018, was a giant step forward in that the user is now able to search across all books on the bookshelf. A global search is executed from the new home page layout and presents the user with a list of books (scrolled across the top of the page) where the search term was found. Clicking on a specific title will display all the hits found in that title. Clicking on a link from a selected title will take the user to the text within the book where the search term is located. When the Home icon is clicked, the user is returned to the global search to explore the other hits that match the search term. Another new feature is the carousel-like display (reminiscent of the first Kindle Fire display) of the most recently read titles. Congratulations to the development team for these latest enhancements. They added real value to the app and greatly enhance the user’s access to content. It would be great if, eventually, the Apple Pencil or other styluses could be used to write or draw on the pages of ebooks—which would be most useful for academic purposes.
Show more
1 month ago, Vincent .C.
New Update…
This app was incredibly useful—minus the randomly resetting my progress on a page when I tapped the left end of the screen—until the most recent big update. Why do I now have to scroll all the way down to get to the next chapter? Am I meant to just guess which page that chapter begins on? Extremely frustrating and disappointing, this app was nearly perfect until this unnecessary change. Please return it to how it was, it seriously makes no sense to me that I have to scroll to the bottom of a chapter (and lose where I was in that chapter) to get to the next one. Often the previous/next chapter has a list or definitions which I need to constantly switch between chapters to compare with, now I spend ten times as long doing the exact thing. The new changes have made the app inefficient, less helpful, frustrating, and confusing—because I seriously have no clue why it was released in the first place. Thank you for the otherwise/previously amazing app.
Show more
3 years ago, shanoscope
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.
Show more
10 months ago, tone2276
horrible experience do not recommend
being a college student with an ipad pro has made sereral aspects of learning more intuitive and enjoyable except when im forced to use this app because Murach only releases their e books through bookshelf. Rather than give you a pdf version of the book that can be imported into the native book app on the ipad i have to use this app which is severly lacking in features for it to be the only method for viewing the books that were purchased through murach. i find myslef trying to annotate but the terrible mark up feature is full of bugs and limiting to say the least. i understand that u guys dont want pirated books but making the experience all around horrible just to maintain control over a product with accounts and access limitis is ridiculios to be.. i paid over 100$ for books that i have a terrible experience interactinfg with through this app. After this semester i promise i will just buy the physical book to avoid having to use this app again.
Show more
5 years ago, net00_
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.
Show more
2 years ago, HateCreatingUsernames
No zoom feature
The app is ok at best but it doesn’t allow the usual iPad zoom feature in order to zoom into text or images. It has its own version of turning up font size, with an unfortunate effect of removing images from the page. I find the default text too small, so resort to skipping all images within the text, which can be confusing at times. The second inconvenient feature relates to highlighting. The app allows you to clunking highlight text, but don’t think about highlighting a hyperlinked word, because you will find yourself suddenly in the index! Also, there is no way to jot notes in the margins, a handy feature in many reading apps. I interact with texts in this way as I read and process, and this missing feature is significant to me as a learner. For these two reasons, I will not buy or rent another book that is only available in this format. The experience has been full of frustration.
Show more
2 months ago, Astrokimmy
Where are my books?
This app was great. It was also really convenient to be able to log in on the website from work to consult a couple books I have in my bookshelf. Well HAD in my bookshelf. They are now gone. 😩What happened to 2 of my books? Where are they? I noticed I couldn’t even find them to buy again or rent on VitalSource. Anyway, I bought them to have “forever” because they are very useful in my field of study. But they are no longer in my online bookshelf on the website. This is disappointing because I like to access these books from work without carrying around heavy textbooks. As a Gen X female, I already carry around a whole lotta baggage. I don’t want to carry huge books, too. I opened the app on my laptop and iPad (yeah, I know, 1st world problems) and do have the books opened up…but I’m afraid to close them out because I don’t want to lose them forever. If a book is no longer supported on VitalSource, and I paid a lot of money to OWN them (not rent), I should have been able to download them via PDF or some similar type of file. Or be paid back at least ½ of what I paid for them. Either way, I bought them and so I should be able to possess them…f-o-r-e-v-e-r. I hope it’s just that they are just gone on the website but stay on the app (pleeeease???).
