Course Materials FAQs
Buyback/End of Semester
We host a buyback event at the end of each semester in which you can sell back any unwanted textbooks for cash in-store. These can be purchased from any retailer, but just need to be in a usable condition (no water damage, excessive highlighting/marks, etc) to be sold back. Otherwise, you can use one of our virtual buyback options listed on the Buyback page year-round!
You can check in any current U of MN Bookstore rental at any point in the semester up to the deadline at the end of the semester. This date will be notated on the sticker on the back of the book. Rentals must be acceptable condition (no water damage/excessive wear and tear) to be checked in. Any rental textbook not turned in by the deadline or no longer in an acceptable condition will result in a fee to be paid in person or to one's student account.
We only buy back titles that have a value with one of our wholesalers or will be used for the upcoming semester. Books must be in an acceptable condition and not damaged. The main types of damage we see and reject purchasing books 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).
If a book is damaged and/or not priced from one of our wholesalers, we would be glad to take the book from you so it can be donated to Better World Books.
Of course! This will generally be the best or second best price when it comes to textbooks. Just make sure that the condition of the textbook at the time of purchase is acceptable and won't cause issues for you later (i.e. water damage, broken spine, etc). For any concerns over the condition of your rental textbook, ask our Textbook Rental Team!
We will gladly accept rental textbooks via mail by the deadline. Please reach out to our Textbook Rentals team for more information.
Information regarding Spring 2021 rentals can be found here.
We offer textbook rentals as a cost-effective option for course materials that you only need or want for a single semester. Not every textbook is rentable - these factors are determined by the book itself, as well as instructor input and research by our Textbook Buying Office.
Any textbook that is available as a rental will have a "Rent New" and "Rent Used" price listed on our website. When you are shopping for books online, you will be able to select a rental price for any available textbooks, sign in with your University Internet ID and password, and read through and agree to a rental contract before completing your purchase.
All rental textbooks 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 textbooks (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!
Oh no! Reach out to our Textbook Rental Team to say you will not be able to return at the end of the semester. They will charge 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.
After the standard return period has passed, we can extend the deadline for those who have dropped a class by the end of the second week of classes. In order to have this type of return processed, we will validate that you are no longer enrolled in the class, and the books are still in the same condition as they were sold to you (with no signs of use).
The easiest and best way to get course materials is by purchasing through our website.
The fastest way to get course materials is by ordering online and picking up in store.
You are also able to come in store to purchase course materials in person. Be aware that priority of stock is given to online orders so if all copies in store are claimed by active online orders, we will not be able to sell them in person.
The easiest way to get course materials is by 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).
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.
By using your student account via your UCard, your purchase will be added to your Onestop bill where your financial aid can be applied.
The easiest way to see all* of your course materials is by looking at your personalized list (https://bookstores.umn.edu/course-materials). This list shows what we have been told to supply by departments and instructors based on what tools they plan on using for the semester. It will show which book 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 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 straightforward 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 them 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 together, you will want to use a three ring binder or individual rings. 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 books are sent directly from the publisher and should look like no other person has used them before. Occasionally, there will be small scratches or dings from transport, but they will otherwise appear brand-new.
Used books 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 will vary from copy to copy-- this may include writing/highlighting, bent corners, worn spines, etc. We recommend that any used book is properly reviewed after purchase by the customer to ensure it is in appropriate condition for your needs and can last through the semester. If you find that a used book you've purchased is too worn, we would be happy to work with you to get a replacement used copy ordered and take care of an exchange.
Course materials are only refundable during the first week of classes. This time frame may be shorter or non-existent for some B-term or shorter-length classes. Once the final return date has taken place, all course materials are considered to be final sale and not refundable.
Some physical copies cannot be refunded if they are opened or the access code opened/revealed. Textbooks being returned must be in the same condition they were purchased (i.e. new books need to be in pristine condition with no signs of wear).
Since we only stock and provide what we have been instructed to sell for a course, you know you are getting the right material for the course. If your instructors changes their course materials list and informs us of the change, we work to get the correct title in store and assist those who may have purchased the previously listed material.
Please reach out to our Textbook Team to see what is going on! Some materials may simply be on their way to us, or we may need to order additional copies.
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!
Our list is what we were told to supply by an instructor or department. In some cases, the list we have been given is from a few months ago. It's possible that an instructor changed or they just changed their mind. Please reach out to our Textbook Team if you find any discrepancies!
Digital Course Materials
Yes, in most cases, eTextbooks can be refunded/returned within 14 days of purchase. If the material has been accessed, this can disqualify a refund from taking place. For eTextbooks purchased online, please reach out to our Web team to inquire about a refund. Please provide your order number and title that you would like refunded.
Yes! Our Textbook Team can print off a barcode for any digital items you'd like to buy in store.
Due to the copyright nature of digital course packet content, they are non-refundable. If you purchased the wrong DCP for your course or have dropped the course, please reach out to our DCP team and they can look into resolving the issue or processing a refund.
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 "Library Course Page" button, 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!
When shopping on our website, confirm that the delivery method for the eTextbook says "Email Delivery" to ensure you will receive immediate access. Add eTextbook items to your cart and complete the order on our site. Then check your email! You should receive a confirmation email as well as a secondary email with your redemption information. If you cannot find this email, try searching your inbox for messages containing your order number. Follow the instructions in this second email and access the material through one of our two vendors (Redshelf or Vitalsource). Both providers have unique benefits and tools - check out their respective websites for more information.
The digital course packet (DCP) is a collaboration between the University Libraries and University Bookstore. Digital course packets combine different course-related materials into a single point of access, including journal articles, e-books, web-sites, links, images, and videos. 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 - [Course Title]” on their U of M student account from the U of M Bookstores ahead of the first day of class. Late enrollments will be billed as they are processed through the University system (can take 1-2 business days).
Inclusive Access is a textbook model that converts physical course materials into instantly accessible digital content, providing students with interactive, adaptive, and affordable materials. The University of Minnesota Bookstores, publishers, and faculty collaborate to make these materials available to students on the first day of class.
The program functions on an opt in/opt out basis. Upon enrolling in a course using Inclusive Access, students are considered opted in. They will be charged for the cost of the digital materials through their student account, and will receive an email from email@example.com introducing them to Inclusive Access. Students will receive access to their content through Canvas, or in a separate email from the U of MN Bookstores by the first day of class.
If students do not want to receive the digital course materials through Inclusive Access, they can opt out via the emailed link, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with their course information and requesting to opt out before the deadline. After this, a refund for the initial Inclusive Access charge will be issued, and the student will be considered opted out, meaning they will lose access to the Inclusive Access digital content.
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. Students who opt out are not able to purchase a loose-leaf version of the digital course materials instead of using the digital copy.
Please contact our Inclusive Access Team 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 a student drops the course before the 10th day of class (fifth day for partial semester courses), then the student will automatically receive a full refund for any applicable Inclusive Access materials. Courses dropped after those dates may not be eligible for refunds, or may only result in a partial refund.