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Textbook Buying Basics

Buying textbooks might not be a student’s top priority at college, but it is definitely an important part of the experience. Understanding how textbook pricing works will help reduce stress and benefit you and your student’s budget. Understanding how the textbook cycle works will make buying books as simple as basic math.

  1. The professor selects the textbook for the course
  2. The University Store orders and stocks the book
  3. Your student buys the book from the University Store
  4. Your student uses the book during the quarter
  5. After finals, your student has the opportunity to sell their book back to the University Store and get a percentage of the price back in cash

How Faculty Play A Big Role

Besides these basic steps, factors like timing and if the book is being used again for a class can change how much your student pays in step 3 and how much your student gets back in step 5. These factors are based on faculty adoptions.

Faculty Adoption: The process of selecting which course materials faculty will use the following quarter.

If a faculty member decides to use the same textbook and lets us know by the set deadline, then we can pay more for the book at buyback, saving your student about 30 to 35 percent. Plus, students next quarter have more used books to choose from, saving them money too.

If the professor misses the adoption deadline, doesn’t adopt the book for the next quarter, or adopts a new edition, students will receive less money back at buyback and less used books will be available the following quarter, causing your student to pay more at the checkout counter.

Two Ways To Shop

  1. Your student stops in the courseware department at the University Store with a copy of their schedule and selects their books with the help of the staff.
  2. Your student signs up for the University Store’s Textbook Express Pickup program to save time and money. The University Store will package all of their requested books together using your student’s class schedule. All your student needs to do is pick them up the first week of class — for no extra costs. This option gives the best chance of getting the lowest price because your student gets the pick of used books which saves them up to 30% and guarantees they’ll have their books when they need it.

Savings Tips

  1. Look for used or rental titles at the University Store for the best value
  2. Shop early — our lowest priced options go fast
  3. Encourage your student to ask their professor to submit their adoptions early
  4. Have your student sell their books back to the University Store so there is more used books next quarter


Questions? We have answers.

Phone: (805) 756-1171