Course Materials FAQs

Spring 2020

Technically, the deadline for Spring rentals have passed and we have charged those who didn't return their rentals. During any other semester, we would tell you that the book is yours to keep and you're responsible to pay the replacement fee that has been posted to your student account.

We would be glad to coordinate some type of accommodations. Please Contact Us before the end of September 2020 and we can figure out a solution. After September, we are no longer able to guarantee we can make accommodations.

Spring 2020 / COVID-19

Spring 2020 rental course materials are due 6/5/2020. During the week of May 4, 2020, you will receive an email from: UPS Quantum View with a subject of "UPS Label Delivery, [a tracking #] allowing you to return your rented textbooks from wherever you are in a few easy steps:

  • Locate the email from UPS Quantum View with a subject of "UPS Label Delivery, [a tracking #]
  • Click the "Get Shipping Label" link and follow the instructions to print your free shipping label
  • Affix the label to a package with the books inside
  • Drop your shipment off at a UPS drop-off location at no cost to you.
  • Please send all rental books in one package in a single shipment, as the label can only be used once.
  • Along with your books please include a piece of paper with your name, student id and intent to return the books, to help speed up processing.
  • Upon receipt by the University of Minnesota Bookstores, your rental returns will be processed in 3 - 5 business days.

If you prefer to return your rental books in person, drop-off service is available at the following campus locations:

Twin Cities
University Bookstore at Coffman Union – 300 Washington Ave SE, Mpls. Drop-box outside main store entrance (south side) by escalators

UMC Campus Post Office – 2900 University Ave, Crookston 125 Sargeant Student Center

UMM Campus Post Office – 600 E. 4th Street, Morris Across from Bookstore – Science Bldg, Rm 1150

M Gear Store – Shops at University Square, 111 Broadway, Rochester. Drop off books at the store Thursday, May 14 or Saturday, May 16 between 12:00 - 2:00 pm

Once again, we ask that all rented textbooks be returned by 06/05/20. If you are unable to meet this date and would like to be considered for an extension, please use our Contact Us form to request other arrangements.

Some summer course materials are available for purchase now! We are still processing requests for course materials from instructors and departments, so if you do not see anything for your class, please use our Contact Us form or reach out to your instructor for more information.

Yes, we are offering a virtual buyback program through our partner Nebraska Book Company. Please visit our Book Buyback page for more information.


The easiest way to get course materials is purchasing through our website. Complete the order online and we can either ship them to you or prepare them to have them picked up in store. We will let you know when it is available to you. During most of the year, orders are processed within 24 hours of being placed. During the weeks leading into the first week of classes, orders can take longer (up to 72 hours). The fastest way to get course materials is by ordering online and picking up in store.

When purchasing in store, you can use cash, credit/debit cards, University of Minnesota Bookstores gift cards, Gopher Gold, and your student account.
When ordering online, we currently accept credit/debit cards, University of Minnesota Bookstores gift cards and charging to your student account via your UCard.

The easiest way to see all* of your course materials is by looking at your personalized list ( This list shows what we have been told to supply by departments and instructors on what tools they plan on using for the semester. It should show what conditions and options are available and at what price-point. Generally, eTextbooks and rentals (when available) will be priced lower than purchasing the material out right.

*some materials may not be listed if we have not been notified about course requests by the instructor or department.

Please reach out to our Textbook team using our Contact page. We can see if your instructor has required the use of this access code, and we will order you a replacement copy with an unused code and take the original in an exchange (in person or via mail) if this is the case. Some instructors request books that come in a package with an access code, but do not require that the code is used for their course - double-check your syllabus or reach out your instructor to see if this might be true, in which case the original book you received should work for the course.

Please use the Contact Us form and select the “Textbook & Course Materials” category.

When reviewing your course materials list, confirm what each class is asking you to purchase. Some classes are very straight forward and list only one or a few required books. Others may have the same material but offered in multiple different forms (loose-leaf vs bound vs additional access code). All will be listed as required but you only actually need to purchase one of them. For example, some chemistry labs will list both the regular goggles and over-eyewear goggles as required, but you only need to purchase one set depending on whether or not you would wear glasses during lab.

Some classes have a mix of both required and optional course materials. Optional can be interpreted in different ways: some instructors will list material as optional as they are recommended pieces that will be helpful during your course, while some will list numerous items as optional and you only need to purchase one or two of them. Some textbooks are truly optional and the instructors list them to have available to you. If you have specific questions about the books being used for your course (and why they are being used), we recommend reaching out to your instructor for clarification.

If you see "LL" or "Ll" near the end of a title, it means that the material is a loose-leaf version of the textbook and is not bound. In order to store the pages, you will want to use a three ring binder to keep everything straight. Loose-leaf versions are generally more cost-effective than bound versions, but cannot be returned for a refund if opened.

Open Education Resources (OER) are materials that are available at no-cost to students through the Libraries systems. Check out their website for more information.

New course materials are sent directly from the publisher and should look like no other person has used them before. There may be small scratches or dings from transport but they will otherwise appear brand-new.

Used course materials can show a variety of wear and tear. Our used copies are procured from previous U of M students as well as outside textbook vendors. Most of these will show signs of previously being used and vary from copy to copy-- this may include writing/highlighting, bent corners, worn spines, etc. We recommend that any used course material that is purchased be properly reviewed by the customer to ensure it is in appropriate condition and can last through the semester.

Our Correct Text Guarantee means you will have exactly what your instructor selected for your course—plus, the Bookstores will take care of it if there are any changes in the required materials.

Please reach out to us to see what is going on! Some materials may simply be on their way to us or may need to be looked into. Don't hesitate to ask your questions to our Textbook Team on our Contact page!

We typically recommend purchasing/ordering at least a week before classes start. This will give us time to process your order during our busiest period. Once you receive your materials, it will give you time to assess what you have purchased/ordered and make sure everything is usable by your standard. Some students prefer to wait until they have actually attended all of their classes to buy materials, in case there are optional books, or they end up dropping a course or changing sections.

There are a variety of reasons why your materials may not be showing up. It could be that your course doesn't use printed materials. Your instructor may have a different method for you to receive the information you need. Or, we may be waiting for more information from your instructor or department about what they would like to use for your course.

Feel free to reach out to our Textbook Team via our Contact page if you have any questions!

Digital Course Materials

Yes! If you purchased the eTextbook within the past 14 days and it is still within the course materials refund period, we can attempt to process a refund. However, once the material has been opened or accessed, this can disqualify a refund from taking place. For eTextbooks purchased online, please reach out to our Web team via our Contact page to inquire about a refund. Please provide your order number and title that you would like refunded.

Once purchased through our website or in store, it takes roughly an hour before you will be able to access the material. You must be registered for the course and section you purchased in order to view it. All DCPs are hosted on Canvas, and will be accessible through the course's unique page, no access or redemption code needed! If it has been more than an hour and you don't have access, ask our DCP team for help!

Any course material that is available digitally will have an eBook price listed. Add eBook items to your cart and complete the order on our site. Then check your inbox! You should receive a confirmation email as well as a secondary email with your redemption information. Follow the instructions in this second email and access the material through one of our vendors (Redshelf or Vitalsource. Each provider has unique benefits and tools - check out their respective websites for more information.

The Digital Course Pack is a collaboration between the University Libraries and University Bookstore. Digital Course Packs combine different course-related materials into a single point of access, including journal articles, e-books, web-sites, links, images, and videos, all in a variety of formats and all presented online. Course materials may be library licensed items, items determined to be fair use, open access materials, and materials that require royalty payments. The main goals are to make course packs more affordable for students and to streamline the course pack creation process for faculty and instructors, providing them with the guidance and services they need to deliver the best and most appropriate course content for their students.

Inclusive Access (IA)

Students will see a charge for “Required Digital Materials” on their U of M student account from the U of M Bookstores on or before the first day of class.

