Student Textbook FAQ
Below is a list of general frequently asked questions we receive from students when looking for course textbooks.
  1. When are books available for purchase for the upcoming term?
  2. What is the difference between a "required and an "optional" textbook?
  3. Why are textbooks more expensive than general books?
  4. Can I find a textbook for less money at other bookstores?
  5. How does the U of M BookStore compete with online booksellers on behalf of students?
  6. Do I have the option to buy used textbooks? 
  7. Do I have the option to buy eTextbooks instead of printed textbooks?
  8. Do I have the option to rent textbooks?
  9. What is a 'coursepack'?
  10. What are Access Codes; are they the same as eBooks?
  11. What does it mean if my booklist says to buy "only one of the required textbook options"?
  12. Can any of the books I buy be returned if necessary?
  13. Will I be able to sell my textbook back at the end of my course? How much will I get?
  14. What is an 'iClicker'? Where can I get one?
  15. What about other items on my booklist, such as safety glasses, calculators, dissecting kits and specialized notebooks? 

1. When are books available for purchase for the upcoming term?

Typically, 95% of course materials are in the store a few weeks before the term begins. Note that lab manuals may be scheduled to arrive after the start of your course, but still in time for your first lab class.

2. What is the difference between a "required" and an "optional" textbook?

A required book has been chosen by your professor because it contains necessary readings and materials for you to pass your course. An optional book will provide additional or enhanced learning material related to your course, but is not mandatory.

3. Why are textbooks more expensive than general books?

Most textbooks contain very specialized information and do not appeal to the general reader, so print runs are smaller, and the time to research and prepare the material, as well as the cost to produce the book is considerably higher. To see where the 'textbook dollar' goes, click here.

4. Can I find a textbook for less money at other bookstores?

Yes, sometimes, however our mandate is to provide the correct editions of all your textbook and course materials needs, along with convenience and outstanding service, and we are confident that when you price compare your complete booklist you will value our commitment to you:

  • The Bookstore is owned and operated by the University of Manitoba and operates on a cost recovery basis, like any independent retail store. Bookstore profit is reinvested by the University in areas including education, infrastructure, research, athletics, UMSU, and student activities that enrich all of the campus.
  • Our books are all priced in Canadian dollars, there are no shipping, handling, customs clearance or duty fees, no restocking fees if returned, and you can start reading the book as soon as you leave the store, or even in line while you wait to pay for it!
  • We maintain a price comparison campaign with other retailers and are committed to being competitive on price. On service and value, of course, they are not able to match us.
  • Through our textbook buyback programs we are able to buy textbooks back from our students year round; last year we returned more than $500,000 to University of Manitoba students in this manner.
  • We work with Faculty to re-adopt textbooks and enable a used textbook market in as many courses as possible. Used textbooks save students 25% off the list price, are GST exempt, and are still eligible for our textbook buyback program!

5. How does the U of M BookStore compete with online booksellers on behalf of students?

Your U of M BookStore provides U of M students:

  • Reliability: one vendor for all your textbook requirements.
  • Instant gratification: textbooks in stock, not in a virtual warehouse.
  • Confidence: we carry the correct textbook editions for every U of M course.
  • Access to add on and digital components for U of M specific courses.
  • Student-friendly solutions including used textbooks, textbook rentals, and e-books.
  • U of M custom learning materials and lab manuals.
  • Easy in-store exchange and refund policies.
  • We buy books back from our students: in 2012 the BookStore gave students $508,781 cash back through our Used Book Buy Back program on campus.

6. Do I have the option to buy used textbooks?

Yes, your U of M BookStore offers used textbooks whenever we can and we shelve them right next to the new textbook copies. Used books cost 25% less and they are tax exempt: they sell quickly though, so shop early! Even better, when you return a used book at buyback you get the same amount of cash back as you would if you returned the new book! Check out the math below: not bad for an entire term's use!

 

  New Textbook Used Textbook
Purchase Cost 
$100 $75
GST 
$5 $0
Total 
$105 $75
Return at Buyback 
$50 $50
Net cost of Book 
$55 $25

 

7. Do I have the option to buy eTextbooks instead of printed textbooks?

Not every textbook is available as an eTextbook but the U of M BookStore promotes as many format options as possible for students. Look for signage in-store, and for eTextbook FAQ, click here (add link to document 7).

8. Do I have the option to rent textbooks?

Yes, rentals can be a very affordable option and we have many textbooks available to rent. Rental prices are usually 40% to 55% less than the purchase price. Visit the Fort Garry campus BookStore to see which titles are available to rent.

9. What is a 'coursepack'?

A coursepack is a customized package of articles or readings selected by your instructor and produced here on campus. Coursepacks are popular as they reduce the number of individual books that a student might otherwise have to buy.

10. What are Access Codes; are they the same as eBooks?

No. An Access Code allows entry to enriched online resources created by textbook publishers to enhance the textbook experience. Often the Access Code card comes packaged with the printed textbook, and sometimes the Access Code does include an eBook version of the textbook. Where this is the case, Access Codes may be sold separately and may represent cost savings to students who are comfortable working in an entirely digital environment. For more Access code FAQ click here (add link to document 8).

11. What does it mean if my booklist says to buy "only one of the required textbook options"?

This usually means your textbook is available with and without a digital Access Code, and that the Access Code itself is not required by your instructor for your course. The following scenario illustrates some common textbook purchase options for students, with prices based on actual examples:

A. New Textbook package (w/ Access Code & Ebook): ISBN 978xxxxxxx001 $150.00
B. New Textbook alone ISBN 978xxxxxxx002 $100.00
C. Access Code alone (w/ Ebook) ISBN 978xxxxxxx003 $90.00
D. Used Textbook ISBN 978xxxxxxx004 $75.00

12. Can any of the books I buy be returned if necessary?

  • Authorized textbooks may be returned up to one week (during summer session and exam periods) from the date of purchase, class commencement or course change/withdrawal (two weeks for regular session.) Sales receipt and photo ID are required. Opened shrink-wrapped coursepacks are non-refundable.
  • Returns are accepted based on the standards set by the publishers. Publishers will not accept any books with even just the slightest defect or damage. We cannot refund any book that appears read, used, marked, bent, torn or if the spine is cracked. Textbooks must be in perfect condition.
  • Access Codes are non-refundable.
  • Used textbooks are non-refundable. Please click on Sell My Textbooks to find out about the different options available to sell your used textbooks.

13. Will I be able to sell my textbook back at the end of my course? How much will I get?

We buy textbooks that are confirmed for continued use at the U of M and pay up to 50% of the new book price; we also pay up to 30% of the new price when buying for other schools. Check with us towards the end of your term for up to date info. For more Buy Back FAQ click here.

14. What is an 'iClicker'? Where can I get one?

The iClicker device allows you to participate electronically in class quizzes; your scores count towards your grade for the course. iClickers are stocked throughout the textbook department as well as near the cash registers in our store.

15. What about other items on my booklist, such as safety glasses, calculators, dissecting kits and specialized notebooks?
Your U of M BookStore carries them all! Look for our in-store displays or ask a helpful staff member.

If you're seeking more information we also have the following resources available:

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Textbook Buying Tips
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Why are textbooks so expensive?
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