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Textbook Affordability Information

the hcc bookstore

What Student Can Do To Save On Textbooks

There are many ways students can reduce the cost of textbooks. From taking classes with zero textbook cost to reselling old textbooks to offset the price of new ones, we want to help you find more options.

Look for ZTC or LTC Classes

Looking for a great money-saving idea? Register for a Zero Textbook Cost (ZTC) or Low Textbook Cost (LTC) section to save on the high costs of textbooks. Find all the zero and low-cost options by choosing the "course type" filter in Self Service.

  • FAQs about ZTC and LTC

    What are ZTC and LTC sections?

    Zero textbook cost sections (ZTC) require no purchase of a textbook. Your professor has chosen to use free instructional materials. Low textbook cost sections (LTC) require the purchase of a textbook that is priced $50 or below.

    Please note that these ZTC/LTC course sections may have required costs for supplies or other materials (ex: lab equipment or art supplies) that are not related to the textbook cost.

    Why is the college using ZTC and LTC course sections?

    Because of the high costs of commercial textbooks, the college has begun an initiative to encourage faculty to adopt no-cost or low-cost instructional materials to help students save money. Studies have shown that students who have their textbooks on the first day of the course experience higher learning results and persist further in the course.

    How do I locate the ZTC and LTC course sections?

    You can locate the semester’s ZTC and LTC course sections by choosing the “course type” filter in Self Service.

    What if my course section is not ZTC or LTC?

    Ask your professor if there are alternate solutions for acquiring the textbook. Encourage the professor to change the course section to ZTC or LTC in the future in order to save students money.

    My course section indicates that I need to pay a First Day materials charge. Can you explain First Day?

    The First Day program is a partnership between HCC, Barnes & Noble, and publishers to offer electronic textbooks and/or access codes as part of the student’s course materials, directly within their Canvas course. Students who opt-in to First Day will experience substantial savings for the electronic textbook and access codes. Some of these course sections may also be labeled LTC.


Other Affordability Options:

  • Shop Early
    Visit the HCC Bookstore (online or in person) to obtain the most current, accurate textbook information. We begin posting titles as early as possible. Our information comes directly from your faculty, so you can be sure it's correct - you have our guarantee. Shopping early gives you the opportunity to search the open marketplace, including the HCC Bookstore, for your best price and availability of new and used textbooks.
  • Tips for Buying Textbooks

    Your HCC Bookstore is one source for textbooks (we admit, it's our favorite!), but you can also buy textbooks from other students, online new and used book retailers, publishers and commercial retail bookstores. Here are some points to remember while shopping...

    • Make sure to verify the ISBN in addition to title, author, edition and publication date. The ISBN is the key identifier of a title, and is the best information to use when searching the open marketplace for your textbooks. We list ISBNs on the HCC Bookstore Web site, or you can find the ISBN on the back cover of a textbook or inside along with the copyright information. We want you to get the right book, whether you buy it from us or not. If you have trouble finding the ISBN, ask our bookstore staff or your instructor.
    • Buy used when possible. Used books typically save you at least 25%, sometimes more, off the cost of a new textbook.
    • Check "Books for Sale" postings on campus bulletin boards maintained by the Student Life dept.
    • Look through the various online used book classifieds sites. Remember that there are no refunds when making a peer-to-peer purchase so CHECK THE ISBN to be sure it's the text your class is using.
    • If buying from an online bookseller, shop with a reputable source. You can definitely find bargains online, but be sure to consider shipping costs and shipping times. Find out what happens if you drop the course or decide you don't want or need the book - can you get your money back? Your HCC Bookstore has a very flexible return policy, allowing you to return your textbooks up to two weeks after the start of classes if you have your receipt and your texts are in original, as-purchased condition.
    • Buy access to online versions of the text, also known as e-books. E-books are less expensive than hard copy, and many come with the ability to search content by keyword/phrase, add comments, create bookmarks, and in some cases even come with free access to additional online materials. There can be drawbacks - inconvenience due to online only access, some have restrictions on printing or contain an expiration date, and there is no resale value.
    • Your HCC Bookstore has an ever-growing selection of e-books; just look for the tags when you come into your store. You can also search the Web with the term "e-books" for sources. Check out e-books to see if they are right for you.
    • Bundles can be bargains BUT... You may find that your textbook is "bundled" in a shrink-wrapped package with other learning materials such as a study guide, software, or a pass code. If you have a choice between buying a textbook by itself, or in a package, make sure you will need all the materials in the package. While these extra learning materials can be of great value, they are non-returnable once opened. If you have questions about buying a bundle, get input from your instructor or your bookstore staff.
  • Alternatives to Buying
    • If you have access to an older edition of the textbook, check with your instructor to see if you can use it instead of buying the most current version.
    • Pool your resources with other students and try sharing a text. You may need to work out how to split the cost, how to share time and decide on the disposition of the text at the end of the term but this may be a good option. An added benefit? You could turn your sharing group into a study group.
    • Check out the college library to see if there is a copy on reserve. 
    • Free is good! Some titles, especially classics such as works by Shakespeare, may be available online for free. One source is Project Gutenberg; you can also try searching the Web with the term "free e-share textbooks."
  • Sell Your Books
    Sell back unwanted texts at the end of the term. Check with us to see if the HCC Bookstore is buying back your texts; we will pay up to 50% of the new book price.  You can also check online buyback services (watch for shipping fees on some sites) or list your books through online classifieds. A great avenue is to post "Used Books for Sale" on campus bulletin boards and sell your books directly to another student. Note that these boards are maintained by the Student Life dept. and postings require their permission.

The HCC Bookstore Guarantee:

The HCC Bookstore works directly with faculty to make sure the correct titles are on our shelves for your academic needs. If you purchase a textbook from the HCC Bookstore and find it incorrect, we will gladly work with you to make it right.

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