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Ebooks: VitalSource Explore and Cambridge Higher Education eTextbooks

Tips and FAQs on using ebooks at UWA


Banner image source: Pixabay 1, 2, 3, 4 licensed under a CC0 Public Domain licence.

VitalSource Explore and Cambridge Higher Education eTextbooks

Each ebook provider is slightly different. This table provides an overview of ebooks on VitalSource Explore and Cambridge Higher Education etextbooks. The Cambridge eTextbook site has only recently been launched and aspects are still currently under development/redesign.


VitalSource Explore Cambridge Higher Education eTextbooks




Free User Account 


You only need to create an account if you wish to download the book for offline access or save your notes.


You will need to create an account to download the ebook, copy or print pages. If you already have a Cambridge Core account you can use the same email and password to log into the Higher Education site.

When you initially create an account you will be taken to a generic Cambridge Higher Education page. You will need to either search for a book on the site or reload from OneSearch and log in again.

The Cambridge eReader Experience Comparison highlights the differences between online only and full functionality. 

Read Online

Yes. Hover over the title cover and click borrow. Alternatively the OneSearch link will take you directly to the title cover.



Yes. You can read online without having to register your personal details.

Download/copy parts of Book

Yes. Limited.

Each user may copy and paste up to 15% of a book (by word count). You will need to log into your Cambridge account to enable this functionality.

Download entire Book to PC/laptop / mobile device

Yes. You will need to download the VitalSource Reader app for your device. 

Most titles can be downloaded to a mobile device.  You will require the Cambridge app to download. The currently available device applications, links to download and system requirements are available on this page. Please note that the iOS app for iPhone and iPad is currently still under development.


Yes. Limited.


Each user may copy and paste up to 15% of a book (by word count).

Loan Period Loan times vary from 3 hours to 72 hours and are indicated when you hover over the book cover on VitalSource Explore. Loan period is 60 days.
Number of books a borrower can download/"Check Out" at once Varies between publishers. Normally limited to 3 titles from each publisher. Up to 20 books.
Number of users per book Varies between titles but is usually three. Unlimited concurrent users.
Holds for borrowed books



Not required as unlimited access.

Able to annotate pages


Highlighting and note-taking available. These can be exported to OneNote or printed.

The e-reader enables an individual user to save notes, bookmarks, and highlights within their view of the content. 
Help pages

General help such as downloading the Bookshelf app, downloading books for offline access and taking notes and highlighting can be found on VitalSoure Bookshelf Getting Started.

General help can be found on the Higher Education from Cambridge University Press site for students.

Instructions for using the eReader are found in the Website eReader guide.


 Unless otherwise stated, content in this guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International Licence