Textbook FAQs

How will I know which textbooks to buy?

The Book Store at Western provides two online options so that you can access your textbook list before classes start:

  1. Personal Textbooks List
    Please have your student number and PIN ready.
  2. Textbook search by campus, term & course code
    If your list is not complete, check back often. As textbook orders are processed, updates are posted on The Book Store's web site daily.

How much should I budget for buying textbooks?

The amount to budget for textbooks will depend on the number of courses you are taking, your professors' requirements, your major and other factors. Because students typically buy school supplies like paper, notebooks, study guides, pens, dictionaries and more at the same time, it's helpful to budget those expenses together.

According to the National Association of College Stores, the average full-time student spends $750 to $900 per school year for course materials and supplies. Your actual purchases may vary. Your textbook costs may be reduced if you choose to sell your textbooks at Buyback.

Are there ways I can save money on my textbooks?

Yes, there are several ways you can save money:

  • By shopping early, you can avoid the Rush and get the best selection of used textbooks. Used textbooks are 25% off the original price and generally sell out quickly. We make sure that the books are in good condition, free from excessive pencil and pen markings, and have all their pages intact. Whenever possible, we'll give you the option of used books.
    Used textbooks books are located with new textbooks. A used book is clearly marked with a USED sticker located on the spine. The majority of our used books are obtained from students at Western. We also order additional stock from used book wholesalers in order to meet the demand requested by our students. Used books sell at 75% of the current new textbook retail price.
  • If you have a choice between buying a textbook packaged with a study guide and other items, or just the textbook, make sure you need the extra items before buying the package.
  • Check with your professor to find out how textbooks will be used to teach the course. Distinguish between "Required" & "Suggested" Titles. This information is available on your textbook list or you can ask the instructor.
  • At the end of the term, consider selling your textbooks at Buyback. Buyback prices are based on demand. If we know which books are needed at Western and we are not already overstocked, we will pay 50% of the retail purchase price. If the instructor has not submitted an order, you have the option to sell your books at the current market value to other schools. That value, determined by used book companies, is based upon the national demand for the book and whether or not it is a current edition. Wholesale buyback prices typically range up to 30% of the retail price.
    Some books are used in classes that are only taught once a year. In other cases, a book is replaced by a newer edition or by an alternate choice from another publisher.
  • Some textbooks and materials you purchase may NOT BE RETURNABLE. In this event, we will mark the product to alert you to this policy.
  • Save your cash register receipt. Refunds will not be approved without your original receipt.
  • Never leave your textbooks unattended in a public place. Theft of textbooks is on the rise. Mark your books in an inconspicuous place so you can identify them as yours.

How is a textbook price calculated?

The average textbook price is broken down as follows:

  • 4% Publisher's Profit
  • 13% Publisher's Overhead
  • 12% Publisher's Marketing
  • 4% Author's Royalty
  • 5% Editorial
  • 36% Book Manufacturing
  • 11% Book Store Personnel
  • 13% Book Store Rent & Overhead
  • 2% Corporate Taxes

Why are some textbooks cheaper elsewhere?

If you think you've found cheaper textbooks elsewhere, be sure to read the fine print before you place your order.

  1. Are there shipping and handling charges?
  2. Is the price in US or Canadian dollars?
  3. Is the book the correct edition?
  4. Are there customs and duty charges?
  5. Is the book available now when you need it? Or will you waste valuable time before the book is actually in your hands?
  6. If your class is cancelled or you drop the course, what will happen?
  7. If you need to return the book, are there any restocking fees?
  8. Will you have to pack up the book and pay return mailing charges?

Access Codes: The Moneysaving Way to Make Your Day

Access codes are passwords that allow you to access online course materials. These materials can be just as important as a textbook, and just as expensive. They are usually provided in course packs and in new textbooks, but when buying used books, there are five key things you need to know:

  • The importance of purchasing new access codes will vary from course to course, depending on the professor. As in the case of all textbooks, the information online could be essential to learning in the course, or it could be useless. Ask your professor if having the access code is required or optional  before spending your money.
  • In new books, access codes are free or greatly discounted. Sold separately, access codes can cost anywhere from $20 to $100. For example, a used book might save you 20 bucks, but with the required codes at an extra 50, you could end up losing 30 dollars. That doesn't mean you won't save money when you buy a used book and a separate access code, but do some price comparisons before making a final purchase
  • Where do you get access codes? You can purchase access codes when buying the specific course package, or on your own at The Book Store at Western. Ask for some help if unsure where to get the code.
  • How long are the codes valid? This too will vary, some codes last 6 months, some for a year. Expiry dates change depending on the publisher, so be sure to ask your professor for more details.
  • Why does all of this individual self-discovery research on access codes matter? It will save you money!