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Textbooks and eTextbooks: How to Save Money on Textbooks

NYS Textbook Access Act

In August 2008, the New York Legislature signed into law the New York State Textbook Access Act,  Article 15-C (720-724). 

This law was created to help students with the burden of rising textbook prices.  This law requires publishers, distributors, anad Bookstores to offer and expand textbook options as well as provide more information about textbook titles.

 For the complete text of this act, click here.

Evaluating Websites

Before you use material from the Internet, evaluate the site.

WHO- is the author or sponsor?

Is it a reliable person, site?

WHAT- information is provided?

Does it match other information from valid sources?

WHEN- was the information posted/updated ?

Is it current?

WHERE- does the information come from?

Is it a reputable source such as .edu or .gov?

WHY- is the information there?

Is it there to inform and educate without bias?

Seven Ways to Save

 1.  Start with  the Library

The A. Holly Patterson Library tries to include at least one copy of most required textbooks in our Reserve Collection.  You can borrow them for up to 2 hours.  For popular fiction or classic novels, you can also visit your local public library.

2.  Visit your Campus Bookstore

Your campus bookstore knows exactly what materials are required and/or recommended for your class.  They also offer less expensive options like rentals, ebooks and used books.

3. Buy Used Textbooks

Used textbooks are less expensive than new ones.  The Bookstore often carries used copies or you can search online at or other textbook websites. 

4.  Rent Textbooks

Renting textbooks can be a less expensive alternative to purchasing the book.   Visit the Bookstore for rental options or search online for other possibilities.

5.  Purchase eBooks

Ebooks (electronic version) are another less expensive textbook format.  Try your bookstore or contact the publisher and other ebook vendors.

6.  Go online

There are many websites that offer textbooks for trade, rental or purchase.  Make sure you check the validity and reliability of these sites.

7.  Talk to your Professor

Ask your professor if using an older edition is acceptable.  If your textbook is bundled, ask your professor if you can do without all those extras by ordering the textbook only.

Tip:  Make sure you have the correct ISBN, so that you are searching and/or purchasing the right textbook.  The ISBN will be different for bundled textbooks.  When ordering online, be sure to factor in shipping costs.   Check return policies and turnaround times so that you can receive the book before your class begins.

Subject Guide

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Lisa Errico
Associate Professor

Resource Management Librarian

Nassau Community College

One Education Drive

Garden City, NY 11530