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Purchasing Your Books and Supplies

As a student here at Columbia you have several different options when it comes to purchasing your books and supplies and several ways to plan for this expense.  Begin by reviewing the Cost of Attendance Budgets for a listing of the average annual expense for books and supplies.  We recommend you become familiar with how this expense fits into your overall plan before you make any purchases.

Know what textbooks and supplies you need to purchase   

Visit the Course Catalog in the OASIS Portal for information on what textbooks are required by your professors.  For information on supplies, other than books, visit your academic department’s website.  When you have received a syllabus from your professor the process of knowing what books and supplies to purchase becomes more defined. 

Price your textbooks

Textbooks are available in a variety of formats.  It is important to explore these different options when pricing your textbooks.

New or Used
The Columbia College Bookstore provides both new and used textbooks for purchase.  Students interested in used books must start their hunt early as these are usually the first to go.  When pricing textbooks, students are encouraged to compare prices by exploring rental, e-book and used options.

For some students, buying their textbook(s) is necessary, for others, renting or borrowing their textbook(s) for the semester is sufficient.  Decide which option is right for you!

The Columbia College Bookstore offers a text rental program.  The program allows students to rent their textbooks and return them at the end of the semester for a portion of the price they would pay to purchase the book.

Check out the e-book option at the Columbia Bookstore and other online sources.  Some courses will have the option of utilizing an e-book instead of a physical textbook, a potentially lighter option on your wallet and in your backpack. 

Price your supplies

Based on your program of study, you may be required to purchase supplies in addition to your textbooks.  Items such as cameras, art supplies and computers are a necessity for some students and need to be budgeted for, as they can account for a significant portion of your books and supplies budget.  Utilize our budget calculators to plan for this expense.

Expenses which will be a one-time purchase, such as a computer, should be thoroughly researched prior to purchasing.  Talking to your professors and classmates may help aid you in your decision of what to purchase and when. 

If you are interested in purchasing a computer, Columbia’s Computer Store offers discounts and promotions to Columbia College Chicago students and may have exactly what you need.  Several printing facilities are also available on campus to assist students with their printing needs at deep discounts.

Purchase your Books and Supplies

After you have priced your books and supplies and know where to obtain these items, you are now ready to purchase.  Please be aware there are several options you can utilize to cover these expenses:

Additional Discounts

Visit these pages to take advantage of discounts provided to Columbia students: