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14 Ways to CALM Down Your Textbooks

  1. Participate in the twice-yearly CALM call for faculty proposals to reduce their textbook costs.
    • Consult the faculty heroes page and talk with the faculty in related disciplines - CHABSSCEHHSCSTEM, or COBA - that have already CALMEd one or more of their courses.

Use Open Education Resources

  1. Visit the Cool4ed website to learn how faculty in the CSUs, California Community Colleges and the UCs are using OER materials and read detailed peer reviews of OER textbooks. 
  2. 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.
  3. Use the OER search box on the right to find OERs aligned with the content of your current texts. 
  4. Use Library Materials and the library ereserves. Millions of high quality digital journal articles and over 170,000 e-books within the digital library collection are free for students.

Use Library Materials

  1. Put copies of your textbook on the library reserves. You can determine the checkout length.  See the faculty reserves guidelines.
  2. 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.

Commercial Publishers

If you're in love with your textbook, or just stuck with it:

  1. Negotiate with the publisher. Many faculty have negotiated a 30% to 50% cost reduction with their publisher. Do some cost comparisons of other potential texts for your course beforehand.
    • Check the price each year, publishers have been known to raise  even negotiated price in subsequent years. 
  2. Don't be lured in by the publisher's offers - know your options and the costs.
    • 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.
    • Be aware - loose-leaf versions cannot be resold!
    •  Customized texts may appear to be a cheaper option, but in many cases students can purchase a used version of the full text at a lower cost.
  3. 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.
  4. See whether one of these lower-cost alternatives might work for your course.
  5. 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. 

Work with the Bookstore 

When ordering materials, ask the bookstore for suggestions on reducing costs and or various packaging options.

  1. 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.
      • If you don't want to use the new edition, make sure you let the bookstore know not to substitute it. 
      • Let them know if you plan to use a book for at least two years and want the book available for rent.
  2. Talk to an Instructional Developer or contact the CALM team us at to get more ideas and resources.