Show more
3 years ago, Dandrewe
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 screen Ideally, 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
Show more
5 years ago, takethisworldgivemejesus
I use this app for one of my school textbooks and was very disappointed today when I went to open my book and I keep getting an error saying I need to update the app, but I already have the most up to date version for iOS. Please fix as my ability to complete assigned reading material and study for tests and quizzes is somewhat dependent on this app working correctly! It’s bad enough I had to open a ticket just to get my books to be available on the app. *edit* I tried pressing “update library” and that resolved the issue. I had been reading my book on a different device and apparently it does not automatically sync to the current spot. Some clarification on the verbiage for a future release or the ability to automatically sync between devices would be helpful, but otherwise I’m just glad it’s working 😊
Show more
4 years ago, evadaa
Perfect app with just one suggestion
The app overall is extremely useful especially when you do not want to have to carry any hard copy - heavy books. But since you choose to have all of your books in e version it is also nice to be able to use all “e-capacities”. In my case, I also use my apple pencil while using the app on my ipad, I love making notes using it. But unfortunately the app has no function to write in a book as you would in real hard copy. Especially difficult when the book has fill in questions for you to brainstorm and answer, I find it to be crucial for studying. This is very uncomfortable cause it just makes me take a screenshot, put it in the note app and write over a picture there. Would be great if you could pull something off to make this happen.
Show more
3 years ago, Jared0789
Extreme choppy slow scroll ruins the experience
Don’t bother skimming or flipping quickly through the content to find your highlights or anything useful… scrolling is slow and choppy, which is utterly amazing considering its a textbook viewing app. Seriously, every app I’ve ever used has scrolled more smoothly than this one and virtually none of those have been intended for doing reading. Aside from rendering the actual text on-screen, I can’t think of anything more important—and this app fails at it. Additionally, the Appendix A where answers to in-text questions are supposed to be is missing chapters 10-50. How does that even happen? With an utter lack of quality checking, care for the user experience, or incentive to actually produce a quality product I suspect. When universities are literally funelling every student to your doorstep and alternatives are scarce to nonexistent, it doesn’t leave much incentive to build something worthwhile, does it?
Show more
6 months ago, Kendralski
It’s great but it could be so much better!!
I love the value of this app. It is great to have your books available digitally and be able to have them read to you. Studying has never been easier. HOWEVER! There is nothing more aggregating than to have the citations read to you when using the read out load feature especially if there are more than 1 cite for the information. It is so easy to loose the train of thought or concept of the text to have to mull through the citations. There should be programming to skip over these linked sources. If there is a way to remove the reading of the citations in the settings I have yet to figure it out and I’ve been using it for years. Please to better and make this possible. I for one do go back to the digital text and will read some of the sources (sometimes) but for read a loud, it is not helpful whatsoever!
Show more
6 years ago, Bj555
The use of highlighting and note taking is very primitive, as if they don’t want you to be able to do it; like the idea was an afterthought and was thrown in at the last minute. It’s not intuitive, is buggy, and after about 2 hours of trying to highlight and add notes, you are exhausted. I have an apple pen, and this app makes no use of that technology, but really, your finger isn’t much better either. I feel like they used basic technology from 15 years ago and your using a mouse instead of a precise touch screen (iPad Pro). I’m forced to use it because that is the only place I can get my textbook. I’m on page 200, and I’m ready to give up and pack around the 3” thick book with me. Developers: if you want to know how it should be to take notes, highlight, and mark up, take a look at GoodNotes4. They have it figured out. Hopefully you can figure this out, otherwise, I’ll got back to carrying giant textbooks around again. At least I can resell them...
Show more
3 years ago, paralleljackstand
Easy to use, a simple and bare reading app
I use this app for some of my school textbooks. It’s very easy to use. Any questions and you can reach out for help from their customer service which I’ve had to do for one of my books. My one nit picky criticism is I wish they’d offer more viewing options especially regarding print size. You can only pick from four very varying sizes. Whereas say with the Kindle app, you can sort of pick the exact print size for your needs and likings. But this app happens to have a size that works pretty well for me so it’s not a big complaint.
