Coronavirus (COVID-19) is impacting our country in an unprecedented way. We are proud to be members of the community and understand that we all are facing unique challenges at this time. As we all adjust to distance learning at the College of Staten Island, we at the CSI Bookstore wanted to let you know about our partnership with VitalSource and publishers around the nation to provide free access to eTextbooks through the remainder of the spring term. Below, we are providing an FAQ on VitalSource that should allow students and faculty to access thousands of eBooks through Monday, May 25, 2020.

How do students access VitalSource Helps content?
To get started, students should go to the VitalSource Website. Before students can begin searching for and reading eBooks, they will need to log-in or create a Bookshelf account with their institution-provided email address.

It is important to note, while students at your institution may use Bookshelf today as part of an Inclusive Access program, they may access content via an LMS integration that does not require an email address, or their account may be linked to their personal email address. To access VitalSource Helps content, students must use their institution-provided email address.

For students accessing Bookshelf for the first time:
Instructions on creating a Bookshelf account that you can share with students and instructors is online. Once students create an account with an institution-provided email address, they should login and click on the “Explore” tab in the upper left corner of the screen.

For students with existing Bookshelf accounts linked to their institution-provided email address:
Students with existing Bookshelf accounts linked to their institution-provided email address will see a new tab called “Explore” when they login. This tab provides access to the free available ebooks.

For students with existing Bookshelf accounts NOT linked to their institution-provided email address, an article explaining how a student can check the email account associated with their Bookshelf account, and how to change it to an institution-provided email account to access VitalSource Helps ebooks is available.

How long is the VitalSource Helps program available?

We and the publishers are offering free access to eBooks through Monday, May 25, 2020 to ensure that affected students are able to use required learning materials through final exams. Once the free access period ends, students will maintain access to their Bookshelf account. However, eBooks provided during the VitalSource Helps program will no longer appear.

How many titles may be accessed for free as part of the VitalSource Helps eBook program?
Users may add up to seven titles to their account for free. There is a “counter” in the lower left corner of the Bookshelf screen to help users keep track of the number of books accessed.

What type of content is available as part of the VitalSource Helps eBook program?
VitalSource, publishers, and resellers have worked together to make tens of thousands of eBooks available to allow students to find their required learning materials. Students may access up to seven titles.

Custom content, interactive content, and content used for assessment are not included. Commonly assigned materials from publishers, often referred to as “courseware” (like Pearson’s MyLab, Cengage MindTap, WileyPlus, etc.) are not included in this program.

As always, students will be able to purchase physical books with us at the Bookstore on our Website and get books shipped directly to their home. For the foreseeable future, shipping charges will be waived so that students can get the books as easily and as safely as possible.

We hope that everyone is able to stay safe and keep learning to the best of their abilities and that we may help in this time of transition.

For more information, please contact the Bookstore Manager, Nicole Kempster, at

By CSI Auxiliary Services