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Thrift Library eTextbook initiative

  • Every semester the Thrift Library purchases every available textbook in an unlimited user eBook format.
  • It does not attempt to purchase textbooks in print as 1) that would wipe out our budget and 2) only one person can use a print textbook at a time.

Why do we do this?

Free textbooks have been shown to 

  • Reduce course withdrawals
  • Improve grades
  • Improve graduation rates

Get your free eTextbooks Here



  • Titles are in alphabetical order. Remember to look for your title under A, An, and The
  • The URL is in the last column on the right and has been modified for off campus use.
  • Always verify the url from off campus.
  • Always verify the title. This cannot be done by ISBN because eBooks have different ISBNs than books, and often different copyright dates.
  • Only you can decide if a Similar title is appropriate. Similar titles may be a different edition, copyright date, or even publisher. For instance, we have multiple versions for classics such as Northanger Abbey, Utopia and Candide. You would have to decide if any of these substitutes are appropriate.

The chances of the library offering a free textbook for a particular class this semester is one in five.  Why? Because four out of five eTextbooks were not available for purchase by libraries for unlimited users - or at all.



Viewing / Printing / Downloading 

With over a dozen eBook databases, the rules of use can vary greatly. While all databases let you view content freely,

  • Some provide access to the whole eBook, others to individual chapters, others to both.
  • Some require you to create a personal print or download.
  • Some require you to install third party software to download, first to your computer, then to your device.
  • Some limit the amount of pages you can print or download.
  • Some allow you to keep what you download. Others do not.
  • Not all allow downloading, and in some cases "downloading" really means "borrowing," with a limit of 3 to 40 days.

We strongly recommend that you save yourself time, effort, confusion, etc. and limit yourself to viewing.

What the Librray Does and Does Not Do

While the library ATTEMPTS to buy all eTextbooks used by our students there are limitations.

  • eTextbooks can only be purchased for use on our databases. The sort of eTextbooks you may see on sale at Amazon or on vendor sites are not for sale to libraries. Only individuals may purchase them - usually for downloading to the individual’s device. Should the vendors sell access via password protected links, the license agreement limits use to a single user.
  • eTextbooks are only purchased when they allow unlimited users. Purchasing single user eTextbooks for every student would be unaffordable. Buying a single copy of a single user eBooks would be very frustrating to our users. Only one person out of twenty would be able to use it.
  • eTextbooks are only purchased when they are affordable. Some cost more than $1,000.

Not all vendors sell their books in a digital format to libraries and even those who do often hold back many of their titles. What titles are they mostly likely to hold back? eTextbooks.

Consequently, the library has never been able to purchase more than one in four eTextbooks for any semester.

CAUTION: Whenever you discover a title in OneSearch currently being used as a textbook you should verify two things:

  1. Make sure it is the right edition. Be careful of the copyright date. Print books and eBooks may have different copyright dates. We may also have several older editions in our holdings from past purchases.
  2. Make sure it is for unlimited users. MOST of our eBooks are for either one user or three users. If a student attempts to use a single user or three user eBook as an eTextbook he/she will be in competition with every other student who also wants to use that resource. That probably will not go well. REMEMBER – Most eBooks are not available for purchase for unlimited users.

CAUTION: If a textbook has supplementary materials – quizzes, videos, additional reading, etc. - available from a supporting website, the library version of the title will not have access to the web site. What you see is what you get. We can only purchase what the vendors are willing to sell us.

Set up an eTextbook program in your library