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Textbook FAQ

General Textbook Frequently Asked Questions

Textbook Rental Frequently Asked Questions

Online Ordering Frequently Asked Questions

Distance Education Frequently Asked Questions


General Textbook Answers

How do I use the booklist?

You can check your booklist directly on this website under Find your Textbooks.

  • Check the term in the "Search Books for..." title. Only one term is available for lookup at a time. If you are checking early, you may need to wait until your term is offered.
  • Highlight your course from the left menu box ( there are further instructions on the page above the boxes). Select >>. When you have all your courses listed, click on Start Searching >>.
  • Your personalized booklist will appear. At this point, you can choose to order your books online (check a box for each title that you wish to purchase), or you may print the booklist for in-store shopping by clicking the "Print your Booklist" icon on the upper right-hand side of the page.
  • Computers are available for lookup at the Booklist Counter in the far left corner of the store, but these computers do NOT have print capabilities.
  • Keep in mind that if you are looking up books for your English classes, you will need to know the author or editor's name when you go to the shelves as the books are shelved alphabetically by author or editor.
  • If you see multiple listings for the same text it probably means that the professor has approved the use of multiple editions of the same book. You can decide which edition you wish to buy.

Can I rely on the booklist?

The booklist is created each term based on information received from professors. If a book is on the booklist for a course, it is the title and edition the professor requested. The booklist is updated regularly and reflects last minute changes as they occur.

WARNING! Do not buy books for a future term based on the current term booklist. The book used in the Spring term may be different from the book used in the Fall term. Summer term books are often different from Winter term books.


How are textbooks priced?

Textbooks are a very specialized form of publishing. The print runs or number of copies produced are generally small, especially when compared to books like best sellers. For every dollar you spend on a textbook, the University of Victoria has paid about 75 cents to the publisher. Out of the remaining 25 cents, all bookstore expenses (freight costs, salaries, rent, shrinkage, donations, capital expenses) are paid.

Some publishers create packages by bundling items (text, study guide, online access). The package may sell for less than the separate components. The bookstore passes these savings on to the students whenever possible.

As another way to help students save money, the bookstore also offers a wide selection of used books which cost 25% less than new books and are GST exempt.


What is the difference between a required and optional textbook?

A required textbook is a book your professor has chosen which contains necessary readings and materials for successful completion of the course. An optional book is supplemental material chosen to assist in your studies, however is not mandatory for the course. These can include study guides and partial solutions manuals.

Will I be able to sell my book back at the end of the class?

Books are added to the buyback list when we learn that they will be needed in the next term. (If your course is offered only in the fall, your book would not go on the buyback list for the spring term, unless another course is using it.)

If your book is not being bought back, it may be because:

  • The professor is choosing a new book.
  • The course is being taught by a different professor, who is choosing a new book
  • The course is offered in alternate years.
  • The book is going into a new edition.
  • The bookstore already has enough copies in stock.
  • The bookstore has not yet heard that the book is being used again.

If your book is not being bought back in April, try again at the end of the summer, when all the books for fall have been ordered. The buyback list is updated daily and is much larger at the end of August than it is in April.

How much do I get if I sell back my book?

The bookstore pays half of the new retail price whether you purchased the book new or used.

How can I find out if my book is on the buyback list?

Jump online and check out price and demand for your books in advance! The list is updated constantly as we hear from professors. Just click on Buy-Back Info and “sell a book”. We buy back books from 9:00 am - 4:00 pm weekdays, and 11:00 am -4:00 pm Saturday. Check our buyback dates to make sure we will be buying back when you come.


Where do I find the Writer's Guide for the English Department?

The Writer's Guide is located near the end of the English section.

Where do I find the Geography/EOS rock kits and the lab notebooks?

In the fall, the kits and the lab notebooks are available with the first year textbooks for the appropriate courses. These kits, along with other items such as lab coats, safety goggles and dissection kits, are also available year-round in the merchandise department.

Where are the first year textbooks?

In August and early September, some first year textbooks are stacked in the new flexspace on the lower level of the store. At any other time of the year these books are in their appropriate sections (alphabetically by course).

What is a Lab Manual?

Lab manuals are coil-bound manuals supplied to the bookstore from the departments that use them. If there are no manuals on the shelf it usually means that the department has not yet sent them over. As soon as they arrive at the bookstore they are put out onto the shelves in the appropriate sections.


What is a Coursepack?

A coursepack is created by your professor specifically for your course. It may include book excerpts, journal articles, or course notes. Some out-of print books are reproduced as coursepacks. The bookstore obtains copyright authorization from the copyright holder to reproduce materials for classroom use and pays all copyright fees. Coursepacks are printed at the University of Victoria by Printing & Duplicating Services.

How are Coursepacks priced?

When we sell someone else's intellectual property, we have a legal and moral obligation to pay them for their work. Authors need to be paid for their work, and this includes academic material in coursepacks. Using material without paying for it is theft.

Anywhere from one-third to two-thirds of the cost of your coursepack goes directly to the authors and publishers who own the material. The rest of the cost covers materials, printing, labour, and distribution. Coursepacks are sold on a cost-recovery basis.

