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Lemieux Library

Textbook Options

These Library resources and tips will help students explore some of the ways they can save money on course materials. We're also to continue expanding the Textbook Initiative AY23-24––an initiative aimed to save students money on textbooks. If you have any questions about all of this, please reach out to Dean Sarah Barbara Watstein:

Library Resources

Check Course Reserves

As part of the Library’s commitment to increasing students’ access to information, we continue reducing the number of print reserves, while expanding the offering of course materials as electronic reserves. For most courses, your instructor will provide links to these items within your Canvas course site.

If needed, we’re happy to place a physical item on reserve or acquire print format to accommodate scanning chapters within applicable copyright law. For print reserves, search the Library Catalog (Primo) by course, instructor or title for the item you need. Print and media reserves can be checked out at the floor 3 Circulation Desk. Reserve materials have limited loan periods.

Check Canvas

Check Canvas to see if your instructor has added scanned book chapters and/or links to journal articles provided by the Library.

Search Primo (online library catalog)

Search Primo for your textbook. Your textbook might be available as an eBook.

Borrow from Summit

You may also request a print copy through Summit, a free service provided by the Orbis Cascade Alliance that allows you to search and request books and media from academic libraries in the Pacific Northwest. Summit books are checked out for 6 weeks or until the end of the current term, whichever comes first. Most Summit items are eligible for a single renewal.

Borrow from Interlibrary Loan

You may also request a print copy through InterLibrary Loan, a free service through which you can request research materials, such as books, journal articles, book chapters, videos, and other materials that are not available in the Seattle University Library or in Summit. Textbook availability is limited, and loan periods vary depending on lending library policies.

Campus Resources

Campus Store

The Campus Store sells and rents assigned course materials in both new and used, as well as physical and electronic formats. They will also buy back your used textbooks to help recoup costs. The Library is pleased to partner with the Campus Store and support the many steps the Campus Store has taken to improve access and affordability at Seattle University. 

Online Resources

There are many online retailers that offer convenience and low prices––comparison shop online to find the best price for your textbooks. We have curated a select list of online bookstores to help explore the options available.

Their website is very user-friendly, they ship internationally, and they have an extensive selection of books of all types.


This online bookstore operates only through third-party booksellers. That means when you buy a book from Alibris, you're buying it from an independent bookstore. The website frequently offers discounts––check out their section of $0.99 titles! Alibris also offers free shipping on all items. The downside is the complicated return policy. Because you are buying from different independent sellers, the policy differs on a seller-by-seller basis. Make sure you understand the policy for your seller before committing to a purchase.

Barnes and Noble

If you are looking for a bookseller that is not Amazon, Barnes & Noble is a solid bet. Barnes & Noble is one of the largest online book retailers, with more than five million titles to choose from and hundreds of physical bookstores. Check out Barnes and Noble if you're looking to buy a lot of items at once without overpaying for shipping; it's free once you meet the minimum order threshold of $35. And if you're not satisfied you have 14 days to return your books.


BetterWorldBooks isn't just a bookstore, but also a charity with a mission to change the world by improving literacy worldwide. Aside from buying and selling books, the company accepts book donations so it can either reuse them in global literacy initiatives or properly recycle them. There are plenty of choices in both new and used book categories. The company also offers free shipping and a flexible return policy (though keep in mind that refunds might take up to 60 days to clear into your account).


Biblio specializes in used, rare, and out-of-print books from independent booksellers, meaning the titles you will find on Biblio are very unlikely to pop up on Amazon's bookstore. The site offers a 30-day return guarantee and free carbon neutral shipping.


Books-A-Million (BAM) is now the second-largest book retailer in the United States. BAM offers a diverse inventory that includes new, used, and bargain books—often with attractive price tags. The biggest downside of BAM is the lack of support for selling your own books. is trying to take on Amazon by supporting local and independent booksellers. It offers several tools to this end, including a map of local stores that let you direct 100% of the profit to a particular outlet, as well as an affiliate program that gives 10% of the profit to participating shops. Better yet, 75% of all profit goes to stores, publications, and authors in the wider book community.

