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CourseSmart FAQ

CourseSmart FAQ

How does the cost of an eTextbook compare with a print book? Can I sell them back at the end of the term?

On average, an eTextbook from CourseSmart will cost you 50% less than a new, print textbook. You can not sell back your eTextbook, but you are saving 50% up front which is often as good as (if not better) that what you get back in buy back... So, for a guaranteed, upfront 50% savings, an eTextbook from CourseSmart is a real value.

Why should I consider an eTextbook? Is it worth it?

In addition to a guaranteed, up-front 50% cost savings, with an eTextbook you are getting a tool that will allow you to study more efficiently. A CourseSmart eTextbook gives you extras a print book just can’t offer, like the ability to search your textbooks, copy and paste into your notes summaries, and access your textbook anytime, anywhere. And, without paper, an eTextbook doesn’t kill a tree! All this and it won’t bust your backpack carrying it to class!

    A Better Study Tool:

    Your CourseSmart eTextbook is a better, more efficient study tool than a print book.
  • Much faster searches
  • Easy note-taking
  • Note sharing
  • Highlighting
  • Bookmarking
  • Instant, convenient access
  • Print just the pages you need printed

  • More Portable:

  • No heavy book to carry
  • Print out the chapter you need, or carry your laptop to class
  • Compare the weight of five textbooks vs. one laptop!

  • More Convenient:

  • Instant access--no shipping or out of stock delays like other online vendors, great for late or mid-term purchases. Always in stock!
  • Available when and where you are.
  • No need to remember that heavy textbook

  • A Smarter Environmental Choice:

  • No trees: 256,171 trees have been saved by CourseSmart Users (based on estimates from
  • No paper processing
  • No transportation/energy costs

  • A Better Value:

  • Up-front 50% cost savings

Is the CourseSmart eTextbook just a .pdf?

No. CourseSmart eTextbooks do have the same page layout as the print textbook (including page numbers) but they are not PDF files. The CourseSmart formats (online or downloadable) are specifically designed to support learning better than a standard PDF format.

Does CourseSmart have eTextbooks from only one publisher or are all publishers involved?

Most publishers - specifically the leading publishers with the most popular textbooks - have their titles on CourseSmart. There are over 12,000 textbooks from Bedford, Freeman & Worth, Cengage Learning, John Wiley & Sons, Jones & Bartlett, McGraw-Hill Education, Pearson, Sage and Sinauer available right now and new titles and publishers are added daily. Titles are available for over 900 course areas across 110 disciplines.

In what formats does CourseSmart offer its eTextbooks?

CourseSmart offers two (2) different eTextbook formats to students: an Online Version and a Downloadable Version. Both provide the same content and most of the same functionality. The main difference is that the Online Version can be accessed from any computer connected to the internet and the Downloadable Version can be downloaded to one machine and accessed even when the user is offline.

Below is a brief summary of the similarities and differences between using each format.

Feature Online Version Downloadable Version
Must be connected to Internet Yes No
Computer limit Unlimited One
Software installation required No Yes
Search Yes Yes
Print (up to 10 pages at a time) Yes Yes
Copy/Paste Yes Yes
Notes Yes Yes
Highlights Yes Yes
Subscription needed to access book1 Yes Yes
Subscription refundable Yes2 No

1: CourseSmart eTextbooks have either 180, 360 or 540 day subscriptions. Subscriptions apply to both the Online and Downloadable formats.
2: Online subscriptions are refundable within 14 days provided no more than 20% of the book has been read or printed.

How do I download an eTextbook from CourseSmart?

CourseSmart sells two forms of eTextbooks: an Online Version and a Downloadable Version.

The Downloadable Version of the eTextbook provides you with access to the eTextbook on your computer, regardless of whether or not you are connected to the Internet. However, you can only download the eTextbook to one computer's hard drive and cannot transport it to other computers.

With a Downloadable eTextbook, your eTextbook is available locally on your computer for the length of your subscription whether or not you are online. Use on multiple machines is not permissible. Downloadable eTextbooks have the same content as print textbooks (including page numbers) and allow you to search full text, print pages, copy and paste, take notes, and highlight.

If you purchase a subscription to a Downloadable eTextbook, CourseSmart will lead you through the process of installing the CourseSmart Bookshelf application (if you do not already have it installed on your computer) as well as the process of downloading your eTextbook. (

Downloading an eTextbook may take a while (even up to 30 minutes) due to the size of the content.

Will my eTextbook expire?

Yes, both the downloadable and the online versions have subscription terms lasting for 180, 360, or 540 days. These limits are based on the duration of the course, whether it’s a one-semester, two-semester, or three-semester sequence.

Can I return my CourseSmart eTextbook?

CourseSmart’s returns policy does not allow for any returns of downloadable eTextbooks.

    You can “return” or cancel a subscription to an online eTextbook and obtain a full refund according to the following criteria:
  • You are within the first two weeks of your subscription purchase
  • You have viewed or printed no more than 20% of the content
  • You have not viewed the Access Code provided for any online resource included in the eTextbook
Please note that it may take up to a week for your credit card company to process the refund.

Can I print my CourseSmart eTextbook?

Yes. CourseSmart users may print up to ten (10) pages at one time from either the Online Version or the Downloadable Version of an eTextbook. Additionally, there is a limit to the total number of pages that one can print for each book. This limit is 150% of the page in the book. For instance, if the book contains 200 pages then you may print 300 pages. As there are many pages (e.g., Copyright, Index) in most books that subscribers will not want to print, the page-print limit should not impact your ability to print all relevant pages.

To print from the Online Version, click on the Print button in the CourseSmart Reader toolbar.

To print from the Downloadable Version, go to the File menu of the CourseSmart Bookshelf application (i.e., the application in which you are reading your Downloadable eTextbook), and select the command, "Print".

Can I copy my CourseSmart eTextbook?

Users can copy text from CourseSmart Online and Downloadable eTextbooks, and paste it into another document. This feature is available on all titles within CourseSmart. Images cannot necessarily be copied and pasted.

You are limited to the copying one page at a time in an Online eTextbook, and up to ten pages at a time in a Downloadable eTextbook.

Where are the companion materials that come with my eTextbook?

CourseSmart’s goal is to provide students with access to all of the companion materials that come with every copy of the print book (something we call “integrated components”. Examples of common integrated components are exercise files that might be on a CD-ROM or a web site with material that accompanies the book.

CourseSmart's Online eTextbook allows users with a valid subscription to gain access to the integrated components. To gain access, click on the "Companion Materials" link above the table of contents on the left-hand side of the CourseSmart Reader.

Students who purchase the Downloadable Versions of the CourseSmart eTextbook may have to contact the publisher for access to the integrated components. The publisher may ask you to present evidence of your CourseSmart subscription. Use the subscription confirmation email you received from CourseSmart as evidence.

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