VitalSource Bookshelf

VitalSource Bookshelf 10.1

Accesses, views and manages electronic books

Read and manage digital books on a personal computer by downloading and storing them in the dedicated database assistant. It features sorting filters by category, volume, and date. Quick access to a book's content is possible with the built-in reader.

VitalSource Bookshelf is defined as an e-textbook platform. It’s an interactive, completely portable application that lets you acquire, download and read e-books with ease.
This powerful application offers three ways of accessing your books: download, online, and mobile. It comes packed with many useful features such as the possibility of using notes and highlights which automatically stay in sync no matter where you create them. Anyway, there’s still a lot of criticism about functionalities and features that its interface is missing, especially when it comes to the book reading window. For example, it lacks the possibility of properly zooming and rotating the e-books. When it comes to downsides, I was also a bit bothered by the fact that the acquiring of e-books can be done only using an external browser. In my humble opinion, the application should contain a browser itself, so that when the users press "Shop", they would be able to browse the store inside the app's interface and not in an external browser which can already have lots of opened tabs and slow down the system. Anyway, none of these is a truly remarkable disadvantage that couldn’t be eventually ignored. Unfortunately, there’s a downside that could prove to be too important to overlook: this application uses its own proprietary e-book format, the VBK (VitalBook), and doesn’t support any other formats. You can’t use it to buy, download and read ePubs, PDFs or other e-book formats.

Despite all the cons, its portability and synchronization capabilities make VitalSource Bookshelf quite appealing. Anyway, until it fixes its many problems, I can’t yet recommend it.

Margie Smeer
Editor rating:

Review summary


  • Nice synchronization possibilities
  • Allows creating, sharing and syncing notes
  • You can easily highlight topics


  • The app should contain a browser so that when the users press "Shop", they would be able to browse the store inside the app's interface and not in an external browser
  • Supports only VitalBooks - the VBK format
  • Lacks basic reading options such as zooming and rotating
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