Answered By: Sarah Morehouse
Last Updated: Dec 28, 2017     Views: 123

The library doesn't carry textbooks for courses, mainly because the textbook publishers don't make them available as multi-user e-books that libraries can get a license for. 

All textbooks and course packs assigned in your courses are made available through the Empire State College bookstore. To buy textbooks, go to the Bookstore's textbook buying page at . 

Course packs can only be obtained from the college bookstore. Textbooks can often be obtained from online book sellers, sometimes at a lower price. However please keep in mind that you need to get the edition that was assigned because page numbers, chapters, and supplemental materials often change drastically between editions. 

Graduate students do have access to Interlibrary Loan services, however we strongly advise against trying to use Interlibrary Loan for textbooks because the loan period is only 30 days. (That is not something we set; we have asked for a longer loan period and the lenders do not want to extend it because they have their own students to look out for.) 

The college, the SUNY system, and the state government are very aware of the burden that high textbook costs places on students and are working together to look into multiple options to solve the problem. It's safe to say at this point that it will take time and it will take a patchwork of partial solutions to make a real difference. If your textbooks are too expensive for you to afford, inform your course instructor or mentor right away. Please be kind - the person you talk to may not be the one who chose the textbook, or may not have had more affordable alternatives to choose from. But it is important for them to know the difficulties you are working under.

Step by step for getting your textbooks through the bookstore 

Bookstore textbook buying page at

You will need to know your course and section numbers!

  1. Select your term.
  2. Select your department.
  3. Select your course.
  4. Select your section.
  5. Click Add Course To List. 
    Your list appears on the right side of the page. 
    If you have mistakenly added a course to your list, you can click the X to remove it.
  6. Repeat until you have all your courses.
  7. Click Get Your Books.
  8. You will now be at your Shopping Cart.
    Under each title there may "Required" in red, bold print. This means that you cannot complete the course without this resource.
    Non-required materials may be supplemental, or you may be choose one of several. Always consult your syllabus to figure out which of the non-required materials you will need. 
    You can sometimes select New or Used.
    You can also adjust the quantity to 0 if you do not wish to purchase a particular item.
  9. When you are done updating your Shopping Cart, click Purchase and fill in your address, payment, information, etc. and submit that.

If you wish to purchase books elsewhere, be sure to get the ISBN! It is important to get the correct edition and that it comes with all the supplementary materials.

If your course uses Open Textbooks or OERs there will be readings that are listed in the syllabus and at the bookstore, but are actually free and they will be available in the course. You may have the option of buying a print copy, but if it is an OER/Open Textbook, you do not have to, because you will be able to read it online for free.

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