|Return Policy and FAQ
|Online Orders Policy and FAQ
|Digital Course Materials FAQ
Safe buy: Aug 1- Sept 15 2023
Return deadline: Sept 22 2023
Safe buy:Dec 1 - Jan 19 2023
Return deadline: Jan 26 2023
Safe buy: April 23, 2024 - May 10 2024
Return deadline: May 17 2024
Safe buy: June 18 - June 20 2024
Return deadline: July 5 2024
When should I order my books?
The short answer is: early! If you know what classes you're taking, order your books now. You’ll beat the rush and help us know when to reorder to ensure we have enough for everyone. Please remember that shipping companies everywhere are overwhelmed with orders these days and shipping takes longer than average - another great reason to shop early.
Check our "safe buy dates to make sure that you can return your books if you drop a class.
How do I know what books I need?
Do I need all of the books listed?
Maybe, but maybe not! We ask your professor whether your book is required, recommended, or optional. Generally, required means you'll have a hard time being successful in the class if you don’t have the book. Recommended or optional means that the book will be helpful, but isn’t as critical for success. If you're not sure, you can always double-check your syllabus or ask your instructor.
Another thing to pay attention to is we often offer the same item in multiple formats (hurray for choice!). Generally, you only need to buy the course material in your preferred format. So if there is a hardback, a loose-leaf (these are textbooks that go in a three-ring binder) and an ebook, pick whichever format works the best for you.
Should I buy the physical or digital course material?
This is really personal preference, but there are a few important things to keep in mind:
Physical books are pretty straightforward. Sometimes they come packaged with a digital component, but with a physical book, you will always have that resource unless you decide to sell it. Access codes are more complicated, and the details vary per title and per publisher.
- Access codes don't always include an ebook. Sometimes the access code only provides access to quizzes, study guides, and other supplemental learning material. We list on the title whether the access code comes with an ebook or not, if that information is available.
- With digital books, you get a licence to the material for a period of time. Sometimes it's a perpetual licence (“forever”) and other times this is a 6, 12, 18, 24, etc. month access.
- Many digital books are available offline, but some are only available as a webpage.
- Generally, you can't print an entire ebook. There is often a per day or per user printing limit.
- You can't share ebooks with other students. Licences are granted per user.
Why are textbooks so expensive?
It isn’t your imagination, textbooks are expensive! We know you’d rather spend your money on almost anything else, and we do everything we can to keep prices low. The University of Calgary Bookstore is a University run store; we use a cost-recovery model for selling textbooks.
We don't receive any funding from student tuition or fees to operate the store. Any profit made at the bookstore goes directly back into funding our student-focused affordability programs or to the University to fund other important programs.
Are used textbooks available?
My professor said I need a book, but it isn’t listed on your site. What do I do?
What are digital course materials?
What's the difference between an ebook and an access code?
An ebook is simply the digital version of a textbook. An access code is a course-specific password used to gain access to course content online. This often includes ebooks, practice exams, videos, and course assignments, but each one varies.
Digital materials of all kinds are often available to you for a timed subscription - 6 or 12 months, or the duration of your course.
What's included? Are they all ebooks?
Can I return digital materials?
If you purchase directly through us, unfortunately we don't accept digital returns.
It's important to check the title, edition, and any additional materials included in a digital book before you buy it.
How long will I have access?
Can I print my ebook?
Can I access my digital materials offline?
Can I share digital course materials with a friend?
With our current volume, orders will be fulfilled within 1-2 business days.
How to Order
Browse our site to purchase textbooks, digital course materials, general reading books, clothing, and more. When you submit your order, you'll receive a confirmation email with details about your order. This doesn't mean it's ready yet! You'll get a second email when it's been shipped, or is ready for pickup.
For security reasons, we do not accept phone orders.
Cancelling Your Order
Between Aug 29-Sept 15 online orders can be cancelled within 30 minutes of placing your order. If you need to cancel your order, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with "Cancel [Your Order Number]" in the subject line. Unfortunately, after this window your order cannot be cancelled.
Can I get my order shipped to me?
How do I pick up my order?
When you place your order, select in-store pickup. You'll get a confirmation email, then a second email when your order is ready. Follow the instructions in the second email to pick up your order.
Can someone else pick up my order?
How long will it take for my order to get to me?
How do I know if you got my order?
How do I pay for my order?
What’s my tracking number?
Something is wrong with my order! Who do I contact?
Clothing, Giftware, General Reading & Merchandise
We accept returns for a full refund within 14 days of customer purchase with original receipt. Returns must be in new, unopened, unused condition with tags attached.
Physical textbooks and course materials are final sale unless purchased during the safe-buy period.
Compressed, Block Week & CTED Course
These course materials may be returned within 14 days of original purchase OR the first day of class, whichever is first. They may be returned within 7 days of the course being dropped or canceled (prior to the first day of class), with proof of registration and drop or cancellation.
