Textbook Affordability

For Students and Parents | For Faculty

This website is a collaborative effort of the UC Bookstore, Student Government, the Provost's Office, and the UC Libraries.

According to U.S. PIRG, "Students spend an average of $900 a year on textbooks—20 percent of tuition at an average university and half of tuition at a community college." 


For Students and Parents

Rent Textbooks

UC students can now rent texbooks from the UC Bookstore. You must register to use this service.  The web site has more information about registering and using the service.

Can eBooks save you money on textbooks?

Benefits to students

  • eBooks cost 40% - 60% less than new printed books
  • Provide enhanced search features, including highlighting, note taking and limited printing
  • May contain additional study aids

  • They don't use paper, so they're great for the environment

Factors to consider

  • Some eBooks expire after a set term
  • Some are not refundable
  • Some require an internet connection for each use
  • Limits on printing (generally if you plan to print a large portion of the book, it is just as cost effective to buy the print book)
  • These cannot be sold back at the end of the term
  • Remember to back up your files so you do not lose the book if your computer crashes

eBook retailers

Follett eBooks (Available at UC Bookstore)

Downloadable, on one computer.  Student doesn’t have to be connected to the internet to have access
Refundable by the Bookstore if not downloaded
Do not expire, the student has as long as they keep it on their computer


Do the UC Libraries have textbooks for my courses?

On a limited basis.  Textbooks and other course materials required for individual classes generally are NOT purchased for the library collection.  As a research library, our collections are focused on the diverse and long-term research needs of our users.  However, some UC Libraries do buy textbooks.

To locate textbooks that are available:

  1. Check the University of Cincinnati Libraries' Library Catalog
  2. Check University of Cincinnati Libraries' Reserves to see if your professor placed a copy on reserve at the library
  3. If UC doesn't have a copy of your book, then check the OhioLINK catalog


For Faculty

Why consider textbook alternatives for your students?
  • Address issues of affordability
  • Teach to diverse learning styles (students who prefer digital materials as well as those who prefer printed versions)
  • Respond to mandates from state and national legislation
How to expand textbook access for your students?
  • Allow used textbooks when possible
  • Order textbooks as early as possible (to facilitate optimal buy-back possibilities for the UC Bookstore)
  • Create e-reserve options (to make digital versions of texts available via University of Cincinnati Libraries)
How to avoid textbook-access problems?
  • Use course packets advisedly (as copyright costs might add significantly to the total cost of packets)
  • Address copyright problems
  • Warn students about incorrect editions (ideally through email via Blackboard in advance of opening day)
  • Be aware of any applicable technology limits (as some students may not have the digital resources needed to access some electronic texts)
Additional resources