Share your feedback with us

Frequently Asked Questions
by Librarians

What exactly is Total Boox?

Total BooX is an ebook service available to individual users as well as libraries in the United States and around the world. It gives library patrons access to thousands of ebooks in a wide range of fiction and nonfiction categories, which can be downloaded to Android, Kindle, and iOs tablets 24/7. Reading is metered, with the library paying only for pages read.

Patrons may download unlimited number of titles available on the platform, but the library never pays for the download itself. Checkouts and downloads are important only as means toward the ultimate goal of patrons and libraries: reading. So libraries are only charged when patrons are actually reading. There are no single copy–single user limitations, waiting lines, or time restrictions on reading. Patrons may read any of the titles in the catalog at their own pace. The content read and paid for by the library remains on patrons’ devices indefinitely.

How does my library sign up for the service?

We take great pride in the simplicity of our model. Signing up is fast and easy. After reaching an agreement with Total BooX, library creates a Total BooX account and funds it with an initial balance (this balance depends on the library’s size and financial means). To help the library set its initial budget, Total BooX will provide an estimate based on our knowledge of ebook usage in libraries.

How do patrons access the Total BooX collection?

Patrons log into the system by using their library card numbers and PIN. Before they can begin downloading titles to their devices, they need to install the free Total BooX Reader App.

How are pages priced?

Pages cost a percentage of the retail (not library) price of each book. For instance, if a book were 300 pages long, and a patron read 30 pages, then the library would pay only ten percent of the price of the book. If the patron adjusted the font size, our system would take that into account so that the library would still pay the same amount. Note that we do not charge for portions of books which patrons skip over or flip through quickly, so you pay little or nothing when patrons browse titles.

How does Total BooX charge my library?

Total BooX keeps tabs when your patrons read and deducts from your library’s balance only the value of the pages read, as they are read. So there is no need for the library to buy ebooks upfront. Portions of the titles your patrons skip over or the pages they flip through quickly are never deducted from the balance. When your balance is low, we alert you to increase it. It is up to the library to decide how and when to increase the budget. If the library has unused reading funds at the end of the year, they are carried over into the following year.

How does Total BooX help me control my library’s budget?

One of the key benefits of using Total BooX is the ability to control the amount spent on ebook reading. Upon signing, your library sets an annual budget and is able to keep track of the remaining balance, the number of patrons registered, and the number of ebooks downloaded. You also get insight into what your patrons read the most and how they read. Reports will soon be generated in real time to help librarians make informed purchasing decisions and to control cost long-term.

What are the benefits of this type of incremental purchasing?

The single copy–single user limitation placed on ebooks by other lending services has been a source of frustration for patrons and librarians. Total BooX seeks to eliminate this frustration by providing a multi-user, simultaneous access model, with libraries paying only for the parts of the books their patrons read. In most cases, this will not be a full book. As a result, your library will end up saving significantly, particularly on the titles that wouldn’t receive more than a few checkouts in a given year. In addition, while closely monitoring your community’s reading activities, we also provide you with cost projections to help your library stay within budget.

What types of libraries is the Total BooX model ideal for?

A wide range of libraries, big and small, can benefit from our innovative model. Small libraries on tight budgets unable to afford steep annual subscriptions to other lending services have the opportunity to bring ebooks to their patrons without over-extending their resources. Large, urban libraries already subscribing to other ebook platforms can use Total BooX as an affordable supplementary service to help them spot high-interest titles faster and decide how they wish to provide access to them or whether to purchase them outright.

Is there an annual maintenance fee for libraries?

No, there is no annual maintenance fee. We charge a small set-up fee at the onset of the service to cover our costs of creating your account, training your staff, and assisting with your marketing efforts. This is a one-time fee and not an annual fee. Thereafter, you will pay only for pages read.

How is the ownership of content transferred to the patron?

Once the library has paid for the cost of one copy of a book (assuming the patron has read the entire book), the library has purchased perpetual access to that book for that patron. Any page paid for can be read again with no limitations and will never disappear from patron’s device, even if he/she relocates. If the patron only reads a part of the book, that part remains on his/her personal device in perpetuity.

What happens if a patron wishes to continue reading “unread” content from a title at a later date?

The full, downloaded ebook remains on the patron’s device forever, or until the patron wishes to delete it. This is regardless of whether he/she has started reading the book, read a part of it, or read all of it. Whatever the patron has read has been paid for by the library, and the patron can read those parts over and over with no limitations. To continue reading “unread” parts at a later time, the patron has two options. If he/she has a valid library card, and the library still supports the Total BooX service, the patron can continue reading as before by logging into the system using his/her library card and PIN. If the patron no longer has a valid library card, he/she can select to purchase the content via credit card or PayPal.

What happens if the library wishes to own the file of a title it has purchased for its patrons?

Our model is based on patron’s reading. The library essentially pays for the patrons’ reading and not for the files. The files are a means, not an end. Each patron has possession of the full file, be it 100 or 1000 individual patrons. So the library can distribute the files simultaneously to as many patrons as it wants. The library can also decide at any point during the service to direct the users to our copy of a title or to another vendor’s copy of the same book.

Can patrons read offline?

Yes. Library patrons have to be online only to download ebooks to their devices. But they do not have to be online to read them. Whether online or offline, the reading is metered and the library pays only for the pages read.

What reading devices does the platform support?

Total BooX currently supports Android and iPad tablets.

What software is needed to download ebooks?

Readers need to install the free Total BooX Book Reader App to download titles to their tablets. Our app monitors both online and offline reading.

How often are new titles added to the platform?

New titles are added each week.

How many ebooks are available for download?

The collection currently comprises well over 20,000 titles, with more expected in the near future.

What publishers are currently represented?

Total BooX has agreements with a number of established publishers, including Sourcebooks, Other Press, Red Wheel/Weiser, O’Reilly, Microsoft Press, Berrett-Koehler, Elseiver, and F+W Media, among others. Many more partnerships are on the horizon.

What are Reading Shelves?

Reading shelves are simply collections of titles (on the same or similar topics) that are created by readers, publishers, and librarians (e.g., gluten-free diets; how to start your own business; beach reads; great adventures, etc.). Readers choose how many books to add to their individual shelf, how to name it, and whether to keep it private or share with others. Once a shelf is shared, anyone can see it and download it. We encourage librarians, in particular, to use Reading Shelves for Reader’s Advisory.

Is multi-media part of the service?

At this time, Total BooX does not include multi-media like videos, music, and audiobooks.

Is my patron’s privacy protected?

While we do collect information needed for delivering our service, your patron’s privacy is never compromised. We do not share information about your patrons’ reading activities and interests with third parties. Under no circumstance, whatever the cost, will we reveal any information related to the reading habits of individuals using our services.

What happens if a patron accidentally erases a title from his device or buys a new one?

If a patron erases an ebook, loses his device, or buys a new one, Total BooX will update his or her collection with no additional financial burden for the library.

Can a library limit the content available to patrons to certain subjects or publishers?

Yes, libraries can choose to offer certain subjects or publisher collections only. They do not need to make the entire Total BooX collection available to patrons. Our team will work with your library to accommodate its unique needs.

Does Total BooX provide free trials for libraries?

Yes. Librarians and information professionals interested in receiving a free reading trial may send a written request to Please include your full name, the email address you want to associate with your account, and your affiliation.


Connect your library with an easy setup and integration