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Textbook FAQ


Book Rental is a system where textbooks for courses numbered 100-499 are furnished to undergraduate students on a rental basis. The textbook rental program is an economical alternative to students, because most other universities make you buy every textbook.

Students pay a flat fee of $147.00 each semester and are entitled to adopt textbooks used in each course numbered 100-499 for which they are registered.

Students can purchase books at the replacement price if they wish, but this does not exempt them from paying the rental fee.

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.

They are defined as below:

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

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.

Renting Books

Book Rental is located in the WCU Bookstore. Student fees must be paid before rental books can be picked up. Students receiving financial aid must complete and return the acceptance form to the University, even if the balance is zero. Please bring your student ID card (also referred to as your "cat card"), when you come to pick up books.

You can see your textbook information in Banner Self-Service. It appears in the class selection area during registration and on your class schedule.

Yes, but please do so as sparingly as possible. These books are usually reissued for several semesters. Students will be billed for books grossly mistreated (ex: dirt, water damage, missing cover, missing pages, etc.).

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 and updates are made, or wait until the first day of class for your instructor to tell you what you need.

Returning Books

Rental textbooks must be returned by the day after final exams for any given semester (including Mini-Mester and Summer sessions). The bookstore recommends turning in your rental textbooks as soon as they are no longer needed. It is your responsibility to ensure you have the appropriate materials for exams and that you meet this deadline.

Unreturned textbooks will be charged to your student account at the replacement cost. Textbooks returned after the deadline will be credited to your student account at 1/2 the replacement cost. Grossly mistreated books must be purchased. Grossly mistreated books must be purchased. This damage can include, but is not limited to: writing, highlighting, missing cover, missing pages, and water damage.

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:

  • Student ID
  • Original register receipt
  • Materials must not be written in or marked in
  • If the book(s) came wrapped, they must have their wrappings still intact

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

If a student receives an incomplete in a course, the student will be allowed to keep the rental book with no penalty, through the following semester, if the student brings written documentation (such as a grade sheet) to Book Rental showing the course with the incomplete. Only textbooks for the incomplete courses may be kept. All other books must be returned on time as stated in the rental policy.

Yes! Be sure to include your name and student id # somewhere in the package and please use the following address:

WCU Bookstore
ATTN: Book Rental
Western Carolina University
311 Memorial Drive
Cullowheem, NC 28723

Supplemental Books

Supplemental textbooks may be required, such as lab manuals, study guides, reference materials, etc. Supplemental textbooks are available through the Bookstore (average cost $52.00).

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.

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 that are NOT included in the buyback:

  • Study Guides
  • Lab Manuals
  • Old Editions
  • Complimentary Copies
  • Customized Class Packets
  • Books with Perforated Pages

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.

Online Ordering

By placing an online order 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

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

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.

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.

Distance Learning

Please note that all textbooks for Distance Learning classes must be purchased. Textbook for Distance Learning are not included in the Book Rental program.

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.

Graduate Students

Graduate students are not charged a rental fee in their tuition. Therefore, they will need to purchase their textbooks at the WCU Bookstore. Textbooks for Graduate students are not included in the Book Rental program.

Unfortunately the bookstore cannot make exchanges, refunds, or give any compensation for books purchased from any other source. The provided ISBN number and required status of each textbook is not meant as a guarantee for purchases made anywhere other than the bookstore.

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