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Tips for Buying Textbooks


1. Visit the bookstore’s comparison textbook ordering site. This site displays textbook prices for the bookstore and several online sources, including Amazon. Textbook pricing includes buying and renting used or new copies as well as ebook versions. This portal provides a bounty of options to help you make a cost-conscientious decision. Access the bookstore textbook ordering portal as follows:

  • www.dickinson.edu/store
  • Click on ‘Start Comparison Shopping’ or ‘Shop Bookstore Only’ links.
  • Proceed with ordering

2. When visiting the bookstore textbook portal for the first time, be sure to read all the information provided. Information includes an FAQ section, textbook return policy, pre-order pick-up dates, disclaimers, etc. Of particular interest is the FAQ addressing courses with books listed as ‘choice’. Such books often appear in science, language, and math courses.

  • Shop early! Early buyers have the greatest opportunity to secure lower priced used books and are more likely to avoid out-of-stock concerns. Often, prices increase as stock is depleted, so again, shop early.
  • Consider renting your textbooks as this is the least upfront cash outlay option. Abide by the end-of-semester rental return requirements to avoid significant replacement fees. If you intend to reuse the book for a second semester, buying the book may be a less expensive option.
  • Consider the ebook option which is available on many of the titles adopted each semester. This option generally provides multiple leasing periods (90 day, 120 day, 180 day, unlimited day) and is often priced significantly less than printed copies.

3. We strongly recommend buying the books required for your courses at the beginning of the semester since availability may become a concern as the semester progresses. Overstock textbooks available through your bookstore are returned to wholesalers and publishers during spring and fall breaks and would require a special order to fulfill a request at that point. Special order pricing may include premium shipping costs.

4. Beware when buying from Amazon. Below are several concerns that arise when using Amazon as your primary shopping site. Conversely, buying from your bookstore eliminates the concerns noted below:

  • Often, should you drop a course, return issues arise with individual sellers that refuse to accept book returns.
  • Make sure the edition you are buying on Amazon is not an instructor’s edition
  • Delivery windows vary widely when purchasing from Amazon. Sellers have up to 22 days to deliver the requested textbook to the buyer.
  • Verify that the ISBN is correct before placing your Amazon order.

5. If buying used copies inspect the book to ensure no hidden damage exists (water damage, loose binding, missing pages) that may jeopardize buyback or your ability to read the text.

6. Questions may be directed to the textbook staff at Amy: 717-245-1961 and Katie: 717-245-1389.

7. Support your bookstore that supports you, our students! Proceeds from bookstore textbook sales remain within the college and the funds are used to sponsor a variety of programs and projects.