- Digital textbook or other course materials
- Software and/or liceneses
- Shrink wrapped packages where the shrink wrap has been broken
- Medical equipment
Abandoned In-Store Pickups
If your order is not picked up within 30 days we will cancel and refund your order. A 20% restocking fee will be applied.
What if I need to return a textbook Do I need to know anything?
If you are within the safe buy dates, your textbook must be in brand new saleable condition. Here are some general guidelines
- The spine is intact
- No pages are missing, including the cover
- There is minimal to no damage to the cover or contents, including tears, bends and creases
- There is no water damage
- There is minimal to no highlighting, doodles or notes
- At least one University of Calgary Bookstore barcode sticker remains present on the textbook
- In the case of packages or unique course materials, all original components are present (note: eLearning codes packaged with textbooks may be used).
Unfortunately, we are unable to accept textbook returns that do not meet these conditions. Our return standards are set by the publishers.
What if I need to return something that isn’t a textbook?
I need to exchange clothing for a different size.
Can I return or exchange and item by mail?
Ship your item(s) for return to
University of Calgary Bookstore Returns
2500 University Dr NW
Include a copy of your receipt in the box so that we know who to process the refund for. Items must be shipped by their return deadline.
Please keep a copy of the tracking number for your shipment. The bookstore is not responsible for lost, missing, or damaged return shipments.
Returns and refunds are processed when the items reach the store.
Exchanges via Mail: send the item(s) back as a return (see instructions above) and place a new online order for the correct item.
This section is for instructors at UCalgary.
Our textbook team is happy to work with you to find the best course materials available to support student learning. You're experts in your fields, and we're experts in sourcing course materials - let us help! Requesting your books on time through the bookstore supports students using university financial aid programs and helps international students get their books on time.
The bookstore runs a bookloan program that provides free required books to 20 students a semester. This program as well as student sponsorships rely on submitted book lists; students using these programs cannot access them elsewhere.
Please send us a message if you have any questions not covered in this FAQ.
Why work with the bookstore?
There are plenty of reasons to work with us - we make the ordering process as smooth as possible for you. More than that, choosing the bookstore, even when your books are available elsewhere, benefits your students.
Students using University financial aid programs such as our bookloan program or student sponsorships rely on booklists submitted through the bookstore to access their materials. All students use our textbook lookup tool to understand what they need for the semester all in one place, even if they end up purchasing elsewhere. We need your help to keep accurate book lists!
Additionally, international students may be prohibited from purchasing from vendors in other countries, and the bookstore can find alternatives to ensure every student can access what they need for class. We set our adoption deadlines with them in mind, including enough lead time to account for longer shipping times. Submitting your orders by the deadline each semester makes sure international students aren't left behind, and we have enough time to handle any hurdles that come up in the process.
And of course, we're part of the UCalgary community just like you. Any profits we make go right back into supporting the campus.
Has moving courses online changed the adoption process?
Why are your deadlines so early?
Many people wonder why our timelines are set so early. Our goal is to ensure that we have the books for your class start date at the lowest possible price. Here are some of the ways that meeting the Bookstore's timelines helps you, your students, the Bookstore, and the University:
- By combining orders from the same publisher we can reduce freight costs and pass those savings along to the students.
- We ensure there is enough time for the publisher to print and ship the ever increasing number of print on demand books. For some publishers, this is now 100% of their titles. The lead time on these books can be 4-6+ weeks.
- We have more time to source used books in the marketplace. We buy books back from previous students (putting money in their pockets) as well as finding them from many other sources.
- Gives us time to work together if there are problems with your book requests such as; it is no longer in print, it has gone to a new edition, or it is import to order and may take 8-10+ weeks to arrive.
- On-time textbook requests also guide our decisions on which books to return to publishers from previous semesters and which to keep. This saves considerable shipping costs as we may have just returned the books that you need for your courses.
If my textbook request is late, will you rush my textbooks in?
My students don't need a book. Why do I need to tell you?
Why should I choose the bookstore over Amazon, Chapters, or another store?
Many of your students will come by the bookstore looking to pick up everything they need for the semester in one place, and we want to be able to provide that service for them. Additionally, vendors may not have enough copies for your students, will only have a few at a good price, or may not carry the correct edition for your class. We can work with the publisher to have enough copies of the right books for your students.
The bookstore is a university-run department. Our goal, like yours, is student success, not profit; we are here to ensure your students have what they need to succeed in your classes. When you and your students shop at the bookstore, the funds go to support the UCalgary community. They help us run our student-focused programs, and any proceeds we make at year-end go right back into the University.
What information do we need to give you?
The information we need is all included in our textbook request system here: ucalgary.verbacollect.com
Additional information we really appreciate (you can leave us a note with your textbook request or send us an email at email@example.com
- If you have open book exams. This increases the number of students who purchase books.
- Whether your students need the book to pass, or whether many of them will likely get by without it (no matter how much more they'd learn with the book).
- If your students NEED the book, please list it as a required text.
