Textbook Information

Buying Textbooks and Course Materials

Textbooks are available at a variety of on-campus locations, including numerous campus-area bookstores.

Students may also be required to purchase course packets, lab equipment, and/or art materials. These items are available at campus or local stores.

Textbooks can be expensive, and some cost-saving alternatives are available. Students should be sure to purchase the correct textbook edition. The International Standard Book Number (ISBN), the 10 or 13-digit number that uniquely identifies books published internationally, is included in the textbooks listings if the instructor has provided it.

eTexts and other digital course materials are becoming more and more available to students for a fraction of the cost of printed materials. Read more about the campus’s eText pilot program.

Alternatives to Buying New Textbooks

  1. Look early for used copies. Check local bookstores that buy back textbooks.
  2. Borrow from a campus library.
    1. Campus libraries have copies of many course texts available for short-term loan (including high-cost textbooks funded with support from the UW Foundation Parent Fund).
    2. Visit the libraries’ website for details.
  3. Consider renting through a local bookstore or online textbook rental website.
  4. Consider purchasing textbooks online.
  5. Consider using online textbooks or ebooks.
    1. For students who own iPads, Kindles or other tablet devices, textbooks may be purchased and/or rented at a lower price than printed copies.

*Note: Independent websites and/or stores for purchasing and/or renting textbooks are private companies and are not affiliated with or endorsed by UW-Madison.