Buy Safe. Buy Smart.

Shopping for eTexts this fall?

Back to school is here which means time to stock up on books for your fall semester courses. Digital textbooks offer a number of benefits including cost savings, and convenience. However, the increasing demand for digital books has spurred an increase in fraudulent sellers looking to take advantage of buyers. This information will help guide students to make smart and safe purchasing decisions this fall.

Purchasing Pirated eBooks: Know the Risks

Illegal sellers of pirated content know you are looking for the best price. But what can that potentially cost you?

You may NOT receive the product you purchased

You may not receive the product you purchased at all, or you may receive a product of poor quality that contains incomplete or missing information, or may be the incorrect version of the eBook you intended to purchase.

Your financial and personal information may be compromised

By providing your personal and financial information to an illegal seller, you have put yourself at risk for fraud. Students who have purchased from piracy sites have been known to have to cancel their credit card.

Your may expose your computer to harmful viruses

Most piracy sites email you a link to download the purchased content through shady and non-secure sources, putting you at risk for viruses.

How to Spot an eBook Scam

Websites that sell pirated eBooks may look legitimate. Keeping an eye out for these red flags will help you avoid getting scammed.

A price too good to be true

Beware of sellers that offer products at a significantly lower price than other reputable sources. If the price seems to good to be true, it probably is. Illegal sellers often use low prices to lure buyers into providing their personal and financial information in an effort to scam buyers.

Missing reputable contact information

Most illegal sellers don't provide legitimate or complete contact information. The seller should provide a valid email, phone number and physical address. Often, illegal sellers use addresses linked to arbitrary locations or even personal phone numbers belonging to other persons.

A limited or confusing return policy

Beware of sellers that don't offer refunds or have inflexible policies with extensive restrictions. Some sellers won't address eBooks in their policy at all, other sellers hide restrictions deep within their Terms and Conditions.

Problematic Reviews

Illegal sellers will often have complaints lodged against them. You can easily research a seller by searching for reviews on Google and social media.

Unprofessional website design

Piracy sites are often poorly or hastily designed. Beware of spelling and grammatical errors, missing book covers or poor-quality photos, links that do not work and even bold claims such as "this is not a scam". Piracy sites often try to mimic legitimate sellers by using similar branding and domain names.

Limitations on eBook Payment and Receipt

Be wary of sellers that only accept a limited range of payment options, such as PayPal or Venmo. Keep an eye out for sellers that indicate that need turnaround time to send your eBook. Reputable sellers such as VitalSource enable instant access to your eBook at order completion.

Why VitalSource?

VitalSource is the leading provider of digital textbooks and course materials for higher education. VitalSource has partnerships with more than 1,000 publishers worldwide and offers over 1M titles for sale in the online store.

With 95% positive ratings for over 50,000 reviews, VitalSource is a trusted brand for students and instructors to purchase their digital course materials.
Reseller Ratings

More than 15 million users over the past year have used the VitalSource Bookshelf platform to improve their learning experience and outcomes.

With anytime, anywhere access and built-in tools like highlighters, flashcards, and study groups, it's easy to see why so many students are going digital with Bookshelf.