How Digital Textbooks Enable Learning

In an increasingly online world, digital textbooks and digital library reserves can be the keys to enabling student success. Learn how with our in-depth guide!

Online learning is becoming a pillar in higher education, and digital access to learning content is steadily increasing, whether students study remotely or on campus. 

According to a 2020 survey conducted by, 79% of students used laptops to access their courses, 15% utilized a desktop computer, and 5% utilized smartphones or tablets. 

However, digital access to content is not always a viable option for every learner. According to the same survey, 10% of students said that they needed to share their digital device with other users, and 3% said they used an institution-issued device.

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Affordability and Accessibility Are Key

Financial costs and accessibility remain challenging for students, even with the rise of digital content. In fact, online program graduates report that paying for college while minimizing student debt is a top concern.

The cost of content in addition to tuition impacts financially disadvantaged students the most — approximately 65% of students will skip buying course content and textbooks because they cannot afford the additional cost. The same study found that unaffordable course materials most heavily impact students who face food insecurity: 82% of students who reported missing a meal also said skipping buying their textbooks due to cost.  

Students who can’t afford to buy their textbooks rely on textbook reserves offered by the library to access the critical content they need to succeed in class.

By implementing a Learning Enablement solution, universities and colleges can create an arsenal of digital textbooks for students at library budget-friendly prices.

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What is Learning Enablement?

Learning Enablement focuses on equipping all faculty and students with consistent and systematic access to the right learning content at each stage of learning, with the overarching aim of optimizing student outcomes. Learning Enablement technology leverages digital content management, automation, and analytics to enable more efficient, effective, and equitable learning. 

Learning Enablement solutions include campus-wide solutions (like Universal Learning, which ensures all students have access to the content they need on the first day of class at an affordable price) and library solutions, described here.

Whether used campus-wide or by the library, Learning Enablement focuses on enabling more efficient, effective, and equitable student learning, creating better student experiences and improved learning outcomes.

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The 3 Core Pillars of Learning Enablement

Learning Enablement has three key features that all it to deliver a better experience for end-users. As Learning Enablement marries technology with educational best practices, these platforms are designed with both students and administrators in mind.


Learning Enablement applies automation to reduce the manual work traditionally associated with the curation, procurement, management, and distribution of content.

With Learning Enablement, students have access to the content they need to succeed right away, on any device, on- and offline.

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Learning Enablement leverages analytics to give libraries a deep understanding of how students study, how learning resources and course materials are being used, and which students need support.

With Learning Enablement, student learning is facilitated by technology designed for interactivity, collaboration, and accessibility.

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Learning Enablement ensures that education is inclusive and equitable by providing access to content for students from all backgrounds and removing the costs and constraints of printed materials.

With Learning Enablement, student access to learning is not limited by their financial means or learning disabilities.

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Did You Know?

In 2021, the yearly cost of textbooks and supplies was approximately $1240 for full-time undergraduate students at four-year universities.
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What is a Learning Enablement Platform?

A Learning Enablement Platform leverages digital content management, automation, and analytics to enable more efficient, effective, and equitable learning, resulting in more engaged students and improved student outcomes.

Learning enablement platforms, like BibliU, can help you make digital resources available to all students at a fraction of the cost.
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What Are Digital Textbook Reserves?

Digital textbooks reserves are digital versions of traditional library print reserves. Typically accessible through the library system, digital textbook reserves are perfect for libraries when access to print copies is limited, restricted by licensing, or when you want to increase access to reserve content without requiring students to come on campus or to the library in person.

What Are the Benefits of Using Digital Textbook Reserves?

Digital textbook reserves offer plenty of benefits for students and administrators alike. Digital reserves allow students to easily access textbooks and other content, while librarians can take advantage of holistic data and analytics to study how students use the content. Additionally, digital library reserves can offer cost savings and a generous return on investment (ROI).

Take a look at some of the advantages and benefits digital library reserves have to offer.

For Universities

The library is the beating heart of most educational institutions and universities. It’s one of the best resources students have at their disposal. But with digital learning becoming more prevalent in higher education, not all students can walk into a library or get the books they need. To make it even more complicated, purchasing costs and overhead can make it difficult to provide hard copies of textbooks and course materials.

Digital library reserve platforms like BibliU provide extensive ROI through their straightforward approach to purchasing: you only pay for what students use. Workflows and automation also help add dollars back into the bottom line while providing students with much-needed content.

This accessibility can help improve student learning outcomes and, in turn, student retention rates. In short, digital library reserve systems offer campus-wide benefits.

For Libraries

Managing traditional print reserves is a challenge in the digital age. With blended and online learning environments on the rise, academic libraries need to adapt to accommodate students’ needs. Luckily, digital reserves and digital textbooks can do that. 

Digital library reserve systems like BibliU fully integrate into all existing library systems. And with purchase automation, libraries can save on costs while still accessing data to assess what content students are using the most.

For Students

Digital textbooks and access to course materials can significantly impact a student’s chances of success. Many students turn to the library for study materials, and textbooks are no exception.
Digital library reserve systems offer easy accessibility and support for students, no matter their learning needs. When students can use course materials without worrying about cost or availability, it’s only natural that learning outcomes improve.

Deliver Digital Content With BibliU

BibliU is a Learning Enablement Platform that leverages digital content management, automation, and analytics to enable more efficient and effective learning. We work with thousands of publishers to provide millions of digital resources to faculty and students. 

BibliU provides affordable access to content on any device, meaning that students can access content wherever they are — online or offline.

Guaranteed Access to Digital Textbooks from Your Top Publishers

BibliU provides access to digital textbooks from publishers you otherwise cannot source, including the publishers of top academic titles. BibliU works on any device (laptops, tablets, and phones), and supports offline access to content for students who lack internet connectivity at home.

Easy Adoption for Students

The BibliU Learning Enablement Platform integrates seamlessly with library systems to make content discoverable. With BibliU, you can access millions of resources from over 2,000 publishers, OER, and courseware — all via one user-friendly platform.

Flexible Pricing Models

BibliU provides flexible pricing options specifically to meet the needs of the library. We help you maximize your budget while saving time and resources. Whether it be our On Demand Learning option or our Curated Learning option, BibliU has a digital textbook reserve model that works for your library and your budget.

How Allan Hancock College Uses BibliU for Digital Content

Learn how the Allan Hancock College library uses BibliU to provide digital textbook access and ensure equitable resource access for all students.

Read the Case Study
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Lessons from COVID-19: How the Pandemic Changed the Learning Landscape

With added difficulties of economic instability brought on by the pandemic, access to learning content has become an urgent issue of equity and inclusion. There is now unprecedented attention on the issue of accessibility of educational content. As schools rushed online last year, inequities in students’ access to the material they need for academic success became more evident.

Read the Blog
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Implementing BibliU’s Learning Enablement Platform

Learn how easy it is for your institution to integrate with BibliU’s Learning Enablement Platform. 

Get the Implementation Guide
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BibliU can help you transform the learning experience by making digital resources accessible and affordable to all students.

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