I am a professor teaching population genetics, and requested an "inspection copy" of a new book on Molecular Population Genetics. This would normally be provided free for an actual book if I called the editor associated with this area of science, because the publisher, Sinauer/Oxford University Press, know that I may implement the book as a required or recommended reading in my courses.
Instead, after my online application, OUP directed me to my free copy on RedShelf.com, but I was underwhelmed. I could not obtain a PDF copy (presumably in case I circulated it), and the text I did receive online was fuzzy and difficult to read. I searched for FST (a common parameter in population genetics, which is dealt with in the book), but the search engine failed to find it, even though it is treated as a major topic in the book. I tried highlighting the FST statements in the text and copying (Ctrl-C) to see if I could search for the formatting they use, but this didn't work either. Instead, RedShelf chose to colour the background to the FST text yellow (for some reason), but no copy was transmitted to the clipboard, so I could not paste it into the search engine.
Supposedly, by my license I am allowed to print out only 36 pages, but I've not tried; a clear printout would make the whole book readily readable. I suspect that the printnout would be very low quality, compared to the printed book.
With internet delays and slow response due to bloated software of RedShelf, this book is not readily readable at present in this format, in what they presented me as my "free copy."
In view of the unsuccessful search for FST, I searched for my own name, and found it once. But it's present at least twice in the actual text, I found. I suspect that the RedShelf strategy is to provide a very low resolution copy of the book, but instead of taking the original electronic text, they appear to have scanned the book at low resolution, and then attempted to recognize text in that low resolution version, and provide the low resolution version to subscribers. So there are errors.
Really, you can do better RedShelf! And OUP, you should just send me a PDF!
We are being charged for books from redshelf that we do not use at an educational institution. Rather than purchasing the book from a bookstore, they placed the book online and students are being charged hundreds of dollars every few months for books unless they opt out. This is a deceptive, false, and money making scam that is stealing money from student accounts. No institution or third party book seller charges for books without first providing consent that they agree to these charges. Scam. Institutional fraud. Ebook seller fraud happening to students. September 2018
August 2018 - I am entering the date so that other reviewers can see how recent this review is. I purchased a digital copy of a textbook. I quickly discovered lifetime access means ACCESS. What happens if RedShelf becomes defunct. A very costly lesson learned. This will be useless to me within my university where wireless is spotty at best. Also add OVERPRICED. I recommend going to Amazon or even your school book store.
I always get e-books and this is the first time I used Redshelf. I was not aware that the books were not entirely accessible offline. I travel a lot do to work and more often than not do not have access to WiFi when I am reading from my textbooks. I would have used another company for my e-books had I known this. They may be slightly more expensive but the convenience is worth it to me. Lesson learned.
Red Shelf has great prices, a large selection and superb customer service and technical support. Thank you Redshelf.com for making my student life and personal life better with your books!
I have had multiple issues with this company. I have even emailed them several times with no response.Today is the last straw! I have an assignment due and after logging on, the "read book" link keeps going back to the login page. Even the "need help" link, logs me out and says access denied. Please people save your money rent or buy a used book on Amazon. I will NEVER use this service again. And I will warn any fellow students who will listen!
As an ebook service focusing on textbooks, redshelf is insufficient. Most of its offerings are very limited use, and the average user will have no idea that they aren't actually purchasing a copy of the book, but the ability to access the book online. This "online only" access is useless in large lecture halls or at peak usage hours, where online connectivity is spotty at best. Moreover, the online reader is horrible to use, with only chapter headings available for navigation, making flipping to a specific page impossible. The entire interface is slow and clunky, especially on mobile devices. Unfortunately, most of these books aren't available via other services, meaning students have no other choice but to buy a physical copy.
Tip for consumers: Look around to see if you can get the book through another service. Especially check to see if your school library will rent digital or physical copies. Failing that, you'll have to buy a physical book.
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