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CourseSmart, a privately held company headquartered in San Mateo, California, was a provider of eTextbooks and digital course materials. CourseSmart was founded in 2007 by publishers in higher education including Bedford, Cengage Learning, Freeman & Worth Publishing Group (Macmillan), McGraw-Hill Education, John Wiley & Sons, and Pearson.
The CourseSmart catalog included more than 40,000 eTextbooks, representing 90% of the core textbooks currently in use in North American Higher Education, as well as an online catalog of eResources and other digital course materials. Available in online or offline formats, CourseSmart eTextbooks provide savings off the price of new print textbooks and gives students, faculty, partners, and institutions a new way to find and access course materials. Students and instructors have anytime, anywhere access to their required course materials from any Web browser and on many mobile devices (including Android; the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch; Microsoft Windows; and other Web-enabled devices).
In August 2009, CourseSmart was the first in the industry to develop and launch an iPhone app, followed by the industry's first app for the iPad, which launched in the fall of 2010. Additionally in April 2011, CourseSmart launched the first eTextbook app for Android devices. CourseSmart provides access to its eTextbooks from any computer or Web-enabled device.
According to a 2011 comparison from Campusbooks, CourseSmart was found to have 80% of the 1,000 most popular textbooks for fall 2011 available - the highest percentage when compared to six other leading providers. CourseSmart is also certified by TRUSTe, an Internet privacy service provider.
In 1Q 2014, VitalSource Technologies, Inc. (an Ingram Content Group company) acquired CourseSmart. Initially, VitalSource eTextbooks could not be read on the CourseSmart eTextbooks platform and vice versa, and both platforms operated separately with no crossover. However, in November 2015, CourseSmart users were directed to download their eTextbooks via the VitalSource Bookshelf platform and were advised that some of their CourseSmart eTextbooks, along with their associated highlights and notes, would be migrated to Bookshelf. Until that happened, CourseSmart Mobile Reader users were required to maintain both the CourseSmart Mobile Reader and Bookshelf apps on their devices, or to read their books in their browsers.
Not all CourseSmart texts were migrated to VitalSource Bookshelf. As VitalSource explains: "There are some titles that the publisher has decided are not available. You may still request these, but the publisher may decide not to let you have this, or may require further information from you in order to allow. This is up to the publisher, and you should contact your rep if you have questions about this."
VitalSource Bookshelf, unlike CourseSmart: allows users to download eTextbooks to multiple devices at any given time (i.e., two computers and two mobile devices). Also unlike the CourseSmart Mobile Reader, which provided the option to cache eTextbooks for offine reading via Chrome, Firefox, or Safari browser, Bookshelf does not give users an option to read eTextbooks offline via their browser.
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