VitalSource Releases Groundbreaking e-Book Software Creating New Online Learning Networks

Collaborative Digital Note Sharing Enables New Generation of Online Learning Networks for Teachers and Students


Raleigh, NC -- (ReleaseWire) -- 05/15/2007 -- VitalSource Technologies, Inc., a leading developer of digital book solutions, today released the most advanced digital book software in the industry with new, interactive features including the ability for users to collaborate by sharing notes and highlights.

“Bookshelf was created to not only deliver e-books, but also activate content with cutting-edge digital technology,” said Frank Daniels III, CEO of VitalSource and a pioneer in digital publishing. “Bookshelf 4.5 is the first learning tool to take advantage of the interactive and collaborative potential of e-books. The technology is somewhat analogous to social networks, like MySpace, only the communities and interaction take place around books. Readers can form ad hoc book clubs with anyone else who owns the same e-book. This is a whole new generation of digital book technology joining the best of internet with e-books.”

VitalSource’s comprehensive upgrade to its flagship product, Bookshelf 4.5, is free and available for download from Books may be purchased from VitalSource’s online store, from select college bookstores and through the e-commerce websites of VitalSource’s publishing partners. E-books are downloaded to Bookshelf where they are automatically indexed and stored locally. Like music purchased from an online store, once they have been downloaded, VitalSource e-books do not require an online connection for readers to access them.

Previous editions of Bookshelf already allowed readers to highlight and annotate e-books, features that set the technology apart from competing platforms as they allowed readers to interact with e-books in the same manner as they would with printed textbooks, reference materials and other publications. Advanced search capabilities were also part of earlier editions of Bookshelf, allowing users to conduct queries on individual titles or their entire e-library.

Bookshelf 4.5 takes a leap into the Web 2.0 era by letting readers create social networks around e-books. Users can highlight digital titles using virtual markers, then elect to share highlights and notes with other individuals who can subscribe to that content, similar to a blog’s RSS feed. Shared notes and highlights are automatically updated when Bookshelf detects an Internet connection.

Bookshelf users may employ shared notes to help one other study, to ask other readers questions, or to divide work among members of a study group. Teachers may use this powerful feature to focus attention on the most salient portions of the text or to insert self-test or discussion questions.

Bookshelf was designed to support VitalSource’s proprietary digital format, VitalBook (*.vbk), an xml-based platform that provides extensive data-tagging, and robust digital rights management (DRM) as well as efficient storage and delivery of large data files. In addition, Bookshelf 4.5 is a cutting-edge MathML reader, making it the ideal technology for reading advanced math and science titles. By allowing mathematical equations to be published as text and not as an image, Bookshelf 4.5 makes mathematical content fully searchable.

“Often the industry will focus on e-book reading devices as the key obstacle to wider adoption of digital publications,” commented Daniels. “VitalSource pursues a different approach, developing software technologies that make for a richer, more intuitive user experience on a variety of existing platforms.”

Daniels is once again taking a leadership role in the transition of conventional print media into the digital age. In the early 1990s, while acting as publisher of the News & Observer newspaper in Raleigh, Daniels spearheaded the creation of NandO, one of the first Internet newspaper sites. NandO is widely recognized as a model for later news websites.

For more information on Bookshelf 4.5, please visit:

About VitalSource Technologies, Inc.

Headquartered in Raleigh, NC, VitalSource is a leading provider of technology solutions for e-book publishing and distribution. The company enables publishers, distributors and other partners to create and deliver textbooks and other content directly to users' computers in its proprietary VitalBook (*.vbk) file format under a variety of scenarios, ranging from custom curriculum solutions to private-label bundled products, as well as single textbook and promotional content delivery to students and faculty in both secondary and post-secondary educational settings. In 2007, VitalSource commemorated the billionth book distributed in the VitalBook format. VitalSource is an Ingram Digital Group company. For more information visit

About Ingram Digital Group

Ingram Digital Group is an operating division of Ingram Industries Inc. and provides publishers and other content owners with a comprehensive offering of digital content accession, storage, management and distribution services. Ingram Digital Group along with its group companies MyiLibrary and VitalSource Technologies provides a full-service array of digital solutions and support. The Ingram companies - including Ingram Digital, Ingram Book Group and Lightning Source Inc. - provide a broad range of physical and digital services to the industry. For more information, visit