Textbook FAQ

Textbook FAQs


Question: Do I need to buy ALL book titles listed for my courses?

Answer: Not necessarily. Check your online booklist and the tags on the textbook shelves to distinguish between titles that are required and those that are listed as optional.


Question: Can I have my textbooks billed to my student account?

Answer: No, unfortunately we don't have that financial arrangement in place to charge your student account


Question: I am a KU alum and will be taking graduate courses in the near future.  I know there is an alumni discount program in place, does that apply to textbooks?

Answer: No, unfortunately textbooks are not a discountable item


Question: Once I place an order online with the KU Bookstore, how soon will it be ready?

Answer: In order to allow for more complete orders we generally begin processing textbook orders on average of 3 weeks prior to the first day of classes.  This is when our inventory has peaked and orders are most complete.


Question: After placing my online order with the KU Bookstore I received an order confirmation, does that mean my credit card has been charged?

Answer: No, the email is only confirmation that we received your order.  Once your order has been completed and the credit card used was charged you will receive a second email confirming your order has shipped or is ready for pick up. 


Question: Can I order books in advance and pick them up the week of classes?

Answer: Yes, in fact is a preferred method for most students.  Once enrolled, you can immediately place an order with the KU Bookstore.  This order will essentially be on hold until 3 weeks before classes.  Once processed, you will receive an email notifying you that your order is prepared.  All students need is a photo id and they can pick up their books the first week of classes.


Question: I notice there is both a new and used price option both in store and on your website.  Does that mean that everything is available in both?

Answer: There are price listings for both new and used course materials on nearly everything in our catalog, however not everything will be available in each desired condition.  There are some titles that simply don’t have a used option because they are workbooks, considered custom, or contain a 1 semester unique access code.  There are also some books that we may only have used because copies are so plentiful from our suppliers and through student buyback.  For this reason when ordering online from KU Bookstore we always recommend students to allow substitutions, just in case their preferred condition is not an option.


Question: How are the prices of textbooks determined?

Answer: Publishers are responsible for most of the costs associated with textbooks. There is no such thing as a “list” price for textbooks. Publishers sell to campus stores at a wholesale price and a retail price is set that allows enough margin to cover our costs to ship and collate the books and help defray other store operation expenses.

Question: What is the KU Bookstore doing to address the issue of the high cost of textbooks?

Answer: The KU Bookstore is your non-profit campus store and our revenue stays right here on campus to support Student Success.  We have listened to our customers and have been very aggressive in implementing several cost saving options.  Our efforts include:

  •      Offering an online price comparison tool so students can compare textbook prices from The KU Bookstore and other online vendors.
  •      Renting textbooks directly from our store and thousands more titles through our online partner.
  •      Offering tens of thousands of money-saving used books.
  •      Returning over $1 million in cash to students each year through Textbook Buyback.
  •      Helping faculty produce custom Course Packs that consolidate academic materials from multiple sources into one more cost-effective product.


Question: How does the Textbook Buyback program work? 

Answer: We perform textbook buyback year round, although selling your books back at semesters end is always more beneficial.  We pay up to 50% of the new book price on titles adopted for the following semester, even if you purchased the book used or from another source. Buying textbooks back from students helps us to keep an abundant selection of used books in stock and allows us to return cash to students.


Question: Why is ordering my textbooks from other online retailers risky?

Answer: Shipment delays could cause you to fall behind as the semester begins; you may not receive the exact editions specified by your instructors; and potentially lower online prices are often negated by sales tax and shipping and handling charges. Making an exchange or return on an online purchase can also be a hassle.



Textbook Rental Program FAQs


Question: What are The KU Bookstore's rental options?

Answer: In order to offer the widest possible selection of rental titles, we offer two ways to rent from us. Hundreds of titles are available to rent directly from the store. These can be rented using our self-service rental kiosks.  Thousands of additional titles are available through our online affiliate partner.   These will be shipped directly to your specified address.   Both programs offer rental prices that are very competitive, however prices won't be identical.  Both programs require a credit card as a form of payment.


Question: How does the in-store rental process work?

