Free Downloads / Open Source

Many books that are no longer copyrighted can be downloaded for free.


Ask for Unbundled Textbooks

Many textbooks come ‘bundled’ with CD-ROMSs and workbooks. Ask your professor to consider assigning unbundled textbooks (i.e. just the textbook) if he/she is not going to use the supplementary material.

Bookshelves in a library

The University Office of Computing and Information Services has compiled this fact sheet to help students save money when purchasing textbooks. This list is not exhaustive, so students are encouraged to research other options. Be sure to check with your professor that the version of the textbook you select can be used in your class.

Campus Options

Library: Your campus library may have a copy of the textbook you need. CUNY Libraries Catalog

Bookstore: Your campus bookstore may offer ebooks or have rental programs.

Purchase Used Textbooks

Used textbooks are cheaper than new textbooks. You can purchase used textbooks from your campus bookstore or online.



Electronic versions of textbooks are often cheaper than print versions. All major retailers sell eBooks. If you do not see the eBook listed on the retailers website, check the website of the book publisher for an electronic version. Campus libraries also collect eBooks.

Comparison Shop

Use ISBN numbers to comparison shop among the major retail sites or use sites that compare prices from multiple sources.


Online Book Swaps

Certain sites are set up to allow you to trade books with others online.


Rent Textbooks

Certain sites are set up to allow you to rent textbooks for a designated timeframe. Make sure to return your books on time as late fees can be substantial. Be clear on terms and conditions of rental.

* This information is provided solely for your convenience and CUNY accepts no responsibility for the content of the listed sites. The listing of a company or site does not imply CUNY endorsement of the company, or a site’s content, products, or services. CUNY makes no warranties, either express or implied, concerning the accuracy, completeness, timeliness, or suitability of the information contained on listed sites, or that every useful site is listed. Transactions made as a result of this information are the exclusive responsibility of the student.