Show more
6 years ago, JJMCST
Not a good app, but it has potential with changes
This is not a functional app, especially for educational purposes. First of all, many of the services provided by the desktop app are not available through the mobile version. It is somewhat understandable for some of the more complex features offered in other apps, such as Microsoft Office, but in a reading app I feel that there is no excuse. For one thing, in the desktop version it will use a primitive text-to-speech (TTS) program to enable you to listen while working on something else. This would be much better applied to a mobile version, or does that make too much sense? There are other issues that prevent the mobile version from being a success, but all of them, including the TTS should be an easy fix with an update. Overall, a very frustrating app that could be great with just a little tweaking.
Show more
5 years ago, Stopthetriviacrackads
This app is crap.
I use this bookshelf website because my online school uses it and that’s the only way I can view the books they make me use. It’s horrendous using the website to read, ESPECIALLY on an iPad. So, I download this app onto my iPad recently and the upside is that all my books are in one place and I can search a word and will pull up the pages with the keywords. Unfortunately, the organization within the search is horrendous. Today the app alerted me that I need to update it in order to open my textbook. Now if the sole premise of this app is to READ OFFLINE, why would they be blocking people from opening a book because their app needs updating? Very likely that person could be offline and could not update the app, rendering their book useless. I update it, come back and TRY opening it again, still saying I can’t open my textbook because it needs updating. Fix this app!!! Y’all have students using it!
Show more
5 years ago, Christipher DiCesare
A college students best-friend
As a college student I would find myself going to the campus book store and shelling out $150-$300 for a single textbook. Then one day I noticed that one of the books I was going to buy was digital through this app. I was using an iPad Pro with Apple Pencil to take notes so I figured maybe I should give it a shot. The physical book was $170 the the digital being $60. I have been in love with it ever since. Some teachers, usually the older ones, are not always happy that an electronic device is being used to replace a notebook pen and textbook, but I remind them that it is not a privilege that I am here, I pay a hell of a lot of money to be in the classroom and I will study and learn the best way for me. It is worth it, and will save you lots of money!!
Show more
3 years ago, PathResident
I use this app exclusively as a reference tool for large medical textbooks. The navigation is relatively intuitive, but there are a few issues that make the app challenging to use. For one, clicking on images typically creates a small “back”. On occasion, this button disappears and you have to navigate back to your location. Second, when opening the table of contents, it doesn’t show the submenu of where you are, it goes back to the top level contents. That is annoying when you are trying to quickly jump around a single chapter. Lastly, the app can be slow when loading pages of a book. It’s still faster than opening a textbook, but not by much. I still haven’t found a perfect solution, but I would still rather use this than carrying around 40 lbs of books.
Show more
2 years ago, Goodman-19
Mediocre at best
This is 2022, and almost everyone in any type of schooling program is using some type of device to read books. This app should be geared towards more of a PDF mark up format. It should, at the very least, have a highlighter, pen and eraser. Click the highlighter and then any word or area in the book can be highlighted by tracing over it, unclick the highlighter to stop highlighting. Highlight/draw/erase with a pen (like Apple pen) and pan the page with your finger. The current highlighting format is so time consuming. Same with the pen, you should be able to make hand written notes in the margins or on the book pages. Alot of my books have small writing prompts in the chapters and I can not do them in this app. The notecards are a joke and I just use quizlet anyway. Looking into other apps for my college text books.
Show more
3 years ago, tommy okay
Copyright Info on Bottom of Each Page
So I already purchased a physical copy, used, off of eBay (the way you should always do, viaLibri is even better). I paid the $35 for this electronic version solely for the ability to listen to the book. I can do that, it’s fine, the voices are getting better with “enhanced” option. So here’s my issue, and perhaps I am missing something, which if that’s the case I’ll never know: there is copyright info on the bottom of each “page” and THAT gets read as well, every single time. I can skip it when it gets there but it doesn’t allow me the opportunity to be free and just meditatively listen. It creates a lot of CHOP and should be remedied. Am I typing to a anybody, perhaps a 20 year old intern? “Help! I need somebody.” The Beatles.
