A guide to saving money on textbooks

28 August 2018

Don Unger

[email protected]

    In the beginning, college is crazy. Aside from finding one’s footing, one finds that there are all sorts of costs associated with school. For example,  parking permits, tuition, rent and of course, books.

    At first, it might seem overwhelming when you’re trying to manage your finances, but with the use of the guide and tips below, you might just survive some of these unruly costs.

    The bookstore may be a great place to start when trying to find your textbooks, but because of its high costs, fluctuating availability of materials, confusing return policies and many students are missing out on its convenience and taking their business elsewhere.

    If you’re in the market to save money on books at UCCS, and are looking to save money, there are several resources available for you to consider.


The Kraemer Family Library

    The Kraemer Family Library has a multitude of resources, both in print and online, to help you find whatever you need.

   The librarians are also more than happy to answer your questions. “That’s what we’re here for,” said Sue Byerley, the Faculty Director of Instructional and Research Services. Librarians regularly staff the research assistance desk to assist students with library related questions.

    There’s even an archive upstairs accessible to students by appointment with Archives Librarian and Digital Repository Coordinator & Instructor Mary Rupp. “You can reach us via phone, chat, email and text and this information is available on the KFL homepage,” said Byerley.

    A great new resource the library just placed on its homepage is the textbook search tool.

    This allows students to access course textbooks by keyword, title, author, course number and instructor name.

    According to the library webpage, The Library keeps some textbooks on course reserve behind the Main Circulation Desk. You can borrow them for a short period of time, which varies by book. Search for books by title or course number. If you know the book’s ISBN, you can do a keyword search.

    The self-service book scanner is another great resource worthy of mention.

    This kiosk, located on the main level of the library, is handy for scanning books on reserve that are only available for a short duration.

    According to Joel Tonyan, Systems and User Experience Librarian, the book scanner allows students to send the scanned book image in a variety of formats to include docx, png and pdf, as well as the option to convert the text scanned into an mp3 audio file and then easily send it to Google Drive or Dropbox.   

  “Students should use these services because they pay for them already,” said Tonyan.


The Prospector System

    If you cannot find the book you need in the library, then you can go to go to the Prospector search system. This online resource allows you to access works from a collection of libraries across the region.    

    While these books are available to you for a limited amount of time, it is a completely free way to get books as long as you can return them in time.


Interlibrary Loan (ILL)

    Once you’ve exhausted Prospector as a resource, there’s still one final option before breaking down and buying used or new books.

    The ILL system gives students access to documents and books located across the continent. While this system does require you to register an account, it is handy for finding books and articles not available online or in the print collection at the library.

    See more about ILL on the the library homepage in the library guide to find out about availability.


Online Resources

    Most often, if you need a textbook, the cheapest legal way to procure it is to rent it.

    There are also ebook retailers for those of you wishing to save a few bucks. For students who want to buy used books or rent, there are several online sources available, but like used online books and e-formats, this adds up quickly.

    The UCCS bookstore has a good tool to help students compare book prices across formats and retailers.

UCCS Library | Search for Textbooks | Prospector Home | Interlibrary Loan | Textbook Price Comparisons