MSU students gain free eTextbook access in midst of COVID-19 outbreak

Contact: Harriet Laird

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Free access to online eTextbooks is available to Mississippi State students through the remainder of the spring semester.

The university’s bookstore, Barnes & Noble Education, Inc., is teaming up with digital textbook provider VitalSource and leading publishers to help ensure that MSU students are equipped to learn, wherever they are, during the six weeks remaining in the academic year.

“We are most appreciative of Barnes & Noble for providing these resources to our students during this unprecedented disruption,” said David Shaw, MSU’s provost and executive vice president. “Thanks to the support of Barnes & Noble, our faculty and staff, and so many others in the Mississippi State family, we are very confident that our students will be able to finish the semester successfully, earn full credit for their classes, and continue to make academic progress toward earning their degree.”

During the current COVID-19 outbreak, colleges and universities nationwide are transitioning to online and distance learning course formats for the safety and well-being of students, faculty and staff. While challenging for both students and faculty, this free access to eTextbooks is a much needed offering to help successfully complete the remainder of the term.

MSU’s Vice President for Student Affairs Regina Hyatt, said, “We are grateful for our partnership with Barnes & Noble Education for bringing these resources to our students. We are doing all we can to ensure students have the resources they need to be successful in their online instruction environment, and this is another tool students can use. I continue to be so inspired by the resilience of our community in responding to the COVID-19 crisis and appreciate our partners, like Barnes & Noble, who are willing to present solutions for our needs.”

Hyatt pointed to these brief instructions below for setting up an eTextbook account:

  1. Use this link ....
  2. On the top of the page where it says “download”, select the download option that is the best fit (Mac,    Windows, etc)
  3. Download the bookshelf application/program
  4. Create an account (using MSU email address) once the program opens
  5. Verify the account in student email
  6. Search for course materials in the application/program

For additional information, visit

Jake Manning, 2019-2020 MSU Student Association president, said, “We are committed to making sure our students have what they need to finish the semester and to do so in a way that prevents any additional cost to them. This is a huge leap in achieving that goal.”

Textbook Returns

Any students with physical rental books from Barnes & Noble at MSU will be given a free UPS label to ship books back to the bookstore at the semester’s end, and the bookstore will extend the grace period as long as needed. These labels will be emailed directly to every student with outstanding rental books.

Barnes & Noble at MSU also is providing free shipping for all items on its website to ensure students can get what they need. Buyback periods will be extended once students return to campus so they can continue to sell books back.

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