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eBook FAQ

eBook return policy

What devices can I read my Book on?

You can read your eBook on any modern computer, tablet or smartphone**. The VitalSource Bookshelf software is compatible with both Macs and PCs as well as iOS, Android, Chrome OS, and Kindle Fire devices.

**Some older Amazon/Kindle Fire devices are not compatible. See if your device is compatible.

What is the difference between ePub and PDF formats?

Alibris sells two different types of eBooks: Reflowable Text (ePub) and Page-Fidelity (PDF).

Reflowable eBook (EPUB)
Reflowable eBooks do not maintain the layout of a traditional bound book. The text is responsive, so the font size can be easily adjusted no matter the size of the screen. These books conform to EPUB 3 industry standards.

Page-Fidelity eBook (PDF)
The Page-Fidelity eBook maintains the look and feel of a bound book - the text is fixed and the screen size determines the size of the text. Though the underlying data is the common PDF format, Page-Fidelity files are encrypted and protected by digital rights management ("DRM") and therefore are not portable or readable using standard PDF reader software.

Both types of eBooks support a wide range of features, including but not limited to: notes, highlights, text to speech, printing, syncing across devices, and more.

More details are available here.

How can I access my eBook?

There are two primary ways to access your eBook: online using a web browser on the VitalSource Bookshelf site, and offline using the VitalSource Bookshelf app from your device. After you purchase an eBook, you will be directed to the VitalSource Bookshelf site to complete setup of your free VitalSource account. When complete, your eBook will be available for immediate reading online using a web browser. You can also download the Bookshelf reader app for your device and download your eBooks for offline reading.

Can I print my eBook?

It depends on the eBook. Printability of eBooks is set by the publisher on a book by book basis. You may be able to print all or part of your eBook. We hope to provide printability information about each book on our site soon. Until then, please contact us if you need to know more.

Do I have to be connected to the internet to read my eBook?

No. Once you have installed the VitalSource Bookshelf app on your device and downloaded your eBooks, you can read them whenever you like!

Can I access my eBook on more than one device?

Yes. You can use up to 2 computers in addition to 2 mobile devices via Bookshelf at one time. You can revoke access on previous devices if you need to use a new device.

Do I have to pay sales tax on an eBook?

In the U.S., sales tax on digital goods is based on your location. Some states collect sales tax while others do not. We determine your location based on your billing address. You can learn more here.

How long is my eBook rental?

You choose the rental period as part of the purchase process. Different items may have different rental periods to choose from, as determined by the publisher. Similar to renting a movie or checking out a book from the library, the rental period begins within a few minutes of purchase, not at the time you access or start reading it. The item is automatically removed from your bookshelf at the end of the last day of the rental period.

Can I extend my eBook rental?

No, rental periods cannot be extended.


What is the return policy for eBooks and Courseware?

You may return an eBook within 14 days of purchase, provided:

  • you have not viewed or printed more than 20% of the book
  • you have not used any access codes for any included resources
  • you have not previously returned the same eBook (you cannot purchase and return the same eBook twice)

Certain publishers have additional restrictions for returns:

Cengage Unlimited: returns are not allowed on Cengage Unlimited packages.

Penguin Random House: returns allowed within 7 days if you have not viewed or printed the eBook.

HarperCollins and HarperCollins Christian: returns allowed within 2 days of your initial purchase if you have not viewed or printed, in total, more than two percent (2%) of the eBook.

Hachette Digital: returns allowed within 3 days if you have not viewed or printed, in total, more than two percent (2%) of the eBook.

For complete information on returns, see the VitalSource return policy.

More questions? Go back to the main Help & Customer Service page or send e-mail to customer service.