Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Finding and Accessing Content for Courses: Free, Open, and Affordable Resources: Student Resources

Controlling your Costs—Getting the Textbooks you Need at a Price You Can Afford

It is no surprise that student loan debt is increasing at the same time that textbook costs are on the rise. NIU Libraries wants to help you get the classroom materials you need at a price you can afford. CNBC suggests a few strategies that might help:

  • Rent instead of buying—If it is a book you do not think you will need later, such as a text for a GenEd course, rent it.
  • Play the market—Don't buy in August or December/January, when the demand is great. Once you sign up for classes, contact your instructor to find out what materials are required. Get the jump on your peers.
  • Use the library—Check campus libraries and public libraries before buying or renting your texts.
  • Shop Around—Use price comparison sites and online search tools to locate and purchase (or rent) your books at the lowest price.

(Adapted from Gernon, D. "Students are Spending Less on Books by Smart Buying." CNBC.com, last modified August 11, 2017, https://www.cnbc.com/2017/08/08/one-smart-money-lesson-college-freshmen-can-learn-from-seniors.html).

Don't buy in August or December/January, when the demand is great. Once you sign up for classes, contact your instructor to find out what materials are required. Get the jump on your peers.

Like most university libraries, NIU Libraries does not routinely buy textbooks for our collection. However, the books you need may be available as e-books or on our shelves—or on the shelves of one of the nearly 90 members of the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois (CARLI) that participate in I-Share. You may also find what you need at the Reserves Desk.

Find books

DISCLAIMER: NIU Libraries does not endorse any of the following sites.

Textbook Rental

DISCLAIMER: NIU Libraries does not endorse any of the following sites.

Textbook Buying/Selling Online

DISCLAIMER: NIU Libraries does not endorse any of the following sites.