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When Selecting a Textbook
- Check with multiple publishers when choosing a new book. Ask about
e-book, rental, and bundled/unbundled options. Note: the price quoted by
the publisher may not be the price charged in the bookstore.
- Is there a good reason to use a specific edition? Has material been
updated or significantly changed from previous editions? Is a specific
version or translation required? Are any supplementary materials
included really needed?
- Does the library have a copy of the book, including older or
alternate editions? (If so, some student is likely to try and use it.)
You might want to place the library copy or a personal copy on reserve.
(The library generally does not deliberately buy books to be used as
Can you coordinate texts in your department? Could a book be used in more than one course? Some publishers may give discounts for multiple books bought at one time, if your department can agree on a set that students can use for several courses. Commonly used books (for instance, books used in several sections of the same course) are also easier for students to sell back to the bookstore.
- Did you write your textbook (or are you interested in writing one)? Consider publishing it online, especially under a Creative Commons (or similar) license.
- Do you need a textbook? Could an assembly of readings, videos, etc.
work for your class? (Non-textbook materials are harder to design, but
allow more flexibility.) Contact your subject librarian, or Rebecca
Hedreen, the distance librarian, for help
finding online materials suitable for use as textbooks and readings. Check out the Saylor Foundation for what this might look like.
disks or sites.
Email your subject librarian
The subject librarians are available to help you find new and alternative textbooks, readings, and online materials.
Inexpensive books suitable for basic textbooks. Generally older/out of copyright editions.
Pearson Custom Press
Collect individual chapters and readings into a custom designed textbook. Usually available to students as e-book or paperback. (Students may not be able to sell back custom books.)
Textbooks available online, by the chapter, and for rental
Find online versions of textbooks
A project of the Monterey (CA) Institute for Technology and Education, HippoCampus provides multimedia text "books" for high school and basic college level subjects. Also provides course specific pages, with free registration.
Free, downloadable textbooks from a Danish company. Ad-supported.
Some books are available as free downloads.
AcademicPub - course packs...Now!
Custom Course Materials for Higher Education. Copyright clearance from leading publishers is part of the package.
Free downloads/Open Access
Many out of copyright books are available for free download (especially literary and historical works.) Some authors are also putting in-copyright texts up for educational use.
MERLOT Open Textbooks
Textbooks specifically designated for free use. MERLOT also has tutorials, lesson plans, and other educational resources.
A large collection of learning "modules" (readings, tutorials, games, videos, etc.) made available for reuse by other educators.
OER (Open Educational Resources) Consortium
An organization dedicated to free, reusable educational resources.
Creative Commons for Education
Discover educational materials available for use, and allow others to use your own.
Online Books Page
The largest "library catalog" of online books.
In the Advanced Search you can limit to Full View only
The original online book collection, still growing.
Internet Public Library
A guide to "good" resources on the Internet, including many classic books.
Another collection of online books.