Textbooks in the Library

The library does not normally purchase textbooks, but this page gives some options.

On this page:


New: UH Hilo is beginning to label course sections as Textbook Cost: $0 (TXT0) in STAR and on the class availability list.

Course Reserves

If the instructor has an extra copy of the textbook he / she can choose to place it in the Course Reserves collection.

To see if your instructor has done this, do a Course Reserves search in LibCat (UH Hilo / Hawaiʻi CC) - the easiest way is to look up your instructor's name. If your instructor isn't listed, ask him / her if an extra copy is available to place on reserve.


A copy of the textbook or a previous edition might have been donated to the library's collection. Be aware that another patron can recall a book, so you might not be able to check it out for the entire semester.

Check LibCat.

Open Educational Resources

OER - Open Educational Resources = free! online textbooks and other learning materials, including videos. Ask your instructor if he / she has investigated the OER possibilities - some are peer-reviewed! OER are also good supplemental materials if you are having difficulty with a concept.

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! Ask your instructor to 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.

Older Editions

Ask your instructor if it's critical to use the most current edition - since some change little from one edition to the next, it may be okay if you use a previous edition - but you probably don't want to use one more than two editions older than the current. Older editions may be found at many online retailers, including:

However, be aware that these purchases can take many weeks to arrive.

Online Purchase

Even if you 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 Business course uses this as an alternative to the $115 traditional textbook: the AMS online-only book is $38.95 while a black and white text + online is only $54.95. Ask your instructor if he / she has explored this option.


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

However, be aware that these purchases can take many weeks to arrive.