Textbook Access & Affordability

Information for Academic Departments & Faculty

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What laws regulate textbook access and affordability? 

Federal and state laws require institutions of higher education to provide students with information on required course materials and the costs of those materials. 

These laws include the Textbook Provision of the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 and the New York State Textbook Access Act

A 2010 SUNY memo outlines the minimum federal and state requirements for textbook access and affordability. They are also outlined below: 

Federal Requirements

To meet the federal requirements: 

  • Campuses must, to the maximum extent practical, disclose on their online course schedules the International Standard Book Number (ISBN) and retail price for each required or recommended textbook, or supplemental materials, for the listed courses. If the ISBN is unavailable, campuses must list the author, title and publisher of the textbooks or supplement, or indicate that the required information has yet to be determined. 

  • Campuses must, as soon as practicable, make available to the campus bookstore, upon its request, the most accurate information regarding the number of students enrolled in a course or class and the maximum student enrollment for such a course or class. 

  • Publishers are required to give faculty textbook pricing information and let them know if the book is available as a bundle or in alternate formats. 

  • Campuses must inform students about how to save money on textbooks, including used books, cash back programs, etc. 

  • Campuses, faculty, booksellers and publishers are encouraged to collaborate on cost reduction strategies. 

The information campuses are required by this law to provide can be placed either on the campus’s own online schedule or could be linked from the course schedule to the campus bookstore website. 

Read more about the federal law.

State Requirements

To meet the state requirements: 

  • Upon request, publishers must provide faculty members or purchasing entities with the price the publisher is charging stores for textbooks and supplemental materials. 

  • Textbooks shall be sold in the same manner as ordered by a faculty member. Publishers or campus stores are not permitted to bundle books by adding software, computer discs or other technological devices to a textbook, unless ordered as a bundle by the faculty member. 

  • If a textbook or course material is unavailable, the bookstore, faculty member and publisher must work together to find a substitute. The publisher will make the prices of substitutes readily available. 

  • Campuses are required to institute policies that encourage faculty to place their orders with sufficient lead time to confirm availability of the requested materials and, when appropriate, the availability of used texts or alternate digital formats. 

  • Employees of campuses are prohibited from benefiting financially by adopting specific course materials required for coursework. Employees, however, may receive sample copies, instructor’s copies or instructional materials that are not to be sold. Such employees may receive royalties or other compensation from sales of textbooks that include their own work. Employees may receive honoraria for academic peer review of course materials and may receive training in the use of course materials and learning technologies.

What’s expected of UAlbany faculty and academic departments?

Faculty members and academic departments must use Barnes and Noble Education’s Adoptions & Insights Portal (AIP) to report the textbooks and other course materials they’re adopting for the upcoming semester or term. Watch an AIP introduction video to get started.

UAlbany’s annual adoption reporting deadlines are: 

  • Spring: October 15 
  • Summer: March 15 
  • Fall: April 15   

The campus bookstore team is also available to assist you at any time. Contact the Textbook Department Manager at [email protected]

What classes and materials does this rule apply to?

This rule applies to both undergraduate and graduate classes — with an exception for independent study courses, in which course materials are decided upon between the faculty member and student. 

This rule also applies to all course materials, including but not limited to: 

  • Textbooks 

  • Written material 

  • Access codes 

  • Course packs 

  • Open Educational Resources (OER)  

  • Bundles (one or more textbooks or other supplemental materials that may be packaged together to be sold as course materials for one price) 

Basically, this mandate applies to any course materials (printed or electronic) that are required for a course — regardless of whether the student must pay for them.  

If a course does not require materials, it must be listed as “no course materials required” in AIP

Adopting course materials through AIP does not require students to purchase their materials through the campus bookstore. 

If you are advising students to purchase materials elsewhere, please include that information in the “Notes to Bookstore” section on AIP. Note: This could reduce the availability of course materials to students on or before the first day of classes, especially if they are using certain scholarships and grants. 

What should I know about using AIP and adopting course materials?

Watch an AIP introduction video to get started.

The University is required to make information about textbooks and other course materials available to students to the maximum extent possible.  

If a department doesn’t know who will teach a course or what materials will be used, please report that information to [email protected] to mark a course list as pending. 

You may also report a “standard list” of course materials using AIP or by emailing [email protected] to mark a course list as pending. 

In either situation, once the final list of course materials is determined, please report them using AIP or by emailing [email protected] as soon as possible. 

To update course materials after the deadline, report them using AIP or by emailing [email protected] as soon as possible. Note: Late adoption course materials may not be available on or before the first day of classes.

Helpful Links for Students 

AcaDamien’s Bookstore: Students can use the UAlbany bookstore’s website to find course materials, rent and return textbooks, purchase and sell back textbooks, and access Open Educational Materials. 

University Libraries: Students can borrow textbooks and access other materials at the University Libraries. 

MyUAlbany: Students can use the University’s main portal to access course material lists.