Answer: You can browse our shelves to see if any of your titles are available for rent from The KU Bookstore.  Once finished shopping, you will be directed to our one of our rental kiosks to complete the checkout process.  In-store, rentable copies will be clearly marked with a rental price on the shelf tag.  If the title is not available to rent there will only be a used and new price on the shelf tag.  Once your transaction is complete you will be given a receipt with terms and conditions as well as the rental return date.  Please save your receipt as this will be needed if you want to return your book for a refund during the returns period and will facilitate the process of returning your rental at the end of the semester.


Question: Why would I want to rent a textbook?

Answer: Many students are only interested in using some textbooks for the duration of a class. Renting for a semester typically costs less than half of the new book price. Renting removes the risk of how much the book may be worth at the end of the semester and you can capture the savings up front instead of waiting for buyback at the end of the term. If you decide to keep the book, you can purchase it at any time during the rental period for the difference between the rental fee and the current selling price.


Question: How does your online affiliate partner rental option work?

Answer: To expand the number of titles available for rent, we have partnered with an online provider that offers thousands of titles. View your booklist, using the price comparison tool you will see if your textbook is available for rent.   Your transaction will be conducted with our partner company. Books will be shipped directly to you. At the end of the semester you may return your rental title to the store or ship it directly (at no charge) to the provider. Refund and return policies differ from the in store rental option and the KU Affiliate Rental and other online vendors. Be sure to review the policies for each vendor.


Question: Can I get a refund on a rented book if I decide I don’t want it or if I drop the class?

Answer: Yes. Please review our Textbook and Rental Returns Policy. All returns must be in salable condition and be accompanied with the receipt. Refunds are also available for books rented through our partner site and are typically returnable for up to 14 days from the time your book was delivered.


Question: Why isn’t the book for my class available for rent?

Answer: Unfortunately, not all textbooks qualify for our rental program. There are multiple factors that are considered, from how current the text is to the size of the class, and how consistently the course is offered. If your book is not available for rent in-store, you may be able to rent through our online partner.


Question: I saw that text rental was an option for my class but the KU Bookstore didn’t have a rental copy when I got there.

Answer: Only a percentage of the total textbook stock for a class is available for rent. Students who shop early will be the most likely to acquire rental copies. Rental copies will be shelved next to the copies available for purchase. If you can’t find your rental book or want to ask if more will become available, please talk to a staff member in the textbook department.


Question: When do I have to return my rental text to the KU Bookstore?

Answer: Rentals performed in store are due the last day of finals for any given semester.  The online affiliate partner rental transactions vary depending on the rental period specified.  For both rental options you will receive email reminders when your rental due date is approaching. 


Question: What if I forget to return the book at the end of the semester?

Answer: A charge equal to the difference between the amount paid for the rental and the current retail cost of the rented textbook.


Question: Can I turn in my rental book when I return for the following semester?

Answer: No, it is very important that rented books are returned by their due date to avoid late charges or unnecessary extensions. 


Question: Can I use a highlighter in my rental text?

Answer: Books must be returned in salable condition as determined by store staff. Minimal highlighting and marking is allowed. Books with damage to the spine, torn covers, missing pages, or any water damage will not be accepted.


Question: What if my book was lost, stolen, or damaged beyond normal wear?

Answer: There are several options. You can acquire another copy of the book and return it at the end of the rental period. You can come to the store and pay the difference between the rental and replacement costs and avoid the handling fee.


Question: Are the rental books used copies or new copies?

Answer: They may be either used or new. The rental price will fluctuate depending on the new or used status.  It will cheaper to rent a used book vs. a new book; however both offer a considerable up front savings.


Question: I need the textbook for a continuation class. Can I rent it for multiple semesters?

Answer: If you are taking a continuation course, purchasing a new or used book is usually the best option. Although you are free to rent (and return) a textbook multiple times, the cost of renting a book for two semesters is generally higher than a used book and only slightly less than a new one.


Question: Is it a better deal to rent a book or to purchase it and then sell it back at Buyback?

Answer:Renting provides a lower up-front cost. In some cases, it can be less expensive to buy a used text (when available) and sell it at Buyback. There is always the chance that the text won’t be bought back if a newer edition is published or if the professor switches to a different book. Buying a new book and selling it back at Buyback will generally be more expensive than renting.


Question: Can someone else return my books for me?

Answer: Yes, as long as they can validate your name and email address.  It is always preferred that you return your books to avoid any potential issues with identifying your rental check in.