Navigating the Textbook Department
Textbooks are located on the lower level of the University Book Store at
711 State Street. Class books are arranged first by department, next by class within each
department. You can do yourself a large favor by making sure you have a list of your classes
with you when you shop for your books each semester. This list should contain the names of your
professors along with lecture and section numbers. This will help you make sure you're buying the
right books for the right classes. It's not uncommon to have three professors teaching a
particular class using three completely different sets of books.
The University Book Store starts returning unbought books to publishers during the tenth week of class each semester (varies during Summer Session according to length of session). Titles required for you classes may not be available after the tenth week of class.
Reading Shelf Tags
Finding your books during book rush each semester can be an exercise in patience and timing. Fortunately, our system makes it fairly simple to locate the books for your classes. The shelf tag, as seen below, contains all of the information you need:
- The largest printing on the tag is the department name and course
- Just above the department name, find the professor's name. Make sure you're looking at the books for the right professor.
- Just below the course number is the section number. This number corresponds to the lecture
number in your time table. Again, make sure you're looking at books for the proper lecture. Sometimes,
professors swap classes. If this happens, buy books for your lecture number, not professor's name.
- Your course may have books that are required and/or recommended. This is indicated at the top of the shelf tag
- A book's price may not be on the book itself. In all cases, however, the price of a book is found on the shelf tag.
- The price for used copies of a textbook are to the right of the new price. The used price is always listed, even if used copies aren't available during a particular semester.
- Check the bottom of each required book's shelf tag for the number of total books required for that class.
New vs. Used
In an attempt to keep your textbook bill low, the book store offers used books for as many classes as possible. We purchase thousands of used books from students each semester and order more from used textbook vendors.
Often, used books aren't available. The publisher may have issued a new edition and, therefore, there are no used copies in the marketplace. Used books are in high demand at the UW and early shoppers are likely to snatch them up. The best time to buy books if you're looking for used copies is during the week before classes begin.
Paying for your books
The University Book Store accepts cash, checks, Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, or now you may also use your WisCard as a payment option. We can also assist you with purchase orders, blanket orders and other forms of payment. If you have any questions about paying for books, please take them to the textbook service counter. When in doubt, ask. There's nothing worse than waiting in line for 10 minutes only to be told that blanket orders are handled by another cashier.
- ALL RETURNS MUST BE ACCOMPANIED BY A RECEIPT. NO EXCEPTIONS.
- During the summer, return dates depend on the length of each session. Please check with text department staff for summer return dates.
- New books returned for refund must be in sellable condition (free of marks, underlines, names, etc.).
- No money will be refunded on opened software.
Other textbook Services
In addition to the obvious, the text department offers several other services to the UW community.
- Special Orders: Whether it's a reference book for a class or a general interest title, we can track down and order just about any book in print.
- Foreign Language and International Titles: In many cases, we can order books from overseas for you.
- Out-of-Print Searches: For a small fee, we will attempt to locate out-of-print titles for you.
Some What Ifs
What if my books aren't on the shelf? This could happen for a number of reasons. The books might be late in arriving. The enrollment for your class could be higher than first estimated. If you have checked with your professor or teaching assistant and they can't provide an answer, stop by the textbook service counter at the end of aisle 2. They can fill you in on the situation and, in many cases, help you reserve a copy.
What if I buy the wrong books? Despite everyone's best efforts, students frequently buy the wrong books. That's one of the reasons we stress that you hang on to your book store receipts. If you discover you've got the wrong books or you drop a class, simply bring the books along with your receipt to the buyback counter at the front of the textbook department. Compare your books to your syllabi as soon as possible. Full refunds will not be given on books returned after the designated return date each semester.