The Holy Grail of Your Textbooks Troubles

By Jazz Scott on November 19, 2019

Ever wondered what it’d be like if textbooks didn’t cost money? Imagine, a couple of nights out for dinner, more trips to your favorite coffee shop, finally buying that novel you’ve been eyeing at your local bookshop or more importantly; saving money! With sky-high prices on your most important textbooks, it may seem like a distant dream, however, you’ve got it all wrong or at least partially.

So are you curious? As the title suggests, you should have no fear, the holy grail of your textbook troubles is here! So sit back and relax as I take you for a ride on the savings train.

Library Genesis

We’ll start off strong but also lazy. Without further ado, I bring to you Library Genesis! Out of all my efforts to save on textbooks, this method has proven to be the laziest yet surprisingly most helpful.

To put your questions at ease, I’ll provide an example of when Library Genesis saved me money. Being the journalism major that I am, I was required to have the third edition of “Creating Effective Groups” by Randy Fujishin in my “Intro to Speech Communication” course. Through my campus store, the textbook would have been $40 to buy digitally, $81.75 to buy used and $109 to buy new. Thanks to Library Genesis, I was able to download a PDF copy of the textbook for free. At the very least I saved $40 which may not seem like much but it’s something!

So how should you use Library Genesis? The website is anything but “state-of-the-art,” however, you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover (no pun intended). It’s all about “that” content! The homepage has a search bar and different search tools. To avoid confusion, I’ve laid out two rules to search for your textbooks. If you’d like to use more specific or vague parameters in your search, please feel free!

  1. Search Bar: Although you can input anything from the title to the author(s), the most effective way to find your textbook is by inputting the ISBN.

  2. Search in Fields: Select the ISBN option to achieve a more precise search.

It’s as simple as that! Once you’ve input all the appropriate information and click “Search!” you’ll see results on the following page.

As much as I’d like to say this method works 100% of the time, I can’t. With that said, don’t get discouraged. An alternative trick is to search for an older or newer version of your textbook that is similar to the version you’re required to have. If you can’t find any of your textbooks, try again next semester/quarter/trimester. Trust me, it’ll be worth it. Ultimately, this is the best route to go for saving on textbooks. I am eternally grateful to the person who showed me this source; you know who you are!


Okay, so say you can’t find any of your textbooks through Library Genesis. What alternatives do you have? Although a little more time consuming, your next best bet is the library. Yes, I said it! Time to be that “bookworm” you’ve either always aspired to be or despised. I will break this part into two sections in order for you to successfully find your textbooks through the library.

The first library we should focus on is your school library. Your school library is a great option for finding the required readings for your courses. You’ll find them especially helpful when it comes to smaller or less expensive required readings. For example, instead of paying $7 – $10, I rented “The Bhagavad Gita” from my school library for my “Philosophy of the Human Person” course.

Lastly, your community/city/town library is another great alternative for finding the required readings for your courses. Your local library is a great option for the same reason as your school library, however, you can also sometimes find larger or more important required textbooks for your courses. For example, instead of buying a used copy for $33.75, I was able to rent “The Natural History of the Puget Sound” from the Seattle Public Library for my “A Sound Ecosystem” course. Once again, I’ve saved money!

You might ask, “What if I need my required reading for the whole semester/quarter/trimester?” In my experience, I’ve been able to renew my library rentals. If you find that you are unable to renew library rentals, you could scan or take pictures of the required sections you might need later in the course.


In simple terms, textbooks can be an annoyance, especially for your wallet. If you’re broke, want to save money or would rather spend money on something else; hopefully, this guide is able to help you. Library Genesis might be a god but don’t overlook your local and school libraries. If you were paying attention, just through 3 examples, I’ve saved about $80.75 at least. Don’t settle for your campus store or Amazon, you can save too!

By Jazz Scott

Uloop Writer

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The Oxford Guide to Library Research

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