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A book which focuses on teaching skills.

Base Stats

Exotic itemBook
Market Value
160 Silver
Stack Limit
0.5 kg
Deterioration Rate

Textbooks are a type of book that provide recreation while increasing skills.


Textbooks, like all books, can be purchased from trade caravans, orbital traders and faction bases, or earned through quests.

When starting a new game, there is a chance for your starting colonists to carry books as possessions based on their traits or backstory.


Textbooks can be read by colonists as a recreation activity, with a recreation power of 100%. All books will also train intellectual at a rate of 250 XP per in-game hour.

Each textbook has one or more associated skills. Colonists who read the book will gradually gain experience in those skills. The rate at which experience is gained and the maximum level to which the skill can be improved are both determined by the quality of the textbook. It is also modified by the passions and Global Learning Factor of the colonist. The skill limit is checked against the colonist's learned skill level, and does not account for skill offsets from aptitudes given by traits, health conditions, or genesContent added by the Biotech DLC.

It is possible to order colonists to prioritize high-quality textbooks or textbooks with specific skills by adjusting reading policies in the assign tab. It is also possible to order your colonists to only read textbooks, if you prefer to focus on skill-building.

Textbooks have a 25% chance of generating with two skills instead of one. Reading the book will train both skills at the same time, but the amount of XP provided for both skill will be divided by 1.6.

Colonists will try to avoid reading textbooks that they cannot learn anything from, unless no better book is available.

Effects of Quality on Reading
Quality XP Rate Max level
1 skill 2 skills
Awful 125 / Hour 78 / Hour 2
Poor 188 / Hour 117 / Hour 5
Normal 250 / Hour 156 / Hour 8
Good 312 / Hour 195 / Hour 10
Excellent 375 / Hour 234 / Hour 12
Masterwork 438 / Hour 273 / Hour 14
Legendary 500 / Hour 312 / Hour 16

Like any other book, textbooks will also train intellectual at a rate of 0.1 XP per 1 tick (0.02 secs), or 250 XP per in-game hour, in addition to the skills that the textbook generated with. This is calculated separately from the textbook's specific skills, and there is no soft limit to how high intellectual can be trained this way. However, this XP is gained at a fixed rate, and is not affected by the passions or learning rate of the pawn, quality of the book or the reading bonus of the room.

All books can be efficiently stored in bookcases, allowing them to provide a bonus to any reading and research activities taking place within the same room. Each book stored in a nearby bookcase will increase the rate at which XP is gained from reading textbooks.

When reading for recreational purposes, colonists will choose which books to read at random. You can use the assign tab to specify which types of book a colonist is allowed to read, but you cannot assign a colonist to read any one specific book automatically.

You can manually force a colonist to read a specific book by selecting the colonist, right-clicking either the book itself or the bookcase containing it, then issuing the "read" command. The colonist will then read the target book for an hour before putting it away.


Textbooks are generally an excellent way of raising the skills of your colonists, and they easily outclass other forms of recreation in this regard. For reference, a billiards table will provide 0.004 shooting XP per 1 tick (0.02 secs), for a learning rate of 10 XP per hour.

However, it should be noted that textbooks are the only recreation source with a maximum skill limit. An awful-quality textbook will train shooting faster than a billiards table only if the reader has a skill level below 2, and is utterly ineffective otherwise.

Textbooks that teach the shooting and melee skills are highly valuable, as colony defense remains an important concern for all colonists at all times. Medical is another high-priority skill, as having a large number of skilled doctors in your colony will increase the chances of recovering survivors from a hostile raid. Textbooks teaching other skills are also valuable for training up new recruits with low skills, or re-specializing colonists with nothing better to do.

More niche skills like artistic and intellectual are not as desirable for textbooks. These skills are usually only practiced by a few specialists within the colony, and can easily be trained while performing the relevant work.

Textbooks with 2 skills provide a higher cumulative amount of XP, but less XP per skill. This generally makes dual-skill textbooks more valuable for raising skills overall, and single-skill textbooks more useful for raising a specific skill.




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