Show more
2 years ago, Disgruntled Book Reader
What a crap app
This app is not easy to use, it will not let you print from the app, making you use the desktop version, and even then it just prints the url to file you want to print, not actually the information you want to print. Accessing the desktop version is cumbersome, and I am so tired of having to verify my cookies settings every time I turn around on the site. The version of the app or desktop version I open on my phone is different than the one I can open on my tablet or desktop, and does not have all of the features, such as print. In short, I would never recommend this app or website to anyone, and I feel bad for anyone who is forced to use it because their institute of higher learning offers their textbooks through it. A high school student with no funding could build a better app and website.
Show more
2 years ago, djoneslucid
The worst book app ever
I’ve used several ebook apps over the years and this is by far the worst. The annotation function is still in beta and it shows. Then this morning I woke up to an app update that removed my book and annotations. I then spent hours attempting to contact phone support but they could not hear on their end although other callers could hear me. They didn’t even try very long, just hung up after a few seconds. So bizarre. Finally I reached out to live chat to explain the problem and was told it was told the license expired and I had to click the link again from the Canvas portal. But I just started using the app and the book less than a week ago, so how could there be a licensing issue. The chat person was rude and not very understanding at all. I don’t know anything about this company but here’s some free advice for them: 1. Partner with an ebook vendor that actually knows what they’re doing and dump your developers. 2. Get a better phone system and train you agents to try a little harder before just hanging up. 3. Hire some live chat agents who have just a bit more empathy. Do yourself a favor and either use the physical book or a different ebook app because this one is truly terrible.
Show more
5 years ago, redmarker
Great when it works, awful when it doesn’t
Most books that I’ve used have been great. The app displays them like a pdf, and is quick and responsive. When I can use this instead of carrying a pile of two-inch thick textbooks around, I am happy. However, books in epub format look awful, like 90’s era HTML. There’s no way to control what shows up in your library in the app: you can only add books through the website, and if you’re done with a book, you can remove the download from the app but it will still show the cover in the library. A few days ago I added a book to my library through the website, and while it shows up in my browser, it won’t appear in the app. Signing out and in doesn’t help, nor does clicking “Update Library”. So, I’m back to lugging around print books for now.
Show more
2 years ago, Scott-Cook
Not formatted for easy reading.
It’s great having access to the materials you use for a Vital Smarts class after the fact, much more handy than the paper book would be. However, at least for the book I’ve used it for (so far just Getting Things Done), the text isn’t laid out for easy reading. There is far too much per page and the lines are far too long. It’s like they took the letter sized word doc of the book manuscript and imported it rather than formatting it like a real book. This really slows down the use of the content and makes it far too easy to get lost. It’s a little better on the iPhone than the iPad, but there is still far too much content per “page.” The other functionality of the app is good, but doesn’t make up for it.
Show more
2 years ago, buddhakouri123
Great website
This is a great bookshelf website. I like how the textbook has an audio feature where it will read to me. That is very helpful for me because I am visually impaired. However, when you get to the homework assignments, it doesn’t even let you write or even circle off an answer in a multiple-choice question in the book. Also, it would be nice if when you’re done, it can be quickly or at least automatically submitted to the professor. that’s the one thing that I don’t like. to do the homework assignments, I have to print them in paper form and then submit to the professor as a PDF when it’s done. It’s not very convenient.
Show more
5 years ago, nu1142
High praises and a suggestion
To start I thoroughly enjoy this app for reading my textbooks for college. The menus are simple and effective, staying out of the way so I can get my reading done without hassle. I enjoy the bookmark system, though I am still figuring some features out—such as how to remove an old bookmark. If I was going to ask for one thing, it would be that some variation of a night-mode be added in the future. I don’t feel I’m alone in preferring a darker background with light text to read, especially in dark areas. Other than that, I see no problems. To date, I haven’t had a bug or a crash. Great app!
Show more
4 years ago, Dannyogas
Why does this app have a high rating?
