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Library Resources & Services

Textbooks - other free options

If the Hostos Library does not have the book you need, you can check one of the public libraries - you can live in any borough and have a free library card for all three of the public library systems of NYC.

NYPL logo

Queens public library logoBrooklyn Public Library logo







Please note : the public libraries are NOT likely to have many textbooks, but they may have other kinds of books that might be used in your classes (like novels or non-fiction books written for the general public.)

Internet Archive logoThe Internet Archive might have an ebook version of the book you want. You can read books online for free but must make a free account.


Textbooks--if you have to rent or buy

BE CAREFUL! There are many websites out there claiming to sell or rent textbooks cheaply; some are misleading, poorly organized, or have terrible customer reviews.


In fall 2020, we looked at 52 different websites and chose the best sites we could find, listed below. (In August 2022, we did a brief review and removed one company that seems to have gone downhill, but did not scour for new sites.)


We can't promise that you will have a good experience with any specific business, so please do your research before you take a chance on a too-good-to-be-true price


Sites like Trust Pilot, Reseller Ratings, and Sitejabber are places to find customers' reviews. Please remember that some people are more likely to write a review when they have a complaint, and other reviews might be false ones, either by a company to promote their own site or to criticize a competitor’s.


Still, if there are many reviews and you can see patterns in the kinds of good or bad things described, that can give you a rough idea of the website’s reputation.


(Option 1) Direct sellers/lenders :

companies that sell or rent books directly to you

Hostos bookstore logo Akademos (Hostos Bookstore) sells new and used books through the mail and rents ebooks. (Except for their “marketplace”, which is a platform, see below.) 
Booksrun logo Booksrun sells and rents used books through the mail and rents ebooks (please note that this site adds items to your cart if you click on them for more information – so look very closely at your cart before you hit “pay”).
Vital source logo Vital Source rents and sells ebooks that you read on your computer or device.
Red Shelf logo RedShelf rents and sells ebooks that you read on your computer or device.

(Option 2) Platforms:

websites where many different sellers come to sell

"Platforms" are sites like ebay – places where many independent sellers list their items. These sellers could be anyone with an account and a username.


Because sellers could be anyone, the individual seller's reputation matters a lot. Platforms that show you actual reviews give you better information than just showing 1-5 stars. 


Tip: if the username sounds like it's a bookstore, it might be (local stores also sell things online!) So you might be able to buy directly from the bookstore’s website. If their website shows a phone number, it may be easier to reach them if there's a problem.

Valore books logo Valorebooks is well organized, has a good reputation, and is good about showing you seller reviews (look under "Item Details" to see the "provider"), but its textbook availability varies.
hostos bookstore logo Hostos Bookstore (run by the company Akademos, also called also has a “marketplace” option for some books that is a platform. They show only a 1-5 star system that they do not explain; you can see reviews for some sellers but not others, for no apparent reason.
(Option 3): Price comparison websites

There are a lot of websites that do not sell books directly, but allow you to compare prices. This is because they are easy to set up, and their owners make money just by having people click on their links, without having to actually send or receive books.

These websites are not all the same quality - some say they put the best prices up top, but a closer look shows that this is not true. Some are "affiliates" of Amazon, so Amazon results will always be on top. Some may be slow or confusing in how they display choices. 

textbook rentals logo is a good price comparison website (there are many other sites with similar names). They seem to be better for physical books, used and new, than for ebooks.

For Faculty - Improving Students' Access to Textbook Materials

Textbook Solutions – Supporting Better Student Access to Course Materials


As many faculty are aware, a lot of Hostos students have difficulty accessing course materials due to the high cost of many commercial textbooks.

Some Ways the Hostos Library Can Help:

ZTC/OER Textbooks

For several years Hostos faculty have been adopting, or sometimes even developing new "Zero Textbook Cost" (ZTC) or "Open Educational Resources" (OER) textbooks. These ZTC/OER textbooks are all electronically available and free to Hostos students. So far, we have published 37 OERs created or adopted by Hostos faculty, from Allied Health to the Visual & Performing Arts Performing Arts.

In recent years faculty from across the nation have been busy writing or curating quality ZTC/OER textbooks, many of them developed for student populations from community colleges. I have developed an online guide with some places to start searching for OER materials.

Electronic E-books

the Hostos Library provides access to about 700-thousand e-books. Many of these (but not all) are available to an unlimited number of users at a time, making them great candidates for use in a course. You can begin exploring e-books with a keyword search in OneSearch (be sure to use the "Full Text Online" and "Books" filters). The library can help you decode the subscription type to determine availability for course use (email with ebook subscription questions).

Other Materials

You can use OneSearch or access individual library databases to discover articles, book chapters, videos, reports, and other kinds of materials that are available free to Hostos students via subscription.

Maximizing Access to Your Commercial Textbook

If you will continue to use your commercial textbook, you can notify the library and request that we place your textbook in our "Reserve Textbook Collection." This allows students to borrow the book for two hours in the library to make copies of scans of the pages they need that week. Please contact our Reserves manager, Santa Ojeda, at with your request.

For More Information and Help:

If you need support identifying, collecting, or provide access to any of these textbook alternatives, please reach out to the library faculty member designated as liaison to your discipline.