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12 Ways to CALM Down Your Textbooks


  1. Take advantage of the open education resources (OER) directory we have compiled.  OERs are designed to be reused, remixed and shared, so you can customize your solution.
  2. Use the OER search box on the right to find OERs aligned with the content of your current texts. You can also search from within Cougar Courses.
  3. Use Library Materials and the library ereserves.Millions of high quality digital journal articles and over 150,000 e-books within the digital library collection are free for students.
    • Put copies of your textbook on the library reserves. You can determine the checkout length.  See the faculty reserves guidelines.
    • Suggest materials for library purchase. Librarians have an annual budget to purchase materials for the Library collection to support your courses, as well as request trial databases.  Contact your librarian.
  4. Don't Purchase Text Packs or Add-ons just for the quizzes and tests. These are very costly for students and the test banks can often be imported into Cougar Courses for free. Contact IDS for help with this.
  5. Don't be lured in by the publisher's offers to customize a text or lower the cost by offering it as a loose-leaf version, which cannot be resold.  While these appear to be cheaper options, in many cases students can purchase a used version of the full text at a lower cost.
  6. Use the News Forum in your course to let students know what materials will be required several weeks in advance of term starting dates and point them to our Find Lower Cost Textbooks page, so they can find the best solution for their needs and have the texts the first day of class. 
  7. Consider Sticking with older versions of texts. Publishers release “new” editions about every three years which typically cost 12% more than the previous edition. Let the bookstore know you want the older edition, or allow students to use any edition.
  8. Rent digital. The CSU’s Rent Digital Program is saving students 60% or more off new print textbook costs on over 50,000 popular titles.  All the major textbook publishers are participating. The downside - these books are usually a 3 month rental, so may end up costing more than a used copy of a physical text students can sell back.
  9. Are you using multiple texts but assigning just a portion of each text? Custom publishers such as XanEdu, or LAD Custom Publishing (through CSUSM bookstore) offer faculty the ability to create a custom text including articles, book chapters, web sites, and other materials. Custom publishers provide copyright clearance and a running total price as you build your book.
  10. Communicate with the campus bookstore
    • Submitting course material requests to the bookstore on time allows them to buy back books at the end of the semester and offer a sufficient supply of used books.
    • Let them know if you plan to use a book for at least two years and want the book available for rent.
    • When ordering materials, ask the bookstore for suggestions on reducing costs and or various packaging options.
  11. Talk to an Instructional Developer or contact the CALM team us at to get more ideas and resources.
  12. Visit the CSU Affordable Learning Solutions Website to find quality free or low cost course content, learn more about the Rent Digital program and listen to or view discussions of AL$ at

Free Open Education Resources

Find free education resources associated with your textbook by entering the ISBN # in the search below.

CSU Affordable Learning Solutions