Skip to main content
* UC Irvine access only

Databases To Get You Started: Textbooks


Tips on Finding Textbooks*

Need a textbook?  Short on money?  Look here for help!

This UCI Libraries tip sheet suggests ways that students can save money on textbooks.

  • Keep in mind that many textbooks have multiple editions. Check with your instructor to make sure that the version of the textbook you select can be used in your class.
  • Use ISBN numbers (ex.: ISBN: 9780495599791) to search accurately for the exact textbook needed. Please note, hardcover and paperback books with the same title will have different ISBN numbers.
  • Please note: Textbooks are not available through Interlibrary Loan.  (Policy found here

On-Campus Textbook Options

  • UCI Libraries ( Your textbook may be available on Course Reserves at the Langson Library or Ayala Science Library. Search by Professor or Course Name (Department and number) in the ANTPAC catalog ( under Course Reserves.  Make a note of the Call Number for the Item and take it to the Check Out Desk at the Langson or Ayala Science Library.
  • The Hill: UCI Campus Bookstore (
    You can purchase course books, including course textbooks at The Hill: UCI's Campus Bookstore. Some textbooks are also available to rent -- see below for more information.
  • Purchase Used Textbooks
    Used textbooks are cheaper than new textbooks. You often can purchase used textbooks from The Hill: UCI Campus Bookstore, A+ College Textbook, or online.

Rent Textbooks

Certain sites, including the UCI Campus Bookstore, allow you to rent textbooks for a designated timeframe. Make sure to return your books on time as late fees will accrue. Be clear on terms and conditions of rental.

Open Source Textbooks

Open textbooks are high-quality college texts with an "open" copyright license allowing the material to be freely accessed, shared and adapted.   Open textbooks are typically distributed online at no cost and can be purchased in a variety of other print and digital formats at a low cost, including hard bound copies.  Places to look for open source textbooks include:

You can learn about efforts to make textbooks more affordable here:


This page was inspired by a UC Riverside Libraries Tip Sheet on Finding Textbooks.

Thank you to Sherry Agustin for her work in adapting the information for the UC Irvine Libraries.


*The small print
This information is provided solely for your convenience and the UCI Libraries accepts no responsibility for the content of the listed sites. The listing of a company or site does not imply UCI endorsement of the company, or a site's content, products, or services. UCI makes no warranties, either express or implied, concerning the accuracy, completeness, timeliness, or suitability of the information contained on listed sites, or that every useful site is listed. Transactions made as a result of this information are the exclusive responsibility of the student.

What is an ISBN and why do I need it?

ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number.  Online book vendors use it as an accurate and reliable way to search for a specific edition of book.    Use the ISBN Search to locate the ISBN for titles you are interested in purchasing.  You can also find the ISBN in the ANTPAC and Melvyl catalogs and on the bookstore's listing for coursebooks. 

Typical location of ISBN on the back of a book

The Wikipedia article on ISBN's will tell you more than you ever wanted to know about about them.

Free Downloads

Many books that are no longer in copyright can be downloaded for free.

Course Reserves--Faculty and Instructors