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Textbooks: Buy, Borrow or Rent? (Seaver Students)

This guide will help you locate textbooks through the Library or by renting them or by finding them on an Open Access website

Library Books and Reserves

U.S. academic libraries don’t usually buy textbooks as these materials are highly specialized and go out of date very quickly.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 the front desk at your Pepperdine library 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.

Photocopiers are available

Every Pepperdine campus library has a photocopier/scanner available for student use.

Pepperdine Bookstore

Renting Textbooks from Pepperdine University Bookstore (Tyler Campus)

Why rent?

  • When you rent your books, you'll pay, on average, less than half the new textbook price
  • Largest in-store and online rental program in the country
  • Normal highlighting and note-taking are acceptable
  • Free return shipping if you rent online as a registered user
  • Multiple forms of payment including financial aid and campus cards where available.

 How do I rent?

It's simple. Search for your course and section (if applicable), select the rental items available for your course, and add them to your shopping cart. During checkout you will be prompted to provide rental collateral and sign the rental agreement. Completing the rental agreement signifies your commitment to returning your rental book back by the check-in date.

Inter Library Loan (ILL)

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.

Compare Rental Textbook Companies

The College Investor has recently published a guide comparing textbook companies.

SlugBooks and other Rental Companies

Textbook Shopping Made Easy

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: is a textbook rental service that offers more than 4.2 million titles. Students can go to 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 can choose to purchase their textbook at any time during the rental period.

VitalSource Books:VitalSource Bookshelf offers discounted e-textbooks. You can rent the e-textbook for a certain number of days.and also allows you to download your entire eTextbook to your device so you can study without internet access. You can also buy the e-textbook and download it on one device to keep it forever. They claim to have the world's largest catalog of digital textbooks

The City University of New York (CUNY) has a page, Textbook Savings,  that lays out many options. 




CENAGEbrain  "A single destination for more than 35,000 new print textbooks, textbook rentals, eBooks, single eChapters, and print, digital, and audio study tools. provides the freedom to purchase a-la-carte exactly what you need, when you need it." 

Internet Classics Archives

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.