A Chicago based Ed-Tech Company, RedShelf was founded in 2012 and has been one of the fastest-growing private businesses in the country. Designed with students in mind, RedShelf is an online bookstore for textbooks. There is far more to RedShelf than just purchasing textbooks. The multiple features are designed for easier access and study tips for students. However, not everyone is a RedShelf fan.
What is RedShelf?
RedShelf is an online textbook company. The online platform offers almost one million digital textbooks from over 400 publishers. Students can rent or purchase their books at a price up to 80% below print prices. RedShelf has contracts with several top textbook publishing companies making them a top contender in the textbook world. RedShelf seems to be leading the way in transferring college textbooks to digital sources and is loaded with powerful study tools.
The dynamic study tools help make RedShelf stand above other textbook companies. RedShelf lets the user highlight text and takes notes. With built-in collaborative features, you can send the highlighted text and notes to friends. Another study feature is that RedShelf will efficiently and quickly define unfamiliar words. You can have the book read aloud to you as well as choose the voice and pace.
RedShelf has a creative side that encourages studying as well. You can create flashcards as you read, which is beneficial for studying after reading.
You can also build study guides to review and study for tests. RedShelf will allow you to print select pages to learn when you are offline. Finally, RedShelf gives you the ability to cite in the MLA format easily properly. This is beneficial when citing the textbook as a source in a paper.
How Does it Work?
The most common way to use RedShelf is as an individual.
1. Search for the Textbook
First, you go to RedShelf and search for the textbook or resource you are looking for. You can search using the ISBN, title, or keywords. Once you search for the textbook or resource, you can go through the list that comes up until you find the one that matches your needs. When you click on the book you need, the features included will pop up.
2. Rent the Resource
If you can rent the resource, it will give you that option on that same screen. If renting is an option, RedShelf will provide you with options for the rental period. Once you decide which period you’d like, you simply add the book to your cart and checkout.
3. Payment Information
Entering the necessary payment information is the next step, and you will be asked to create an account. This account will give you access to your purchase. Your eBook will be stored in RedShelf’s cloud, and you will be able to access it anywhere you have the internet.
4. Open Your Book
Once you open the book in the reader on your laptop or tablet, you will see multiple features. These features are found with fast and easy navigation. You will notice the Table of Contents in the sidebar, which will allow you to jump to different sections of the book. You also will have display options. These display options include font, size, color, letter spacing, line height, and margins. Also located in the sidebar is the Bookmarks, Notes & Highlights, Study Guide, Flashcards, Collaboration, Text to Speech, Keyboard Shortcuts, Help & Support, and Experimental Features.
The Experimental Features at this time include a feature called Reading Activity. This feature is used to track your engagement throughout the book. After you use this feature, you can leave feedback that RedShelf will use to better their software.
On the main screen, you have the option to search and to move from page to page. You can add a page into your bookmarks and have the text read to you if that feature is available. There are also more text-to-speech commands located on the main screen. RedShelf’s eReader is easy to use and navigate.
Who Uses RedShelf?
RedShelf is designed for students. To use RedShelf, the user must be at least 18 years old or attending a secondary or post-secondary institution. They do make some exceptions for students between the ages of 13-18, but they do not make exceptions to attending an institution.
People can access RedShelf individually. These users simply search for a textbook and utilize RedShelf once the book is purchased. This is how most people use RedShelf. Students can also access RedShelf through their institution. In 23 states, 340 institutions contract with RedShelf to get students their digital textbooks. When used through their institution, professors and staff members also have access to RedShelf and the study tools. RedShelf wants to empower the institution to deliver their desired textbooks, whether they are written by the professor or published by a huge publishing company. These are found all over the country.
The other way to use RedShelf is through Follett. Follett is the country’s leading provider of higher ed bookstores. Follett offers its digital textbooks through RedShelf.
Pricing Through RedShelf
Prices through RedShelf are very affordable. Digital textbooks range from $30-$200 with the more expensive books being science-based books and the least costly books being English and literature-based. Because RedShelf has contracts with multiple publishers and the books are digital, costs can be kept very low. Adding to the online study tools, RedShelf wins the award for the least expensive textbooks compared to the competition.
Besides the fantastic study tools, RedShelf offers several features with your eReader purchase. Not all features are available on every book, so be sure to check before you purchase. Some of the features include Read Anywhere, Digital Notes & Study Tools, Offline Access, Printing, Copy/Paste, and Text to Speech.
The Read Anywhere feature stores your purchase/rental in RedShelf’s cloud-based eReader. The Digital Notes and Study Tools are also available with some purchases/rentals. Some publishers allow RedShelf customers to use a percentage of their book offline. They also enable the customers to print a portion of the book and copy/paste the document into external apps such as MS Office or other writing apps. The final feature that comes with some books is text to speech compatibility. This will allow the readers to listen to the book instead of reading it.
Digital textbooks play an important role, especially in times when most courses are online. When you research reviews of RedShelf, you will get mixed reviews, much like any resource. The mixture of reviews is simply because people have different needs and expectations, and the services may not have met them.
RedShelf has almost one million books available to students. Taking pride in their customer service, they publish articles for support, and they can be found on their website. If you are not happy with your purchase, you can return your book up to 14 days after purchase. But, if you read more than 10% of the book, you will not get a refund. This can be frustrating if you have spent the money and time reading the first chapter of the book, and your professor changes their mind on the textbook they wish to use.
All of the online study tools make this platform one of the best in its field. You can access any of your textbooks on the go seamlessly with the RedShelf login you create with your first purchase. Most publishers will allow you to print up to 20% of the book. Printing these pages out is done seamlessly and effortlessly, however, on their tech platform.
If you are looking to purchase or print eBooks for school at a much cheaper price, look no farther than RedShelf. The many features included with your purchase make RedShelf a top contender in the world of digital textbooks.
We believe RedShelf is an excellent resource that enhances learning and teaching from wherever you are.