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      Student FAQ

Who selects the textbooks and supplies we use?

Required and recommended textbooks, as well as supplies, are selected by the instructor. These materials are requested, then ordered by the WCU Bookstore. Each textbook requested is to enhance & complement what the instructor presents in class.

Why are textbooks so expensive?

Older textbooks were strictly "text" books. Today, however, photos and graphics on clay-based paper, teacher aids, software, templates, and other multi-media add-ons have increased the classic textbook's price to the bookstore. Also, for example, a chemistry text has a sales life of less than two years for the publisher. In order to recoup the initial research, development, and production costs, along with royalties and a bit of profit to satisfy stockholders, as well as money to begin new projects, the publisher must charge increasingly higher prices to cover those costs. Costs tend not to decrease with sales decreases.

What goes into the cost of a textbook?

Please see the National Association of College Stores website here for a PDF file of how each dollar from a new textbook sale is calculated.

Where do I find my textbook information needed for my course/section?

You can see your textbook information in Banner Self-Service. It appears in the Class Selection area during registration and on your Class Schedule.

I do not see my course/section listed on your website, what materials do I need?

If you do not see your course or section listed on our website, it means that at this time, we have not received any course material information from your professor. Continue to check our website daily, as new orders are provided & updates are made, or wait until the first day of class for your instructor to tell you what you need.

What are E-books?

E-books (short for electronic book) are the digital version of printed textbooks. Publishers have started producing e-books as a low cost alternative to purchasing physical textbooks. If you select this option for the course you will be given an access code, which will give you access to the material on your personal computer or mobile device.

How do I obtain my materials for a distance learning course?

Distance Learning students are not charged a rental fee. Therefore, they have to purchase their textbooks. Distance Learning books are available for purchase either in-store or online here.

Do you ship books? Can I get my order expedited?

We certainly can ship books that you purchase through the WCU Bookstore website. When checking out, select the option Text UPS Ground and the current shipping rate will be added to the total of your purchase. At no extra charge, students can also request courier to WCU Programs at Biltmore Park Campus as a shipping option.
  • Please note that we do not ship to P.O. Boxes or on-campus dormitories.
  • Please call for expedited and international shipping rates, including Alaska and Hawaii.

What determines if you are buying my book(s) back, and how much I will get for it?

If the professor has decided to use the book the following semester, we will pay 50% of the new book price until we have reached our limit. Once we reach our limit, or if the book is no longer being used, we will pay a national wholesale price based on edition and popularity of the book nationwide.
  • Items NOT included in the buyback
    • Study Guides
    • Lab Manuals
    • Old Editions
    • Complimentary Copies
    • Customized Class Packets
    • Books with Perforated Pages
Other factors important to the value of selling textbooks:
  • Condition of the book
  • If it is a current edition that is still in use
  • If it is being used in the following semester

When is the best time to sell back my books?

WCU Bookstore buyback is always the week of finals during the Spring and Fall Semesters. Buyback for WCU Programs @ Biltmore Park Campus, 28 Schenck Parkway usually occurs on the last Thursday of Spring Semester and Fall Semester from 4:30-6:30pm.

What are the benefits of placing an online order?


By placing an order online you:
  • Avoid long lines at rush with one stop shopping
  • Can use financial aid to purchase books
  • Better chance at getting used books by ordering early
  • Save time by letting us pull the books for you
  • Use your parents credit card

When I place an online order, when will I be charged?

You will be charged after we have pulled and verified the books you ordered. You are not charged immediately after the order is submitted.

What does it mean when a book is on backorder?

A textbook that is on backorder means that we either have not received our shipment of the book in the store, or that we may have sold out at that time. You will not be charged for the backorder until the book arrives in the store.

Why was my textbook canceled from my order?

There are a few reasons that a book may have been marked as canceled on your order:
  • At some point between the time you place the order and the time we process it, the professor has decided to cancel an item from the required list of readings.
  • With an ebook and a textbook, sometimes both are selected. We will contact you as to which of the items to provide and cancel the other off your order, as you only need one.

What are the different textbook statuses?

  • Required: The professor has indicated that this material is required for their course.
  • Recommended: The professor has indicated this material might be beneficial to the student as a recommended material.
  • Optional: Ebooks are listed as optional. You can choose the text or the ebook.

Why is the amount from my confirmation e-mail different from what I was charged?

Your confirmation e-mail shows the total as the amount if everything on your order was fulfilled as requested. However, sometimes that is not possible due to stock issues. If you selected a used copy and we did not have one, a new one was added in its place, causing the price change. Also, if a book was backordered, you were not charged for it and your amount would be less.

What is the refund policy for textbooks?

The refund policy states that for Spring Semester and Fall Semester, you have 7 business days from the date of purchase to return a textbook for a full refund. For Summer Session, you have 3 business days from the date of purchase to return a textbook for a full refund. During the last two weeks of any semester, no refunds are allowed.

In order to receive a full refund or exchange you will need the following:
  • Your student ID
  • Your original register receipt
  • The materials must not be written in or marked in
  • If the book(s) came wrapped, they must have their wrappings still intact

I need to send an item back to the bookstore for a refund. How do I go about that?

We are happy to take your returns via UPS or USPS, but please do the following:
  • Include the receipt or order invoice in the box with the returned items
  • If you need to exchange an item, please include a note with what you would like to exchange, or leave a phone number for us to call.
  • Please send all returned items to:
WCU Bookstore
Western Carolina University
311 Memorial Drive
Cullowhee, NC 28723

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