Selecting Textbooks

When choosing textbooks, align your selection with the content, skills, and applications taught and assessed in your course.

Best Practices for Choosing Textbooks

Keep the educational level in mind.

Consider the degree level and skill level (i.e., introductory, intermediate, or advanced). Create a mix of resources, such as print or electronic textbooks, popular books, scholarly articles, and web resources, while keeping costs to students in mind.

Get recommendations from your program director and from Faculty Enlight.

Talk with your program director and previous instructors to see what has been used in the past. Then check out Faculty Enlight, a web-based service provided by our bookstore. Faculty Enlight helps you research various textbooks and allows you discover which textbooks are being adopted in similar courses at other universities.

You can also acquire desk copies of books that you are seriously interested in using. Contact your program coordinator to learn how. Often, you can find the information you are looking for by visiting the publisher’s website and searching for “desk copy.”

Find free textbooks online.

Cut textbook costs by using open educational resources (OER’s). OER’s are freely available educational materials, including textbooks, lesson plans, worksheets, videos, and interactive tutorials. They are typically licensed under Creative Commons, so you can reuse and sometimes adapt them.

Open Educational Resources
Find lists of reputable OER repositories and databases.

Evaluation Criteria for Open Education Resources
OER quality varies, so use our evaluation guide to choose high-quality OERs for your course.

Use coursepacks if necessary.

If no textbook matches your course outcomes, you can create a customized coursepack of articles, essays, lecture notes, and book chapters that would be sold by Saint Mary’s bookstore. Contact the bookstore for assistance and copyright permission at or checkout their coursepack information.

Model good information literacy behavior.

Be sure to explain to your students why you chose these resources, so they can learn from your effective information literacy skills.

Ordering Textbooks

Now that you have selected your required texts, you will need to order textbooks from Saint Mary’s bookstore.