I’m being forced to pay thousands of dollars for digital textbooks that can only be viewed in this app and on the Vital Source website. Both are absolutely dreadful interfaces. They lack even basic Apple Pencil support, which makes annotating cumbersome and not even worth the time. I’m in med school, I simply don’t have time to waste half of my study time to try and use their laggy highlighting tool. I want to be able to write on the pages of the book like literally every other basic reading app allows. As if that’s not bad enough, I can’t even zoom in on my textbook. How on earth do you expect me to be able to see extremely complex, tiny, and detailed biochem and anatomy images? Do I also need to purchase a magnifying glass? I can’t believe my school is forcing us to read our books on this ridiculously outdated platform.
Show more
5 years ago, LPettis
Read On the Go!
I am not sure where all the other complaints are coming from but I have really enjoyed this app. This app is very convenient for people like me who are working and going to school at the same time. Having my books accessible to me is very helpful for a busy life. I am able to read and study anytime and anywhere. Of course I have had issues with the app, however, all of my issues were resolved by contacting app support. Thanks to Dana B. from VitalSource chat support, I was able to get access to my books and continue on with my day.
Show more
6 years ago, Medic68
Crashes too much
I’m in nursing school for my BSN and I have to do a lot of reading. Majority of my books are on Elsevier or PrepU which they use bookshelf for the ebook. I listen to the audio since majority is difficult for me. The lady is monotone and can easily put you to sleep. On my Mac it’s a guy voice which is also monotone. The problem with the iPhone app are the fact that listening to the audio, when I highlight, it freezes and takes a long time to refresh. Highlights on the app is one color which makes it difficult to separate topics. Other times the app doesn’t even load my book and crashes. The main issue is the crashing because it interferes greatly with my reading or listening.
Show more
5 years ago, DYJ0579
Won't let me flip pages: UPDATE
I'm really frustrated with how it's not letting me flip pages. What's the point of this app if I can't even use it to read? Not to mention prior to not being able to flip pages, when you could flip pages, it would take around 5 seconds to load, where my kindle app was instantaneous with no lag between pages. Updated review: looks like they did an update to fix the issues regarding not being able to flip pages and highlighting. There is still a bit of lag between flipping pages, but at least I can flip the pages. I appreciate the developer responding to my review and making sure the issue was resolved.
Show more
4 years ago, MichieSB
Good but needs improvement
I love the fact of being able to use this app on my iPad and phone which allows for easy access to the book no matter where I am. It does need some improvements with the highlighting option. It doesn’t allow you to select all and delete all of the highlights. So each one has to be deleted one at a time.. I highlight a lot and like to delete them after reading the chapter so this is a little frustrating. I also have a lot of issues with not being able to highlight at times and not be able to access the bottom tool bar to select a chapter, the bookmark tab, etc. If those improvements were made then it would be great!
Show more
6 years ago, E.j.Teegarden
Meaning: doesn’t function STILL!!! After refusing to access MY TEXTBOOK, that I paid additional money for - JUST for the digital version, because of ALLLLL the various issues with this app (both online and downloadable), I came back AFTER A YEAR-new classes-new semesters-JUST TO EXPERIENCE THE EXACT SAME ISSUES. *** “VITALSOURCE” - ARE YOU GUYS KIDDING ME!?!*** -STILL Sluggish. -STILL won’t highlight properly. -STILL exports micro small degraded export... I normally just bite my tongue if I DON’T HAVE ANYTHING GOOD TO SAY, but AFTER A WHOLE YEAR- REALLY!?! We (Students) pay hundreds of dollars for these digital versions-(because we have no other choice) - and then find out that THEY STILL DON’T (AFTER A YEAR) FUNCTION!!! I couldn’t believe it, I tried giving you the benefit of doubt. So, after working all night at the hospital I waited until I got home to see maybe if it was the hospitals internet-as if. But NO, ITS JUST THE SAME EXACT ISSUES THAT WERE THERE A YEAR AGO. I feel ripped off, but I see that I’m not the only one now as many others here have expressed THE EXACT SAME ISSUES. That, and having more than adequate time to address these issues, is why I feel compelled to not bite my tongue and let others know... -I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS APPLICATION.
Show more
2 months ago, MrPeterBro
Does what it needs to do but not all that it could.
