Textbook Options for Faculty

New: UH Hilo is beginning to label course sections as Textbook Cost: $0 (TXT0) in STAR and on the class availability list. Read about what TXT0 means and how to designate your course section as TXT0 using a simple two-step process.

Please support our students by lowering their textbook expenses if possible.

On this page:

Myths and Facts

The Bookstore can't order older editions of a textbook.
The Bookstore can't order new copies of older editions of a textbook, but for classes of fewer than 30 students, the Bookstore may be able to order used copies of an older edition - which are cheaper! Contact the Bookstore at (808) 932-7394 to check on this possibility.
All free, open textbooks are junk.
Peer-Reviewed free, open textbooks are available.
Hundreds of universities , including 19 of UH Hilo's peer and benchmark institutions, are using the high-quality open textbooks from OpenStax to lower student costs.

No-Cost Options

Library Reserves

The Mookini Library encourages placing a copy of the textbook on Course Reserves, making a single copy (or two!) easily available to all students in a course. Details available on the Course Reserves page.

Online Library Book

The Mookini Library subscribes to several ebook collections - students would have free online access as well as download and print options. See the Ebooks (Hawaiʻi CC, UH Hilo) page for the various collections.

Faculty Lending

If you have multiple copies of the text, consider your own lending program. By asking students to donate their texts at the end of the semester, you can build up your own library for future students.

Open Educational Resources (OER)

On our OER guide, explore peer-reviewed OER materials, be inspired by how other faculty are using OER in the classroom and for tenure/promotion, and learn how to create your own OER. Isn't it worth an hour or two to see if you could offer your students a $0 textbook course?

Lower-Cost Options

IDAP Direct to Laulima

Through the Interactive Digital Access Program (IDAP) the UH Bookstore System can load interactive digital course materials directly into Laulima! Contact the UH Hilo Bookstore at (808) 932-7394 to find out about providing textbooks and other learning materials to students at the lowest negotiated publisher price from Cengage, McGraw-Hill, Norton, Pearson, Wiley, and others. The price of the digital course material through IDAP can be up to 70% cheaper than printed materials. Please support our students by lowering their textbook expenses if possible.

Older Editions

If it's not critical that students use the most current edition (some change little from one edition to the next) let them know that it's okay if they use a previous edition - but give them a limit of how far back to go. Older editions may be requested used through the UH Hilo Bookstore (see Myths box) and can also be found at many online retailers, including:

However, students should be warned that these purchases can take many weeks to arrive.

Online Purchase

Even if students need the most current edition, it may be cheaper to purchase online at the retailers listed above, although again, shipping time may be a constraint.

Academic Media Solutions provides low-cost online or online+print textbooks. A current UH Hilo professor is using this as an alternative to the $115 traditional textbook: an AMS online-only book is $38.95 and the option for online + a black and white text is only $54.95.


It is now possible to rent some textbooks for a fraction of the purchase price - possibly ideal if a student is reasonably certain they won't want to keep the text, e.g., a class outside the major.

Again, shipping times may be a concern.