Textbook Affordability

John C. Hitt Library front entrance


The rising cost of textbooks and course materials is a significant but often overlooked barrier to affording a degree.

The UCF Libraries’ Textbook Affordability initiative works with campus partners and faculty to minimize the cost of course materials for students while maintaining the quality of educational materials and respecting academic freedom.

Library-sourced eBooks (eTextbooks) and materials, open educational resources (OER), and print reserves are the three primary ways the library supports affordability.


Since 2016, UCF faculty have taught over 2,317 classes using library-sourced materials, in turn reaching over 107,072 students and potentially saving them over $7.9 million. Read about how we calculate savings.


The cost of textbooks impacts student behaviors, and having access to required materials improves student success.


Faculty are awarded for their textbook affordability efforts through the annual UCF AIM High Impact Awards and others.


Materials can include diverse perspectives when faculty adopt, adapt, or create open educational resources (OER).


Open or library materials are accessed legally and safely, unlike illegally pirated material often infected with malware.


Students can afford to take more courses and drop fewer courses if textbooks or required materials are free or low-cost.


Open or library eBooks are available immediately on first day of class, and many are available for permanent download.


Textbook prices have increased to around 160% over the past 20 years, even when controlling for an overall inflation rate of 60.1%. With students expected to pay on average over $1,200 annually for books and supplies, some commercial textbook publishers have effectively priced textbooks out of reach for many college students. 

The cost of textbooks impacts student academic behaviors, and not having access to required materials can compromise student success.  Responses to a 2018 statewide survey (n=21,000) indicate that 64.2% of Florida higher education students have not purchased a required textbook due to cost.  Further, 42.8% have taken fewer courses, 40.5% have not registered for a specific course, and 35.6% attributed earning a poor grade to textbook cost.

Faculty can help reduce the cost of a college education and positively impact student academic performance by removing the barrier of high cost, commercially produced textbooks.

In partnership with UCF’s Affordable Instructional Materials (AIM) Initiative through the Office of the Provost, the UCF Libraries’ Textbook Affordability program offers solutions and support to faculty and students in three ways: library-sourced eBooks, open educational resources (OER), and print textbook reserves.


UCF faculty members who have made a significant impact toward affordable instructional materials are recognized and awarded during the annual UCF AIM High events.

Read more about the award and winners.



Video Spotlight

Video Spotlight – eTextbook Portal

“eTextbook Portal” shows you how to identify if your digital textbook is available for free through the library by using the eTextbook Portal. Click the link to view the video: https://vimeo.com/665607454

The Library Celebrates the 2024 AIM High Awardees 

Each year, UCF recognizes faculty across UCF who have made outstanding efforts to make their required course materials affordable. Provost Johnson presents the two AIM High Impact Awards, and the Knights’ Choice Award is presented by SGA.  The 2024 AIM High Individual Award winner is Christian Beck, Associate Lecturer in the Department of English. Through […]

Diamond's Hidden Gems thumbnail

Diamond’s Hidden Gems – Textbook Affordability

Welcome to the second installment of Diamond’s Hidden Gems, a blog series in which I introduce you to the University of Central Florida’s library services that you may not have known about! The cost of textbooks and course materials is a significant but often overlooked barrier to affording a degree. Being able to afford your […]

How Academic Librarians Are Working with Faculty to Source Affordable Textbooks for Students

Did you know that the library and instructional designers work with faculty to find free course materials? Choice invited the Textbook Affordability Librarian, Lily Dubach, and Sr. Instructional Designer, Dr. John Raible, to speak about a couple examples at UCF. They highlighted an open educational resource (OER) project and library-sourced eBooks, two options that faculty […]

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