Inclusive Access is a course material model that uses instantly accessible digital content providing students interactive, adaptive and affordable materials.
By simply being registered for a course using IA, you are given access to the material by the first day of class and your student account is automatically charged to cover the cost of the material. Because it is digital, it helps keep the cost down versus purchasing a physical copy.
Of course, if you are not interested in getting this material, you can opt-out by the return deadline to get the charge refunded. Your access will then be removed.

If students do not want to receive the digital course materials through Inclusive Access they can opt out through the link sent via email or you can use our Contact Us form. At the student’s request, the University of Minnesota Bookstores will issue a refund to their student account.

Opt-outs are only accepted within the first seven (7) days of class, (5 days for partial semester courses and summer terms). Access to the digital course materials will be revoked at that time and students will be responsible to find the required course materials by other means.

Please use our Contact Us form and request to opt back in. We will coordinate with the publisher or vendor to reinstate your access. This can take some time, so your patience is appreciated!

If students drop the course before the tenth day of class (fifth day of class for partial semester courses), they will automatically receive a refund for the Inclusive Access material. Courses dropped after the tenth day of class, or fifth day of class for partial semester courses are not eligible for refunds.


We offer course materials rentals as a cost-effective option for course materials that you only need or want for a single semester. Not every course material is rentable - these factors are determined by the book itself, as well as instructor input and research by our Textbook Buying Office. Any course material that is available as a rental will have a "Rent New" and "Rent Used" price listed on our website and on the shelf in-store.

When you are shopping for books online, you will be able to select a rental price for any available course materials, sign in with your University Internet ID and password, and read through and agree to a rental contract before completing your purchase.

In-store, you will pick out rental course materials as you would any other books, and the cashier assisting you will ask if you want to rent the available titles. You will need to present a valid UCard, and will be given a copy of your rental agreement.

All rental course materials come with a sticker on the back listing the rental return deadline, as well as contact information for our Textbook Rental Team, and some common types of damage to look out for (to make sure that your rental books are not damaged, double-check them when you first rent, and reach out to us if you find anything you suspect to be damage). Once you are done using your course materials (typically after finals week), bring them back to the Bookstore with your UCard to check them in. We also accept rental returns via mail for online and distance students!

Use our Contact Us form to say you will not be able to return at the end of the semester. You will be charged for the difference between the rental price you already paid and the cost to buy a new copy to your student account.

Your student account will be charged the replacement fee for the textbook. That amount is the same as buying a new copy.

Use our Contact Us form to let us know that you want to keep your rental. We will charge your student account for the difference between the rental price you paid and the cost to buy a new copy.

Buyback/End of Semester

If you have rental course materials as well as purchased course materials you'd like to sell back, you can take care of these at the same time at the Bookstore! We will check in your rentals and scan everything else into our system to see if it has buyback value. Students are not required to sell their course materials back to us, it is an option for recouping some of the cost of course materials you will not need again.

We do not buy course materials back that do not have pricing listed in one of our guides. This means that course materials without wholesale value or without an upcoming adoption at our store are less likely to have buyback value. Damage is the other common reason we do not buy certain course materials back, even if they have a price and quantity entry in our buyback system. Our employees are trained to check course materials for damage during a buyback transaction, so they are looking for any reasons that the course materials might not be considered good enough to be sold again. The main types of damage we see and reject purchasing course materials for are: water damage (crinkly pages, warped book), stains, torn/ripped covers or pages, broken binding, and excessive writing or highlighting (to the degree that some text is unreadable).

Course materials are refundable the first week of classes, please visit our refund policy page for further details. After the refund period, course materials are always eligible to be bought back by the Bookstore for up to 40% of the purchase price. The price offerings and quantities of books we buy are based on national wholesale guides. We source this information from multiple wholesalers, plus we create our own guide based on books that are being requested for use in upcoming semesters. Please visit our Book Buyback page for more information.