Institution Billing Types

VitalSource has three main billing models. They are:

  1. Pub Direct or Fulfillment -- this means that you (the institution) have a direct relationship with the publisher(s). Through this relationship, the publisher provides content to you through VitalSource, often with custom pricing and/or custom ebook license lengths. Publisher bills the institution directly.
  2. Payment Agent -- Payment agents means that the institution and publisher have a fulfillment relationship where custom pricing has been assigned (see above).  However, instead of you, the institution, paying the publisher directly, VitalSource bills you for content and pays publisher on your behalf.  VitalSource bills the institution directly.
  3. Buy/Sell or Wholesale -- Buy/Sell means that the institution can access publisher content directly through VitalSource due to VitalSource's publisher relationships to provide content. You have availability to thousands of titles from a large variety of publishers and VitalSource has permission to provide you distribution rights! VitalSource bills the institution directly.

Depending on the setup, many institutions may have a mix of billing models. Note: even if you have pub direct or fulfillment relationships with one or more publishers, you can still get access to all our other content (including Bookshelf CoachMe® enabled titles) by having a buy/sell wholesale agreement with VitalSource.

Keeping Information Up-to-Date

Outdated information is the primary reason for being billed incorrectly.  If a direct relationship with a publisher changes, or a new contract is put in place, VitalSource has no way of knowing about these changes unless someone from the institution or publisher lets us know.   If you think something regarding your pub direct relationships might have changed in the past year, please reach out directly to your CSM.   

Ensure you are paying for the correct content

Remember to take special note of the license lengths available for each book title.  Most titles are available in different lengths (for example:  6 months – R180, 1 year – R365, or perpetual – online access AND forever downloadable access).  The prices you pay are unique to both the title and the length.  Please take a moment to review your booklist and ensure that your students are accessing the correct title and length that you are expecting to pay.  We bill what the students are using, and the system invoices the price entered by the publisher.


If you have questions, want access to additional publisher titles, or want to initiate a relationship audit, please reach out to your Customer Success Manager (CSM) or Account Executive (AE).  We are here to help you and your students be successful.

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