- If the students will use the textbook to supplement their learning please list the book as recommended or optional.
What's the big deal with ISBNs?
An ISBN is an International Standard Book Number - each time something is changed in a book it also changes. When a book is part of a package with a digital resource, or another book the package gets its own unique ISBN. So if you provide us with an ISBN you have for an old edition of a book, or a book that you actually want as a package, we don't have a way to know that.
If you aren't sure what ISBN to order:
- If the book has been used in the past you can look through the textbook ordering system to find the information by searching the "Copy Another Adoption" tab for the previous course.
- If you are using something new, talk to the publishers representative about the proper bundle or book ISBN.
Why don't you bring in enough books for every student in my class?
The reality is that the majority of students will either decide not to purchase their books or buy them from an alternate source. Like all departments at the University, the Bookstore is required to make sound financial decisions. So, we base our buying decisions for each book in each class on the following:
- Sales in previous terms for the course, instructor, and book.
- Whether the book is required or not.
- How long the book has been in circulation.
- The price of the book, and whether other retailers can offer it at a better price than we can.
- Whether there are other editions the students can use.
- Whether the library offers a copy on reserve or a free digital version.
- Whether we can return unsold books or not
- Any additional information you can give us to help us make better buying decisions.
Why are textbooks so expensive?
How can I reduce the costs of textbooks for my students?
- Consider the cost of potential textbooks early in your search for course materials.
- Get your textbook requests in to us early so we can source as many used copies as possible.
- Let us know if your students can use an older edition. We can often get more used copies of older editions.
- Work with your publisher's representative to see if it is possible to get a better price on the book(s) you'd like to use in your class
I've changed my mind and want to use another book.
Please let us know as soon as possible! Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
All costs associated with changing a textbook must be covered by the department. Costs associated with changing books can arise from (but are not limited to) the following situations:
- The bookstore has already placed the order for your original book(s) and now needs to return them and reorder the new material
- Students have purchased the original material and now need to return it to buy the correct material
What is the difference between a required, recommended, optional, and alternate book?
Our definitions are:
- Required books are needed to pass the class. These are the books your students really can't do without.
- Recommended books help students excel in the class.
- Optional books are supplemental. They enhance your students' understanding of the topics covered, or that they may find interesting.
- Alternate books are often previous editions of books, or books students can use in the place of required or recommended books.
How do eBooks work? Can my students purchase an ebook?
Not all textbooks come as eBooks, but more and more do. If you'd like your students to have an option to use the eBook, please let us know when you place your textbook request and we will do our best to track down an option for them. Sometimes the digital book comes as part of a learning platform, and you (as the instructor) may have to set up your course code in that platform in order for your students to access their books. This is usually a very straightforward process. Please also know, that often digital offerings of textbooks are not offered in a standard pdf or eBook platform, but online as webpages in the publisher's elearning platform, and more and more of these platforms operate on a 4, 6, or 12 month subscription basis where the students lose access to their materials after that time frame.
Although the world is becoming more and more digital, you might be surprised to know that in the Winter semester of 2018, when students had the option to buy a digital only version versus a hardcover textbook, students purchased the hardcover book 3-5 times more frequently despite the increased price. Books aren't dead yet! When students buy a hardcopy of the book they know they have the information for as long as they have the book, and if they don't need it, they can often resell the book either to a peer in their program, online, or through the Bookstore's buyback program.
When will my book get here?
The textbook I want is no longer available, what do I do?
You have a couple of different options:
- Sometimes another publisher will have a different version of the book.
- Sometimes you can get permission to have the book reprinted or posted on D2L. To do this you must work with the Copyright office to get permission. You can contact them at email@example.com
My book isn't here, can I photocopy the textbook and hand it out?
The textbook is way too expensive, can I copy parts of the book to hand out or put it on D2L?
I got a message saying the textbook I want to use is out of print or in a new edition.
I need help choosing a new textbook, who should I speak to?
Where did your course package request link go?
The bookstore has a team of talented staff that create custom items for different faculties, teams and departments across Calgary. We have access to top brands of promotional products and can work within any budget. When you work with the bookstore, you'll get the best pricing within the industry - we have zero hidden setup fees and offer free regular shipping.
More than that - all your funds stay on campus. Support the UCalgary community that we all work so hard to serve. The bookstore is fully licensed to use all University of Calgary logos and can ensure your promotional products meet our brand standards.
Browse some of what we have to offer.
Do you accept IDB (Interdepartmental Billings) and P-cards?
Can I pick up my custom order at the Bookstore? If the order is large how do I get it to my office?
How much time does the Bookstore need to get my order in?
This will depend on the size, breadth and application of the order. Certain items can be completed within 2 weeks, but 3 - 6 weeks is common for standard orders. For fastest turnaround, please have your files ready and in .ai or .eps vector format.
We stock a variety of standard branded products in store in large quantities for last minute requests.
How long has the Bookstore been in the promotional products business?