11 Easy Ways Faculty Can Make Textbooks More Affordable

Posted on: January 5, 2024

Textbook costs are a serious issue for many JMU students: According to a Fall 2021 survey, 34% of JMU students chose not to enroll in a class due to the cost of textbooks, 20% dropped a class because of textbook costs, and 24% of students said they take fewer courses due to the cost of textbooks. 

Here are 11 ways you can help! 

1. Find out if JMU Libraries has a copy of your assigned text.

If so, provide students with a link to the resource. Click “Permalink,” then “Copy the Permalink to Clipboard,” then share the link on Canvas or in your syllabus.

2. Limit checkout times on our high-demand books.

Use this form to lower checkout times to 4 hours or 4 days through Course Reserves. This allows more students to use the same library book.

3. Ask us to digitize your text.

Upon request, we can digitize some items for students to use through Digital Course Reserves.

4. Place personal books or items on Course Reserve.

Bring or mail them to the library where you want them to be on reserve, and you’ll get them back when the semester is over. 

5. Ask us to purchase a book to put on Course Reserve.

If your assigned text is not in JMU’s collection, you can contact reserves@jmu.edu to ask that the text be considered for purchase. If the text is not for Course Reserves, contact your liaison librarian instead.

6. Tell students about Interlibrary Loan.

Most items not in our collection can still be borrowed using Interlibrary Loan. While ILL cannot always replace purchasing a text because of limits on checkout times or availability, it may meet a short-term need.

7. Let students use an older edition of a text.

You may be able to cut textbook costs in half by allowing students to use a previous version. If you only need one chapter from the newest edition, we may be able to scan it for you to share with your class.

8. Try open textbooks or course materials.

We can help you find open and affordable course content. Also, grants of $4,000 to $50,000 are available for switching to open textbooks. You can also join our self-paced workshop, Get Started Using Open Textbooks, which includes a $200 stipend.

9. Mark your course as “No/Low Cost” in MyMadison.

If your course materials total $40 or less at the JMU Bookstore, alert the relevant staff in your department so they can add this info to Course Scheduler. This will allow students to find your class when they filter for “No/Low Cost Course Materials” in MyMadison.

10. Reach out to our Open Education Librarian.

Liz Thompson can help you find high-quality free and affordable course materials, create your own course content with JMU Libraries Pressbooks, and more.

11. Let your students know we can help!

Share our infographic for students in your syllabus or Canvas announcements, and let students know they can Ask the Library if they need help accessing the text. 

Learn more

In JMU Libraries, we’re working hard to make textbooks more freely available for JMU students. Check out this story from The Breeze or visit our website to learn more about how we promote Open Educational Resources at JMU.

Categorised in: , ,