Textbooks and KU Libraries
KU Libraries do not systematically purchase textbooks used in KU classes for our collections. While we recognize that the high cost of textbooks is a growing concern for students and instructors across the country, there are a number of reasons that it is difficult for the Libraries to purchase and lend textbooks. These include:
- One copy isn’t sufficient for the class size.
- Textbooks quickly go out of date with new editions frequently published.
- Electronic versions often have supplementary material that only one person is allowed to access.
- Print textbooks are frequently stolen.
- Library collection budgets set by the University cannot sustain the ever-rising costs of textbooks.
Find textbooks available in the KU Libraries
- Search KU Libraries Course Reserves for items placed on reserve by instructor, department or course number to see if the instructor has placed any copies of the textbook on reserve in the library.
- Ask the instructor to place a library-owned copy or a personal copy of the textbook on reserve for short term loan.
- Check the KU Libraries catalog to determine if the textbook is available within the KU Libraries’ collections either in print or in an electronic format. Remember that print books may be recalled by other library users.
- Request the textbook through Interlibrary Loan. This service will take time, and a new edition of a textbook may not be available for loan.
- Visit this KU Bookstore site to find price comparisons for textbooks. You can choose between new, used or textbook rental options from the KU Bookstore and other online retailers.
The University is investigating a variety of initiatives to assist in reducing the high cost of textbooks. At the Libraries, we are piloting projects to encourage instructors to adopt open-source (free, digital, openly-licensed) textbooks for their classes. More information from the University and Libraries, as projects take shape, will be forthcoming.