Poorly made 1/5
Book navigation is awful, pages are poorly laid out. If the device is vertical the text will be awkwardly zoomed in without an option to zoom out. The ebook looks worse then the physical book which just means it’s hard to distinguish between different sections, portions of it look like they were designed in html in 2003
Also you cannot search for your book through the app you have to go on a web browser to add it. Once book has been added to the account you cannot view it while on WiFi on a tablet you must download it.
Some UI issues 3/5
On iPhone SE, if you try to add a note in landscape mode, the “save” button is offscreen. This is a minor annoyance except when the app gets stuck in landscape and you now cannot exit the note editor.
When you switch to landscape, the
page progress bar area is blank. You have to rotate, tap to bring up that bar, then tap again to dismiss it to get full use of screen space.
Download book codes 3/5
The app is a decent app but what needs to happen is that the app needs to be optimized so I can put my book codes in on my iOS device instead of an android device.
Not very helpful for review questions books 3/5
It would be helpful if one could add books in the app itself.
Second, in review question books it would be immensely useful if we could toggle from questions to answers. Right now I use the app only to watch the videos.
Terrible reading experience. Always waiting for page to load. The only reason the business is around is stupid publisher using them. The web and app on tablet are horrible.
I can’t read the entire page 2/5
The book cuts off at the bottom, making it extremely difficult to read the full page. I can only have an ebook with this textbook since the physical copy is over 200 dollars. I got this app thinking it would make my life easier so I can actually have the text with me, but this is ridiculous. I can even read the full page.
Easier to study away from home 5/5
The ease of carrying textbooks in my wallet via iPhone or in my bag via iPad is incredible. Highlights can be one letter or a page and also transfer.
The highlighting option is difficult to use. If maybe we could just push a button to highlight and just select instead of having to select a word and then highlight.
This app is too difficult to use. The pages are impossible to navigate, it constantly crashes, the app always lags as it tries to navigate a PDF (it’s one job). Do not use this app. If you have an option try to get your books onto iBooks because not only is it predownloaded on your iPad, it doesn’t lag, the navigation works fine, and there are plenty of options for how you want to navigate your textbook.
I would rate zero stars if I could.
By Nerdy chick 34
This app is inconvenient to use because there is no option to write directly onto the page for those of us who use smart styluses. The reason this app seemed interesting is because the ebook version of the required textbook is much less expensive, but if we don’t have the option to write directly onto it, then what’s the point anymore? Might as well just buy the actual physical textbook
Good App - Room for Improvement 4/5
I like the app! Not having to carry around textbooks is always a plus for me. I do wish the app offered a nighttime reading setting or a way to change the coloring to make it a little easier on the eyes. Other than that, I enjoy it.
Great for online courses 5/5
Easy access to textbooks. Very user friendly.
Just use the website 1/5
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?
Love it !!! 5/5
Bookshelf is so much better than Cengage. I like how you just need to click on the book and it automatically transfers to the Bookshelf app , the only to do is just download the book through the app and it ready to use .
Required But So Bad 1/5
It’s sooooooo hard to use. I have to use it because of the institution put their ebook on there... I wondered if they did this on purpose so that will make people wanna buy their printouts...
Satisfaction in service! 5/5
I really enjoy the features of being able to read my books. I like having the continuous chapters. I like that audible feature that reads the pages for you. Also, if you go to one book to another you never lose your place. Very well designed.
Very buggy program 1/5
By Rock farmer
Spent over 200 for a textbook that forced me to use this app to read the book. The app spends all its time in buffer mode. Can’t read the textbook. My advice to other students give this app a pass-find other textbooks from other publishers. Don’t waste your loan money on this piece of kluge.
Easy to use. Great for renting college textbooks through Routledge.
By SS Teach49
My University has me use this for my online reading. Frankly it is unusable! you can only highlight in 2colors even though others are shown. You can’t underline. If you inact the voice feature it always jumps to the beginning of the Chapter and not where you at currently at. It won’t maintain your language selection and frankly the app often acts as if it is possessed, it’ll jump between chapters. i’ve tried to reset it but now it won’t load my book. Hopeless!
Ok but not as good as online version 2/5
Ok in a pinch but not as good as the web based version.
Needs development 3/5
Editing tools are very poor
Buggy, not intuitive 1/5
This app (and the website and desktop application) are extremely buggy and have been for years (source: I’ve been using it since 2014). Unfortunately most users don’t have another option (textbook companies direct eBooks to vital source) and as a result, it seems the company is unwilling to fix the issues.
To compound the issue, none of their tools are intuitive. You can easily spend an hour trying to figure out how to do something that should be simple. Will update if I encounter a tool/capability that doesn’t make me want to rip all of my hair out.
This App does everything I need it to. I can take all my textbooks with me wherever I go and I can read anytime I want. I really like that I can listen to the book as I read. I don’t have any complaints.
Great app 5/5
Love having my nursing school books with me at all times! Just wish there was a way when I listen to my book there would be a way to set a range of pages to be read, say pages 995-999 and it will stop reading when it gets to the end. Or it could another preselected page range, say pages 995-998,pages 556-557,etc...
Might not be able to happen but it would make a great app even better!
Misses the Mark 2/5
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.
Just keeps on getting better! 5/5
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.