The app does what it needs to fairly well. I enjoy the integration with my school account so that I don’t need to go looking for textbooks. The UI is occasionally clunky to use but it’s overall good. The biggest change that I want to see is the ability to search on the page you’re currently on, all searches show results from the entire book when I usually want to just search the chapter or section where I’m at and I have to scroll through all of the results. I’d give a longer review but my hw is due in an hour, so good luck.
Show more
1 year ago, PathfireNeon
annoying pop-up messages
every time i open the app, i am notified of a textbook that expired, even though that was weeks ago. i get it. it’s gone. how do i make this notification stop?!! it happens every time and it’s really getting on my nerves. otherwise i love the functionality. i love that i can convert almost any textbook into and audiobook so i can digest it better. definitely worth it for the value it gives. but please, give me the option to disable expired textbook notifications?! PLEASE??? it’s so, so irritating and the notification box just keeps happening each time i reopen the app.
Show more
4 years ago, J.J. Winters
Buggy app
App has a lot of potential but also a lot of issues. Zero Pencil capability, which is pretty silly considering it’s an iPad reading app. Can’t even use the Pencil to highlight so I have to use my finger, which obviously covers the words. The app also freezes almost every time I try to highlight, and won’t work again until I force quit and reopen it. The “continuous scroll” layout doesn’t make much sense, particularly without any indication of page breaks other than the page number thrown into the middle of the text. And I’m not sure but I think the page number applies to the content below, not above, which is the opposite of what you would expect of the physical book.
Show more
5 years ago, BunnyMartini
Fail to highlight
I used the app on iPad Pro iOS 13. I have two textbooks, and the malfunction of highlighting showed up for both of them. I am not able to highlight all the words I selected when there is a font change within the text, and the highlight will only show between words. This happens most often when there is italic font mixed up with the regular. I’m half way through both of my books and this happens to me in every chapter. This is very annoying especially I rely on this function a lot. In one of my textbook, the search function did not work well either. I had to go to the website version to do the search, and it worked there.
Show more
3 years ago, Nylammomma
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it
I got this app to read some of my textbooks on my iPad. I prefer to use the Kindle but some of my books aren’t available. Iced used this for 2 other classes and while not as functional as Kindle, it was fine. The new update caused the page to zoom in and out with the slightest touch. The highlighting is off too. Sometimes it highlights text in a different column. This is so annoying that I considering purchasing the book again to use on a different platform but I read the reviews and that platform has worse reviews than Bookshelf. Please fix this app ASAP before I chuck my iPad against the wall! Or worse, buy an actual book!
Show more
1 year ago, CONF3TTIHUNT3R
Please fix adding figures to flash cards.
Very good app that has helped me in my studies first in college and now in pursuing my home inspector license. Vitalsource is especially useful when used in conjunction with their desktop application. My only complaints currently are that within the last month, I have no longer been able to long press on figures to add them to flash cards as I used to be able to. Additionally, I can add figures to flash cards via the desktop app but they will not sync with the mobile app. This is very frustrating and I hope it gets addressed soon.
Show more
6 years ago, Dr. FL
Great app!Some important functions needed
Overall, I love this app! It’s very convenient, you can read book everywhere EVEN without internet. It will be even better for both educators and students if 1) it allows users to create customized folders to better organize the books 2) make it more compatible with notes taking and highlighting. For example, it will be fantastic if users can mark and make notes on the book using Apple Pencil or other tools. I am a colleague educator and will use it more if these functions are available! Thank you very much for developing this wonderful educational app! :)
Show more
6 years ago, Laz1518
Very Basic
This app is super basic. The highlighting feature is frustrating! Anytime i want to highlight a text next to a picture or on a narrow part of the page the it selects a bunch of other text i don’t want to highlight. The biggest frustration for me is not being able to write on the page. You can write notes but it’s not the same as being able to write anywhere on the page with my Apple Pencil and being able to see it at a glance. Other apps such as onedrive that was not design as a reading app has more functionality than bookshelf. Unfortunately i could not get this particular book as a PDF otherwise i would have used Onedrive instead. This app still has a long way to go.
Show more
Show more

Popular Apps in Education

Try out our free Starter Plan of SplitMetrics Acquire and optimize your Apple Search Ads campaigns
Enjoy 2x ROAS and 4x conversion growth. Get started now. No credit card required.
Create free account