Textbooks in the Library: Availability and Options

How the Library can and can't help with student textbooks.


Q: Does the Library have textbooks?

A: Mostly no

Unfortunately, the Library does not typically buy current textbooks being used in classes.  The Library’s mission is to support CSUF’s curriculum with supplemental  resources beyond textbooks, not be a warehouse for textbooks.  Even if the Library did stock current textbooks, it would only end up helping a few—who happen to check-out the books first—leaving thousands of others unserved.

A: But sometimes yes

There are sometimes cases when a textbook will be in the library.  For example, if a copy of the textbook was donated to the library.  Or if your professor put a copy in the library on “Reserve” (typically a 3-hour checkout).  Or if your professor assigned a regular book to be a textbook (example: if you are taking a literature class and have to read Shakespeare’s Hamlet…yes, we have copies of that in the library!)  So to check if the library has a textbook, search the library’s OneSearch search boxHamlet library book  
- Search by Title or Author
- You can also search by the ISBN # too, but don’t rely on it only…textbooks can have varying ISBN #’s
- If you find your textbook, make sure it is the same edition!  An older edition may not have the same content 


Other libraries might have your textbook.  When searching the library's OneSearch catalog, you can see if your textbook is available at another CSU campus library.  If it is, you can borrow it directly from OneSearch, and it will be shipped here (for free) for you to pickup at the library's Circulation Desk.  However, keep in mind it is not always likely your request will be successful.  Other CSU libraries frequently put "local campus use only" restrictions on new textbooks.  Similarly, in the WorldCat catalog, you might see your textbook available at a non-CSU library (UC campus, private university, etc.). You can try requesting it as an Interlibrary Loan request, but again, it is not always likely that it will be loaned...new textbooks often have "local campus use only" restrictions.                                                                                                                                         Big Truck for delivering books


The CSUF Titan bookstore offers textbook rentals on many textbooks. Renting is significantly cheaper than buying, especially if you don’t plan to keep the textbook for future reference. Details are here http://www.titanbookstore.com/SelectTermDept.aspx   If the CSUF Titan bookstore doesn’t have your textbook for rent, there are many textbook rental vendors online:Books for rent


The CSUF Titan bookstore offers many textbooks as e-books.  E-books are cheaper than printed textbooks.  You can see if the bookstore sells your textbook as an e-book here:  http://www.titanbookstore.com/SelectTermDept.aspx  If they don’t have your book as an e-book, the vendors below sell e-book textbooks. Warning: check the terms of e-books carefully before purchasing; many cannot be returned/refunded.
Ÿ  www.amazon.com/textbooks 

Ÿ  https://play.google.com/store/books/collection/promotion_1000568_txb_product?hl=en hands holding e-book reader

Ÿ  www.vitalsource.com
Ÿ  www.textbooks.com/etextbooks.php 
Ÿ  www.ecampus.com/etextbooks.asp 


CSUF Titan Shop's bookstore has a “Lowest Price Guarantee”: shop online sites for the lowest price…then show that price to the bookstore and they’ll match it, PLUS give you 25% of the difference. Details are here: http://www.titanshops.com/lowest-price-guarantee low price guarantee sign


Off campus, the following has CSUF textbooks & rentals:Little Professor storefront



There are a growing number of online sites to buy textbooks.  The following sites below are known to be legitimate search sites.  When buying online, keep in mind the trade-offs: shipping and delays.  If your book is $25 cheaper than a local bookstore, but your shipping cost is $19.99 and you have to wait 2 weeks, is the $5 difference really worth the delay and hassle?   Also, check their return policy; will they pre-pay returns if they send you the wrong edition?  If not, you’re stuck with paying.

www.amazon.com/textbooks - draws from its own inventory, plus 1000’s of affiliates.  Now rents books too.
www.barnesandnoble.com/textbooks - likewise; its own inventory & affiliates.  Now rents books too.
www.half.ebay.com/textbooks - a part of ebay; buy & sell textbooks (must create an account)
www.ecampus.com - one of the largest online textbook sites; rent/buy/sell textbooks 
www.textbooks.com - also large; buy/sell/rent textbooks. Free shipping on orders over $25
www.bookbyte.com – buy, sell, or rent textbooks. Free shipping on orders over $50
www.cheapesttextbooks.com - same; serves as a broker; brings you 1000’s of sellers at once
www.directtextbook.com/ - same; serves as a broker; brings you 1000’s of sellers at once
www.bigwords.com - same; serves as a broker; brings you 1000’s of sellers at once
www.slugbooks.com - same; serves as a broker; brings you 1000’s of sellers at once

www.powells.com/section/textbooks/ - like Amazon, one of the largest bookstores in America
www.abebooks.com/books/Textbooks/ - same; one of the largest online bookstores
www.collegebooksdirect.com - claims to only sell books in-stock (no delays/false promises)
www.cheap-textbooks.com/ -  claims to offer real-time price comparisons 
www.campusbooks.com/ - another buy/sell/rent site 
http://fullerton.uloop.com/forsale/index.php/textbook - same; classifieds (at your own risk)
http://orangecounty.craigslist.org/bks/ - same; classifieds (at your own risk)


All non-CSUF sites listed in this guide are for informational purpose only.  CSUF & the Pollak Library do not endorse or affiliate with any of these sites.
© CSUF  August 2017   Compiled by Librarians Rob Sage & John Hickok 

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