U.S. academic libraries don’t usually buy textbooks as these materials are highly specialized and go out of date very quickly. So, be careful, because if we do own a copy of your textbook it can be an older edition than the one your professor has chosen for your class. Also, even if we own your textbook, you will not be able to check out the book for the entire semester.
Check Course Reserves to See if Your Professor Made a Copy of Your Textbook Available
Sometimes professors put a copy of the class textbook on Reserve for you at the Library’s circulation desk. Generally, Reserve Books are available for a 2-hour check out, and must be used in the Library.
Search the Library’s Catalog for Your Textbook
You can search the library’s catalog by title or author name or ISBN number to see if the book is available. Again, chances are you will not be able to check it out for the entire semester.
By compiling prices on textbooks into one, convenient spot, SlugBooks claims that they provide students with the cheapest prices available - even if those prices happen to be at the university bookstore. You can search by ISBN or search by title. They compare textbook prices between the largest and most trustworthy online new, used, rental and digital textbook sellers, including Amazon and Chegg.
Chegg: Chegg.com is a textbook rental service that offers more than 4.2 million titles. Students can go to www.chegg.com to order a book. When the rental term ends, students receive a reminder e-mail from Chegg, a prepaid postage label— provided by Chegg— and student drops the box off at the post office at no additional cost. “Students who rent their textbooks from Chegg.com can choose to purchase their textbook at any time during the rental period.
ConsumerAffairs has also rated textbook companies: https://www.consumeraffairs.
College Open Text Books. (The College Open Textbooks Collaborative). A collection of twenty-eight educational non-profit and for-profit organizations, affiliated with more than 200 colleges, is focused on driving awareness and adoptions of open textbooks to more than 2000 community and other two-year colleges. Textbooks are available to all and Open textbooks are freely available for use without restriction and can be downloaded or printed from web sites and repositories.
"CENAGEbrain.com) A single destination for more than 35,000 new print textbooks, textbook rentals, eBooks, single eChapters, and print, digital, and audio study tools. CengageBrain.com provides the freedom to purchase a-la-carte exactly what you need, when you need it."
Internet Classics Archive Select from a list of 441 works of classical literature by 59 different authors, including user-driven commentary and "reader's choice" Web sites. Mainly Greco-Roman works (some Chinese and Persian), all in English translation.
Requesting textbooks through Interlibrary Loan is NOT recommended. Many libraries will not lend them, since most libraries keep textbooks on reserve for their own patrons. Additionally, books borrowed through ILL are for short-term use only. Loan periods usually are for three to four weeks. Therefore, it is not possible to keep a book borrowed through ILL for an entire semester.