eTextbooks with Plymouth University

Information for students

Over 90% of Plymouth University first year undergraduates receive their core reading in eTextbook format at no extra charge.

At Plymouth University, we recognise books are an expensive part of student life and we want to alleviate those costs in the first year by providing up to £320 worth of eTextbooks to most of our first year students.

Plymouth University eTextbooks are personal copies which once downloaded stay with a student for life. The titles are carefully chosen by lecturers, accessed through your DLE module sites, are embedded into the student learning experience and intended to benefit you throughout your degree.


Why eTextbooks? Why don’t we give students paper copies?

Once downloaded you can access your book on up to four devices. This makes your reading completely portable, accessible online and offline in any location. No more heavy bags of textbooks!

Our eTextbooks come with added functionality to motivate and enhance the student reading experience and address accessibility issues.

  • Text to speech
  • Annotation and note sharing that can be shared instantly with study groups
  • See notes and highlights created by your lecturer
  • Change font size and text colour or add an overlay for an enhanced reading experience
  • Search across your whole bookshelf for a key word.

Student support

We realise that eTextbooks are a new technology and offer support to students who are discovering eTextbooks for the first time.

Further information can be found here:

http://plymouth.libguides.com/etextbooks

Our students said...

"One of the positives is the fact that it costs me nothing. Nothing to carry around. The books are instantly wherever I am."

BSc (Hons) Marketing student 


"They are easy to access anywhere, convenient as they are electronic and you don’t have to carry them around with you."

BSc (Hons) Conservation Biology student



"The eTextbook project is extremely beneficial. Not only has it allowed me access to books that I would be otherwise unable to afford, but because I can view them on any device (I have the app on my laptop and on my phone) it means that if I find myself with some unexpected free time, I can get some reading done no matter where I am." 

"I don’t need to carry around large and heavy books, and there is no lengthy waiting time for the books to load – after they’ve been downloaded, they load almost instantly. They are easy to navigate and use, and the highlighting features are incredibly useful."
BSc (Hons) Psychology student

Key facts 

  • Plymouth University provides over 90 per cent of first-year undergraduates with their core reading in eTextbooks format. 
  • Students on average receive four titles up to the RRP value of £320, once downloaded these personal eTextbook copies belong to the student forever.
  • Plymouth runs one of the largest personal eTextbook schemes in the UK supported by the VitalSource platform.
  • The initial driver for the service, started in 2011 by Dr Phil Gee in the School of Psychology, was to alleviate the hidden costs of HE education for the new student. 
  • In 2016 we provided over 4000 first year undergraduates with over 22,000 copies of their essential reading.

Our staff said...

“For students who are off campus having resources that they can access from home is very useful. The good thing about eBook is it is available to everyone either in campus or off campus.”

Marine Science and Environment lecturer


“We like the eBooks because our students are out in practice for so much a period of time, so that are not on campus all the time. So for them to have access to the books is essential.”

School of Nursing and Midwifery