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Frequently Asked Questions

Faculty FAQs

  • Why does the store set such early deadlines for textbook adoption forms?
    In truth, the University Store does not set the deadline for textbook adoption forms. The date is set by the provost office in an effort to keep the university in compliance with federal law that requires textbook information to be available to students at the time of their enrollment.
    It also takes time to process the large volume of textbook adoption forms for every course Oklahoma State offers. There are all kinds of variables that may need to be pinned down in processing each book adoption request, like: resolving problems with requests and communicating back to faculty; preparing lists for used book wholesalers; seeking out availability and best prices among multiple distributors; ascertaining when new editions will be available; finding out whether textbooks bundled with other components can be obtained separately; and reviewing enrollment figures and sales histories to help determine how many copies to buy. Additionally, because thousands of college bookstores order books within the same period, wholesalers and publishers need time to process and ship the flood of orders.
    We also need the adoption forms so we know which used books to buy back from our students.
  • What questions should I ask a publisher's representative to get at the key issues related to the price of a textbook?
    There are several questions to ask when deciding which textbook to adopt:
    • How much will this book cost my students? Remember, though, that when asked for the price of the text, publisher’s sales representatives frequently quote the cost of the textbook to the University Store – that is, the net cost. The net cost does not include the University Store’s markup, which reflects operational expenses and other costs of doing business. However, if you know the net cost we will be happy to estimate the retail price your students will pay. On new texts, the University Store operates on a 20 percent gross margin. The national average is 25.5 percent. The University Store makes a concentrated effort to keep the margin low, in order to keep costs as low as possible for students.
    • Is the textbook available by itself or sold only as part of a bundle?
    • What online resources are available to students with the purchase of the text, and are they available to anyone, or only to students who buy a new copy?
    • When is the next edition going to be released?
  • Why doesn't the University Store sell textbooks at cost?
    The University Store must add a certain amount to the cost of all merchandise, including both used and new textbooks, to cover our operating expenses and Student Union overhead, such as staff wages and benefits; freight; utilities and insurance; cleaning and repairs; supplies; and other costs. The University Store also contributes funds back to the campus community and generates $17 million of the Student Union’s $22 million budget. These monies support the Union’s operations, programs and services, including the much-utilized Department of Leadership & Campus Life, helping to keep student fees to a minimum.
  • I hear students complaining they receive little for their used books. How does the store determine what to pay?
    The value of a used book depends a great deal on whether or not that particular book is going to be used on this campus next semester. The University Store is able to pay more for books that will stay on this campus, possibly as much as half of the retail price of a new book. If the book is not going to be assigned here next semester, the store will check with wholesale book companies to find out if they are buying the book. Wholesalers typically pay less because they have to add the costs of shipping and other normal business expenses to the resale prices.
    Unless a textbook adoption form has been submitted to the store, we do not know whether a book will be used again next semester. The store cannot afford to buy back books on speculation. In the absence of an adoption form, students receive only the lower wholesaler buyback rate, possibly even nothing if there is no demand elsewhere for the book.
  • If there is so much demand for used books, why doesn't the University Store buy back all of the textbooks students bring in?
    There are many reasons why a book might not be bought back. Possibly the book is not being used anywhere next semester. The book may be part of a required bundle of items that cannot be sold separately. The copy may be in poor condition. The store and/or wholesaler may have reached the needed amount (the number of copies we buy back is based on anticipated enrollment for the next semester). We cannot afford to buy more copies than we expect to sell.


Student FAQs

  • Why should I buy my textbooks from the University Store?
    Because the University Store goes beyond the classroom. When you shop at the University Store 100% of your purchases benefit Oklahoma State University and its students. The University Store is owned and operated by Oklahoma State University, and unlike other privately-owned bookstores or online retailers, every purchase made in the University Store stays on campus to fund student programs and services, keeping student fees to a minimum.
  • What is the University Store doing to address textbook affordability?
    Textbook costs are an issue for students at every university across the country. The University Store shares your concerns regarding textbook prices and we work diligently to find innovative ways to help manage your overall investment. Our strategies include:
    • Making more used books available
    • Consulting with faculty to help them understand the prices of the materials they’re considering
    • Educating faculty on the importance of submitting their textbook adoptions on time
    • Making textbook buyback days more convenient and worthwhile for students
  • How are textbook prices determined?
    Publishers are responsible for most of the costs associated with textbooks. There is no such thing as a “list” price for textbooks. Publishers sell to the University Store at a wholesale price, and we set a retail price that allows enough margin to cover our costs for shipping charges, collating the books on the shelves, salaries, utilities, etc.
  • Do I need to purchase all the textbooks available for my courses?
    Not necessarily. Be sure to check the tags on the textbooks shelves to distinguish between titles that are required by your professor and those that are optional. Sometimes course materials are offered both digitally as well as in print, and both might not be necessary.
  • Can I charge my University Store purchases to my bursar account?
    Unlike shopping anywhere else, students who are enrolled for the current academic term and who do not have a hold on their bursar account may charge up to $1,500 per semester at the University Store for textbooks and other academically-related materials. Some items, like computers and tablets, are not eligible for bursar charge without prior approval from financial aid. To use your bursar charge in store you must have a valid OSU student ID. If you are purchasing your textbooks online and meet the requirements for charging, the bursar charge button will automatically be displayed as an option at checkout.
  • What is the University Store's textbook refund policy?
    You can return textbooks within the first 10 days of the semester during the fall or spring, or within the first five days of the semester during the summer, for a full refund as long as you have your receipt. Therefore, we recommend you not write in or unwrap any book until you are sure you will be keeping it for the semester, just in case you need to return it. All refunds will be given according to the initial method of payment only.
  • Does the University Store buy back textbooks at the end of the semester?
    Yes! The University Store will faciliate textbook buybacks during pre-finals and finals week each semester at several convenient locations around campus. The University Store’s goal is to buy back as many textbooks as possible, allowing students to turn their unwanted books into cash and enabling us to offer a large selection of used books the following semester, thus saving you money. You can sell your textbooks back to the University Store regardless of where the textbook was originally purchased or whether it was in new or used condition. Even if a textbook is not being used at OSU the following semester, the University Store buys back thousands of additional titles that are being used on other campuses nationwide.
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