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Textbook Affordability: Resources and Alternatives: For Students

Information and resources for both faculty and students to help decrease the cost of textbooks.

Keep Learning: Student Site to Support Online Learning

Follett: Campus Bookstore Support for Off-Campus Learning

Access to eBooks AT NO ADDITIONAL CHARGE: Visit the campus store website, <>, to gain access to eBooks at no additional charge with your .edu email address. Each student can access up to 7 eBooks for the designated period free of charge.

Free Shipping on Rental Returns & Deadline Extensions: The campus store is offering free shipping return labels and is also extending the non-return period without penalty to assist with increased returns by mail. Click the COVID-19 message on the home page of the campus store website, <>, for the details.

New Ways to Access Textbooks during the COVID-19 Crisis

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:

  • Renting 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.
  • Playing 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.
  • Being free and easy—Check campus libraries and public libraries before buying or renting your texts.
  • Shopping 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.", last modified August 11, 2017,

How the Library Can Help

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.

Open Source & Free Downloads

Shopping Around—Price Comparison Sites

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

Shopping Around—Textbook Rental

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

Shopping Around—Textbook Buying/Selling Online

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

Buying or Renting from the NIU Bookstore

Student Assessment for Spring 2018 Textbook Reserve Pilot Program