Digital Textbook Access


Digital textbook access is a method of providing access to digital course content when instructors are using interactive courseware platforms or e-texts in place of the printed text. The program allows Laurier to reduce student course material costs in comparison to traditional print texts, and ensures that every student has easy access to the content on the first day of class. In short, we have enhanced our course materials model to combine affordability and ease of access and support academic achievement with 21st century educational tools.

The two main goals of Digital Textbook Access

  • Reduce the overall cost of course materials
  • Provide access to the digital resources on the first day of class to support academic achievement

The Process is Simple:

  • When an instructor decides to include the use of an e-text or interactive courseware platform in their curriculum, discount pricing is negotiated for the Digital Textbook Access program.
  • Students are notified prior to the start of classes, by email that their course is using the Digital Textbook Access model.
  • Access is provided automatically for every student enrolled in the course on the first day of class.
  • Students are able to access the digital resources for 2 weeks at no charge, during which time they can opt out if they choose.
  • Students who choose to use and continue to access their digital resources will have the digital textbook access charges billed to their student account (LORIS).
  • Students who drop the course prior to the opt out deadline are automatically opted out and are not billed.


 The price of printed textbooks has increased astronomically over the last 10 years, surpassing almost all other economic indexes. In the current economic climate even used and rental textbooks, that once offered more affordable options, are increasing in price and decreasing in availability as sales of new textbooks decline. An alarming percentage of students choose to forego acquiring their course materials altogether, putting their academic success at risk and this number continues to grow each year. It is a complex downward spiraling cycle.


  • The Digital Textbook Access model breaks that cycle by consolidating purchases to achieve lower prices.
  • Because of the lower overall logistical and production costs, the digital course content is less expensive than the ever escalating price of print textbooks. It can be provided without quantity restrictions and with zero shipping and storage costs
  • Over the last 4 years the Digital Textbook Access program at Laurier has saved students over $2.6 million while providing first day access to adaptive and interactive course content which as been shown to improve educational outcomes.


  • 40 – 55% lower than the equivalent pricing for printed textbooks.
  • Course materials are available on the first day of class with no waiting in line to purchase textbooks.
  • Work offline and online using the Bookshelf e-reader application


  • No restraint on academic freedom. Instructors choose the content.
  • Ability to manage content and even include their own in some platforms.
  • Students can begin online homework assignments on the first day of class.
  • Instructor analytics on student engagement and success.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Digital Textbook Access?
How did Digital Textbook Access get started?
What are Interactive or Adaptive Courseware Platforms?
How much does Digital Textbook Access cost?
How do I gain access?

You will find access to the digital resources in your course on MyLearningSpace. The access and instructions are in the Content section.

Be sure to download your Digital Textbook, which is the required resource for your course. Follow these easy steps:

  • On the first day of class go to your course in MyLearningSpace
  • Go to the Content Area
  • Select the Digital Text Access
  • Create your Bookshelf account and start using your required resources!
  • Download the Bookshelf app to access the resources and printing features when you are working offline
    How does the Bookshelf e-reader work?

    There are a number of advantages to using the Bookshelf e-reader:

  • Anytime, anywhere access
  • Listen to your e-text using text-to-speech capabilities
  • You have the ability to load your e-text on up to four of your personal devices
  • Perpetual access through your personal devices
  • The ability to print your e-text if you prefer hard copies (you have to claim/download your e-text in order to print
    How do I obtain technical support for the Bookshelf e-reader?
  • The Vitalsource support team is ready to assist you. Phone and email support are available 24/7
  • Email [email protected]
  • Call +1 (855) 200-4146
  • If your course is not using the Bookshelf e-reader, contact [email protected]

    What if I am a student from another institution (University of Waterloo) taking a Laurier course?
    How do I pay for accessing the digital resources?
    What does it mean to opt out?
  • The opt-out deadline for all Digital Textbook Access courses is the 10th day of instruction
  • When you opt out, access to all online content (e-text and courseware platforms such as Mindtap, Mastering and Connect) is disconnected and you are removed from the billing schedule
  • You must opt out if you choose to purchase your access through a different source
    I opted out by mistake and realized that I still need access. Can I opt back in?
    I dropped the course. Do I still need to opt out?
    Who should I contact if I am having trouble accessing the online content?
    I added the class late. Do I still have 10 days to opt out?
    I didn't get an email about my course but other students in my class did. Was I sent an email?
    I have further questions that were not addressed. Who do I contact?

    Textbook 101 Videos 

    Accessing Your Booklist and Purchasing Your Books



    Creating a Bookstore Account & Checking Out Your Cart



    Accessing Your Digital Textbook Access Resources



    How to Opt Out of Your Digital Textbook Access Resources


    Should you require further information, please contact:

    Mary Andraza at [email protected]
    Mike Zybala at [email protected]