Jut buy the textbook 1/5
This has been the worst e reading of my life. You are not able to swipe to the next page. Instead your entire textbook is one long pdf style file. Have you ever wanted to scroll through 400 whole pages? Nows your chance! If you accidentally scroll too fast, you will hopelessly lose your place! Who doesn’t love that?
The new home screen is so dumb. Why not just open to my books instead of making me click to go to my library. Also why do I have to constantly go through the table of contents! Don’t close the contents bar for me and bring it back to the units just because I click on something! Really hate this app.
As an instructor at a local college, I find this essential. 5/5
By Teaching Prof
My workflow is terrible when I use publisher’s default web apps. Yes, I do mean you WW Norton and Red Shelf!
Having the text in Vital Source’s ebook version is as close Robert actually reading it in book form.
Terrible app! Fix the search function! 1/5
This app is terrible. It’s almost impossible to read the textbooks, the way the pages are set up doesn’t make any sense (you have to swipe sometimes to switch the page which doesn’t even work sometimes; some pages have the page numbers, while others don’t), plus the search function DOES NOT WORK. This app needs an update that fixes the search function and makes it so you can see which chapter and section you are in when you are reading a page. There’s no way to know where you are in the text unless you pull up the index on the side and look at the page numbers.
Concerning Book shelf 5/5
I enjoy book shelf I only wish that on here I could have the tool to highlight. It is very important for my studies and so that in a month or 2 I would be able Togo back and find my notes. Another tool that I feel is necessary is search of a word that height lights this word throughout your chapter. Will you at anytime have this available for regular books not just academic reading. I will recommend Book Shelf to every one.
Okay but could be better 2/5
I really want to like it but there are still some major issues. The figures or pictures in the textbook can’t be zoomed in so you are stuck try to change the font size to get a slightly bigger figure. Then the highlighting feature works occasionally. It’s frustrating. I’ve used the inkling app and it was perfect. Look to inkling on how to do it.
I’m trying to access my book and it’s saying that I have to update the app to open my book. I come to the App Store and there’s no update available. What’s going on!?
Highlights are not showing up. 2/5
Great app but highlights from people I follow won’t show up on IOS but show up on my desktop app. Use to work but doesn’t anymore.
This app is garbage. No option to increase text font size? Call amazon and get a clue.
2010 app livin in a 2018 world 1/5
By UF student Michael
I am not sure when this app was actually created, but holy moly it feels old. The app is so basic, and the functionally is so laggy, it feels like your back in 2010. If you’re looking for a nostalgic way to read, and like spending an extra 30 seconds to highlight text, this app is for you!!
I love the search feature but when I try to search for a specific phrase from my textbook I try to select the one I want to jump to and it always just stays on the same page I was already on.
Terrible view !! 1/5
By College Vet!
I like vitalsource through the webpage. It’s convenient to be able to have your books anywhere. But it’s pointless if the view of the books is like a PDF, and you have to scroll. Please make it like the webpage version. Where the text covers the width of the screen, and it can be read continuously. Similar to how iPhone does reader. If that happens the app will be awesome!
Works well...sometimes 1/5
By Also forced
While it's handy to have textbooks on a single (small) device versus carrying around a book, it doesn't help if the book won't open! When I open the app, my books show up in the list but they won't open. And filtering them is useless because the app gets stuck on a different page & wont even go back to the book list. So this is a total, frustrating waste of time.
No Apple Pencil functionality 1/5
I am using this app by necessity to study for CFA exams. I would love to have the ability to highlight and annotate with my Apple Pencil instead of having to use primitive technology. Please invest in an apple-pencil friendly update that would allow handwriting in the textbook.
This act is actually terrible. 1/5
It’s very bugging, it freezes constantly, and jolts when I tried to make highlights.
no is not guwd 1/5
By Anonymous user 69420
ooga booga school bad. cheese good
Don’t use this app unless you’re forced to 1/5
First, it disables the auto shut down on iPads and iPhones and drains the battery. It is ONLY black and white - no night reading options to change to grey or black backgrounds with white lettering. WORST - I downloaded a book. It shows as having 23 pages! Why? Because each chapter is a page! Try keeping track of where you are reading when one page really equals 15 to 30 pages. If you vary even a little from vertical when scrolling down it flips you to the next chapter/page. When you go back - guess what- you’re at the beginning of the chapter and have to find where you were.
Crashes too much again 2/5
By Anthony ngyn
Major of my books are on here. It started to crash again.You developers need to fix this!!!!!!
Absolutely ridiculous to pay for an ebook and not get the pdf file to use as needed in other platforms.
Always Crash 1/5
Very poor design and continues to crash everytime it is opened for more than 5 minute or when switching apps.
Poor support and issues with purchases 1/5
By need engrish
Because I entered a different email when checking out, I can no longer access all my books. I was told by customer support that if I changed the email on my account it would correct the problem. It did not.
Also, the notes do not sync between platforms. So the notes I take on the mobile app are useless in class on my computer. If I had known how poor the functionality was, I would’ve spent the extra money on the physical textbooks. I do not recommend this app at all. There are much better, more consistent, ways to take notes and read electronic texts.
I can not understand the voice bookshelf uses and I can’t change the voice for real aloud function. Can you please fix this! It is not due to my phone voice control either, it’s set at Siri.