Can coursepacks be returned or sold at buyback?

Coursepacks cannot be returned unless you have dropped the course. They cannot be sold at buyback because that would violate our contract with ACCESS COPYRIGHT. The material in your package is for one-time, personal use and may not be re-sold.

What is a raincheck?

If the bookstore sells out of a coursepack, the student may purchase a raincheck. (Raincheck forms are found on the shelf where the coursepack was.) A coursepack is printed for each raincheck sold and the student is phoned or emailed when the coursepack is ready for pick up. Coursepacks sold by raincheck usually arrive in the bookstore within 48 hours.


Where are the Distance Education textbooks?

DE texts are on the sales floor. Look for the appropriate course code following by the letters "DE".

What exactly is a "textbook"?

The following is taken directly from the 2003 AUCC Agreement signed between the University of Victoria and Access Copyright:

"Textbook" means a book produced primarily for the educational market, and which may include one or more of the following:

  • any of the following words in its title: Introduction to; Fundamentals of; Essentials of; or
  • reference to an edition, such as 3rd edition; or
  • Pedagogical features, such as exercises, question sets, cases, boxed items, or chapter learning objectives; or
  • an acompanying learning aid such as astudy guide, lab manual, teacher guide or solutions set.

page 3


If a Coursepack made pursuant to this agreement includes extracts from Textbooks, the following limitations apply:

  • a maximum of 5% of a textbook may be reproduced, but in any case no more than one chapter;
  • a Coursepack may contain up to two such extracts written by the same author and published by the same publisher, within any five year period; and
  • up to 50% of the pages in a Coursepack can be reproduced from Textbooks.

page 24 - 25

Textbook Rental Answers

What's the difference between renting and buying a textbook?

Renting your textbook can save you money. Our rental program allows you to use the book as if it is your own throughout your course and return it to the bookstore by the specified date, usually the last day of exams.

How do I rent a textbook?

At this time, all rentals must be processed through our website. Go to the textbook search engine. Select your courses and start searching. If one of your texts is available for rent, the website will show a rental price. Select the text and follow the steps. You will be asked to choose a book condition: new, used or rental. If you choose rental, you will be taken to the Textbook Rental Agreement. Please read it carefully as it is a binding agreement. If you click “I agree” you will move forward to complete your purchase. NOTE: In order to save you money, rental textbooks will always be USED copies if they are available.

My text isn't on the list. Why not?

There are several reasons why certain textbooks cannot be rented. Some of these might include packages that contain non-rentable digital components, price and availability, or that instructors are not sure whether they will be using the textbook for classes in subsequent terms.

Do I have to have a credit card to rent a textbook?

Yes. We will keep your information under lock and key until the text is returned.


Will you mail me my rental book?

No, rental texts must be picked up and returned at the Customer Information desk on the main floor in the Bookstore. Photo ID must be presented for pick-up.

When will my rental text be ready for pick-up?

Please allow at least 24 hours for processing.

Can I rent a text for my friend?

No. The textbook rental agreement must be between the student using the book (or their legal guardian) and the Bookstore.

What if I drop the course? Can I get my money back?

If a course is dropped, the rental fee is refundable only if the rental textbook is returned no later than 2 weeks after the start of class

When do I have to return the book?

The rental deadline is usually the last day of exams. The exact date is in your rental agreement. Please be sure to read your Rental Agreement carefully.

What if I decide that I want to keep the textbook?

No problem; just contact the bookstore and we will charge your credit card the difference between the rental price and what you could have purchased the book for at the beginning of term.

What if I'm late?

The Bookstore will charge your credit card the difference between the rental price and the price of what the book cost at the beginning of term. The book is now yours to keep.

Can I mark up the text with notes or highlighting?

Yes, normal use highlighting and writing is permitted. But the text must be returned in good condition which generally means book spine intact, no excessive damage to cover or contents, all original pages intact, all original components present, no water or coffee spills, and no excessive highlighting, writing or other markings. The Bookstore reserves the right to refuse books in poor condition for return.


Can I sell my rental text at buyback?

No. The text is not yours. It must be returned to the Bookstore.

Online Ordering Answers

What are the shipping costs for online ordering?

The shipping costs in Canada are charged at a flat rate regardless of size and weight.

BC - Ground 3-7 Business Days Amount $12.95 + appropriate tax
BC - Air 2-3 Business Days Amount $15.95 + appropriate tax
Rest of Canada - Ground 3-6 Business Days Amount $20.95 + appropriate tax
Rest of Canada - Air 2-3 Business Days Amount $27.95 + appropriate tax
USA & International* *Shipping cost for USA & International to be confirmed via email.

How soon do I get my books?

It can take up to 3 business days to process your order and that does NOT include shipping time.

If you are ordering distance education course materials and we are unable to send your complete order, we will either contact you with a partial order list or hold your shipment until we have the complete order.

Due to space availability, if you are ordering on-campus course materials we will NOT contact you with a partial list but ship the items we have available. At a later date you will have to either reorder those unshipped items or purchase them from the Bookstore. If you require any changes please let us know your request in the comments field when ordering.


