FAQs on eTextbook

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An eTextbook is the electronic version of a physical textbook, which can be downloaded and accessed from different devices (desktop, laptop, tablet and smartphone) and across various operating systems (iOS, Android, Windows and Mac).

As a downloadable resource, it enables students to learn anytime, anywhere, even when there is no network connectivity.

It also eliminates the hassle of carrying bulky physical textbooks as multiple eTextbooks can be downloaded onto one device.

In addition, the eTextbook offers opportunities for collaborative learning as it has interactive features that allow students to create highlights, take notes and share them with peers online.

With the eTextbook, you can

  • highlight important concepts, take notes and share them with your peers online
  • mark out sections of text to seek clarification with your instructor
  • find the information you need by doing a keyword search within an eTextbook or across all the titles in your bookshelf
  • search for meaning of the words or look up Wikipedia
  • create bookmarks, reading assignments and virtual flashcards for quick revision
  • enable the ‘Read Aloud’ function to allow Bookshelf to read the eTextbook to you

  1. Log into your Canvas account using your student user ID (exclude @suss.edu.sg) and password.
  2. On your dashboard, select your course.
  3. Select iBookstore from the left navigation menu.
  4. Your course textbook is listed under "Course eTextbook". Click on "LAUNCH eTEXTBOOK".
  5. You will be directed to VitalSource Bookshelf Online or Alkem Library.
If you are accessing VitalSource Bookshelf for the first time, there will be a prompt to create a VitalSource account. Please use your SUSS email address for the account creation.

VitalSource Bookshelf
To download the eTextbook,
Step 1: Install the VitalSource Bookshelf app onto your device.
Step 2: Log into the app using your VitalSource account. The cover image of the eTextbook launched in iBookstore will appear on the Home View. Click on the cover image to download it onto your device.
If the cover image did not appear, click on Refresh or Update Library (depending on device).

Alkem Library
To download the eTextbook,
Step 1: Download and install Adobe Digital Editions.
Step 2: Authorize your computer with an Adobe ID in Adobe Digital Editions. This enables the reading of your eTextbook on any device authorised with your Adobe ID.
Step 3: Click on “Click here to launch eTextbook”, and open the .acsm file downloaded. This will save the title onto your device’s Adobe Digital Editions.

You can now read the eTextbook anytime, anywhere without internet connection.

You can use desktop, laptop, tablet, and iOS or Android smartphones to access the eTextbook.

You may use up to a maximum of 4 devices for the same account.

You may refer to your Content Checklist for information on whether the course you are enrolled in is using eTextbook.

No. If an eTextbook has been issued for the course, no additional physical textbook will be issued.

No, you cannot choose the format of textbook for the course. If your course is using the eTextbook, physical textbook will not be issued.

The eTextbook for the course(s) which you are enrolled can be kept for 8 years (from the date you first accessed the eTextbook) in your VitalSource Bookshelf account. Complimentary eTextbooks, which are reference ebooks, can be kept for 1 year.

The license arrangement for eTextbook is set by the publishers for 8 years, which is sufficient for the maximum candidature for part-time students. Perpetual access is generally not supported by publishers because of the quick turnaround time for electronic editions, and the inherent difficulty of perpetual support.

“Complimentary eTextbooks” are reference ebooks that are accessible via the “iBookstore” tab in Canvas. You can download any title from this collection onto your VitalSource Bookshelf and keep it for 1 year in your VitalSource account.

SUSS has always been committed to finding new ways to make learning more flexible and convenient for our students and instructors. The eTextbook is one such initiative.

In its electronic format, the eTextbook is more accessible and portable than a physical textbook. It also offers opportunities for collaborative learning as it has interactive features that allow students to create highlights, take notes and share them with peers online, or to seek clarification with instructors and help them to adapt their teaching to guide students’ learning.

In addition, e-Textbooks are environmentally friendly. Hence, more courses at SUSS are adopting the use of eTextbooks, whenever available.

Reading for prolonged periods without looking away is the primary cause of eye strain, whether that be on paper or on screen. To avoid eye strain, you should follow the 20/20/20 rule. When reading, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes. This should help relieve symptoms of eye strains as well as prevent them.

Simply click on the search icon and key in the phrase that you want to find. Inverted commas i.e. "......" can be used around your phrase to return a search for the exact phrase.