Help! I Can’t Afford My Textbooks!

Posted on: May 10, 2024

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Students, if you’re feeling worried about how to pay for textbooks this semester, you’re not alone!

JMU Libraries offers several options to help students find affordable textbooks. We’ve created this list with ways we can help and additional ideas to try if we don’t have what you need.

Tips to Get You Started

Help! I Can’t Afford My Books!

Not everyone can afford expensive learning materials! Here are a few things you can do:

Check JMU Libraries

Ask Your Professor…

  • if an older, less expensive edition is similar enough
  • to check with JMU Libraries about putting a copy on Course Reserves or buying a copy for Course Reserves
  • to check with JMU’s Open Education Librarian about free and affordable course material alternatives

Get Creative

  • check the JMU Bookstore for used books and rental editions
  • submit an Interlibrary Loan request, and we will attempt to get a copy from another library for shorter-term use
  • borrow from or share with a friend
  • during enrollment, use the No/Low Cost filter in MyMadison to search for courses with required texts under $40

Advocate for Yourself

  • tell your professor, advisor, SGA, department head, and JMU administrators. They need to know this is an issue.

More Info

Let Your Voice Be Heard

If you have ideas for additional ways we can support JMU students, join our Student Advisory Board or send us an email at

Faculty, Partner with Us

Faculty, check out these 11 Easy Ways You Can Make Textbooks More Affordable. If you have questions about textbook affordability or Open Education at JMU, contact our Open Education Librarian, Liz Thompson.

Learn More

Read about the ways we’re working to make textbooks more affordable and our champion for open, affordable textbooks to learn more about why we are engaged with this work and what support is available for faculty who want to make their course materials more affordable for students. You can also check out this story from The Breeze about our affordable textbook initiatives.

Credit: This is a derivative of Help! I can’t afford my books! (http:/ by University Libraries Virginia Tech, licensed under CC-BY. JMU Libraries, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY).

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