Can I pick up my books at the Bookstore?

Yes, we call it Pay n' Pickup! Place your online order between August 1 and August 24th and choose 'In Store Pick-up' as your shipping method. Then come to the Buyback window (located in the breezeway) August 27 and September 3 to pick up your books. Please note: orders will not be ready for pick-up before August 27th.

How to save time

Try out our new Pay n' Pickup Service! If you choose “Pick-up” as your shipping option while shopping online from August 1 – 24, your order will be available for pick-up at the Buyback window (located in the breezeway) after August 27th.

Do I have to pay PST when I buy a textbook?

During the summer of 2011, British Columbians had the opportunity to participate in a province-wide referendum on the harmonized sales tax (HST). On August 26, 2011, Elections BC announced that British Columbians had voted in favour of eliminating the HST and
returning to the provincial sales tax (PST) plus federal goods and services tax (GST) system.
In general this means that almost all course materials are only being charged the 5% federal Goods and Services Tax (GST). Therefore digital and rental books have a reduction in the amount of tax that you pay. Taxes are as follows:

  • New, rental and digital textbooks (ebooks): 5% tax
  • Used textbooks: tax exempt

Why is there sometimes no price for the textbook?

Textbook orders are placed over a period of time causing variable arrival times, the print runs or number of copies produced are generally small. In addition, for us to attain specific textbooks and to get the best prices possible, we order books from publishers around the world. Sometimes books are printed & shipped at the very last minute and we are not aware of the exact price until it has arrived.

What if there is no listing for my course?

If your department or course isn't listed it usually means that we haven't received a textbook adoption from your instructor. Please note that we receive textbook adoptions up to (and beyond) the first day of classes. Check back often, speak to your instructor, or contact us and we'll try to help you out. Top

How do I see my orders and order status?

Almost all our web site pages have a link on the top right hand side called My Account which takes you to a login page. Please login using your email address & password. Once you login you will see four choices:

  • Customer Profile - update or edit your billing information, address & email.
  • Change Password
  • Current Order - see the detailed order you have just placed, your order will remain here until it has been invoiced & shipped.
  • Order History - see all your order history, both completed and cancelled orders. A completed order has been invoiced and shipped.

How do I print my booklist?

Use the Textbook Online Ordering to choose all the courses that you are enrolled in, once it returns your search results you will see an icon 'Print your Booklist' on the top right hand side of the page. This will give you a nicely formatted page to print off and bring with you to the Bookstore.


Can I use my gift card online?

Yes, you can use your gift card online by typing in the gift card number in the Special Notes area during the checkout process. For your protection we also require a faxed copy of the back of the card to 250.472.4588. We still require a credit card number to process the order.

How do I change my address, password or email address?

Almost all our web site pages have a link on the top right hand side called My Account which takes you to a login page. Please login using your email address & password. Once you login you will see four choices:

  • Customer Profile - update or edit your billing information, address & email.
  • Change Password
  • Current Order - see the detailed order you have just placed, your order will remain here until it has been invoiced & shipped.
  • Order History - see all your order history, both completed and cancelled orders. A completed order has been invoiced and shipped.

What happens when I have forgotten my password?

Almost all our web site pages have a link on the top right hand side called My Account which takes you to a login page. Directly below the form to login is another form called Forgot Password? Please enter your email address and an email will be sent to your address shortly with a new password. Then login with your email address and new password and be sure to go to 'My Account' and reset your password to something more memorable.

Distance Education Answers

How do I order my materials?

Please see the main Distance Education page for your options.

When will I get my order form?

Departmental order forms are no longer accepted. All orders must be ordered online.

When will I get my materials?

We make every effort to ship your materials out to you as soon as possible after we receive your order. The volume of orders during our busy times (August/September, April/May and December/January) can cause a slight delay in processing. During peak times, allow 7-10 days for us to process and ship your order.

I want to buy used books for my course, how do I do that?

The option to choose new, used or rental will be available when you make your order online.


Why didn't I get a used book?

The Bookstore gets used books from several different sources. We buy from wholesalers and also other students. This means that sometimes we cannot get any used books for a specific title. Sometimes there are no used books, or a very limited number. We try to inform you of the availability when you shop with us and if you give us strict instructions we will ship only if we have what you ordered.

What if I don't have a student number?

This is used by the Bookstore to reference your address in our shipping system and to trace orders if there is a problem. If you do not have a student number, don't worry, we will assign a temporary number to your order, so that it can be shipped and traced.

Can I return my textbooks/Course manuals?

Please see the DE Returns section. For course manual returns, each department has a separate policy. Please refer to return information that is provided by the department.

Can I sell my books back to the Bookstore when I have finished using them?

No, we no longer offer buyback for DE.


Why is my order delayed?

Common causes for delay include: books being held up at the publisher, course materials not yet printed etc. Please be patient. However, if you still have not received your order 10-15 days after placing your order, you should contact us. This could indicate that there is a problem with your order.