Common Ways of Obtaining Textbooks

Review common ways of obtaining textbooks and other materials needed for courses. Textbooks are not covered by tuition.

From the GW Bookstore

Course material information for all students is available at go.gwu.edu/coursematerials and via gwshops.com. Students may purchase from either site. The majority of course materials listed as books are also available digitally. GW is offering free shipping on course materials and supplies during August, and an email with the code will be sent to students’ gwmail.gwu.edu address; ground shipping is provided. Returns should be sent to: GW Campus Store, 800 21st Street, NW, Marvin Center LL, Washington, DC 20052. For order specific, or other questions please submit questions online, send an email to gwshops@bkstr.com or call 202-994-6870.

Residential students from areas D.C. defines as high-risk states, should have course materials and supplies shipped to their on-campus residential assignment. During their 14-day quarantine period limited essential items, such as your course materials will be delivered to the residence halls as part of residential package delivery. Outside of the quarantine restrictions, students will be able to pick-up textbook orders inside Marvin Center on the ground floor next to the GWorld office and will need to select on-campus pick-up.

From Other Retailers

You are not required to purchase books from the bookstore and may be able to find them elsewhere for a lower price. You may choose to rent textbooks, buy them used, borrow them, or purchase a digital textbook. A Google search will provide several options for obtaining textbooks. Some of the most popular are:

You might also connect with students who have taken the class in the past to see if they can loan or sell you their old textbook. 

From the Libraries

Search the library catalog for your course materials.

Course Reserves

Course reserves are readings or media set aside for a specific course at the request of the course's instructor. In 2020-21 academic year, Gelman and VSTC Libraries will continue to provide electronic reserves via Blackboard for journal articles, e-books, and book chapters. Physical books and DVD's are not available for course reserves. 

Open Educational Resources

Open Educational Resources (OER) course materials are freely and openly available, making education more affordable and easy to access. This includes textbooks that are openly licensed for use. Because the material has nonrestrictive licensing, your professor can reuse, revise, and combine the material to customize it for their courses, and there is typically no expiration date on digital materials. With open textbooks, online and downloadable versions are often free of cost and access barriers, and print copies are significantly less expensive than traditional textbooks.

When talking to professors about the possibility of adopting open textbooks, personal stories are frequently more effective than dry data. Students interested in using OER can include a statement about OER in class evaluations or talk to their teaching/graduate assistants and faculty advisors about the benefits of using OER.

GW Libraries can provide assistance to professors in finding open textbooks relevant to their course and redesigning a curriculum with OER in mind.