Elliott Bay Book Company

Seattle's legendary independent bookstore since 1973. Located three blocks from campus with over 150,000 titles on their shelves as well as a large collection of remainders. They also host a robust schedule of author readings and events, including Seattle University authors. They offer special order services as well as shipping and in-store pickup.


Peachpit is a Pearson brand that specializes in selling books and other educational materials to those in creative fields. You'll find a wide range of photography-related titles, everything you need to get started with Adobe Photoshop, academic resources for web design and development, and video-making guides. The drawback is that some titles feel pricey. However, Peachpit does offer a system of discounts, including deals of the week, and promotional "bundles" to help you save money.

Powell’s Books

Based in Portland, Oregon, Powell’s website is easy to use and well-organized. You can find both new and used books there, as well as various pieces of software, CDs, and DVDs. They are more expensive than some of their competitors. The company's return policy is also surprisingly strict; you cannot get a refund on orders for books in quantities of 10 or more (of the same title), nor on opened games, DVDs, or books that come with electronic media.

Valore Books

Valore Books is an online bookstore that specializes in textbooks. It presents a great opportunity to save money on textbooks by purchasing used copies and/or older editions. The website also offers book rentals at an even lower cost, as well as buybacks. The two features simultaneously allow you to save money and for the company to grow its inventory of rentable books for other users. You won't find any non-textbooks for sale.


Thriftbooks is one of the best online bookstores for cheap and used books. Every used book in the site's inventory is hand-graded so you'll have a precise understanding of the quality of the book before you hit the buy button. It offers some of the most competitive prices anywhere on the web and the selection is impressive. In part, that's down to the large number of users who donate books. However, it is mostly due to the company's relationship with libraries that send lots of ex-library books which allow them to resell to the consumer at rock bottom prices.

Check Open Educational Resources (OERs)

Check Open Educational Resources (OERs)

Below are links to resources for locating Open Educational Resources (OERs). OERs are educational materials that can be used and re-used freely, because they're either in the public domain or are openly licensed. Can be reused, revised, remixed, and redistributed due to the author’s/creator’s pre-selection of a creative commons license. This license allows other interested parties to use the resource as they wish, but places stipulations on those permissions like attribution, share alike, and non-commercial. OERs can also be called open textbooks or open source textbooks. 

Google Books

Provides online access to full-text books in the public domain. Use the drop-down menu to limit your results to “full text,” and check the date to ensure that the item is in the public domain.

Project Gutenberg

Find more than 34,000 full-text eBooks in the public domain. In other words, no individual owns these works; rather, they are owned by the public. What does that mean exactly? Simply, anyone can use a public domain work without obtaining permission and without citing the original author, but no one can ever own it.

Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB)

DOAB is a community-driven discovery service that indexes and provides access to scholarly, peer-reviewed open access books and helps users to find trusted open access book publishers. All DOAB services are free of charge and all data is freely available.

Additional Tips

Additional Tips

  • Contact your instructor to discuss reduced cost options, such as using an older edition. In many situations the newer editions are not significantly different from the older editions. Older editions are typically cheaper than the newer edition, and more readily available from a library.

  • Explore financial assistance options, including scholarships, short-term loans, and other non-monetary assistance.

  • Find out what the required textbooks are early. This allows you more time to find books at the best possible prices.

  • Buy used from a bookstore or online. This can save 25% or more off the cover price. Typically, these books have been inspected by the store and are in good shape. The supply is often limited and only available on a first-come, first-served basis.

  • Buy new from other countries. In some cases, the same book may be selling overseas at a lower price. (e.g. It is important to make sure the book is really in stock, that you are purchasing the correct edition, and you are aware of shipping costs and delivery dates.