Why doesn’t the library ever have the textbooks that I need for my classes?

A library user writes: It’s really expensive paying for textbooks for all of my classes every year, but the library never has them (other than an occasional really old edition) in their collection. It would be very convenient if they could start buying our textbooks.

This is a frequent question we get each year from our students. There is a very practical reason why, as general practice, we don’t purchase textbooks. Most textbooks used by universities are updated very frequently, many annually, and faculty are usually very particular about wanting their students to use the most recently revised edition. If you can imagine what the hit on our annual resources budget would be if we purchased all or even just a handful of the textbooks across all of the GBS classes – well, I’m sure you get the idea. On a very practical basis, these purchases just would not be a good use of our budget. Amazon has a great textbook rental service; we also recommend checking with Emory’s bookstore for options for purchasing used/recycled textbooks. You might also ask your faculty if they could put a copy on reserve in the library. We are sorry that we can’t accommodate this need, but we hope that you are taking advantage of the many resources (commercial databases, Kindle ebooks, OverDrive business audiobooks, and more) that we invest in purchasing for your use every year.

See also Woodruff Library’s blog post responding to the same question.