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Textbook Help

How much do you really know about buying textbooks?
The CU Book Store is here to disprove some common misconceptions, and show you how easy getting the books you need can be!

Day 1 Digital Access

As part of our continued efforts to keep the cost of course materials as low as possible and access to those materials as close to the first day of class as possible, professors, the CU Book Store and publishers work together to deliver select materials through a program called “Day 1 Digital Access”. These digital course materials are accessed through the Learning Management System.

The advantage to this method of course materials delivery is twofold. First, every student in the course has access to the materials immediately. Second, the CU Book Store will bill students for these materials on their tuition and fee bill at a negotiated low price unavailable to the general public.

What does this mean for students?

  1. If they are enrolled in a course using Day 1 Digital Access materials, they do not need to take action unless they wish to opt out of the materials.
  2. If they opt out they must do so by the deadline or they will be charged for the materials. Students can opt out (which means they don’t pay for anything, but lose all access to the materials, including homework tools) by using the link in the email they received with the subject-line “Day 1 Digital Access”.
  3. Please keep in mind that “opting out” means access to these materials will be turned off and students may have no way to complete assignments.
  4. Students MUST opt out no later than:
    • Course drop deadline for fall and spring semesters
    • Third class day for summer terms
  5. Any student who opts out will receive an email confirming they have opted out.

If you see a ‘Day 1 Digital Crs Material’ charge on your tuition and fee bill, you can correlate this with several emails from us with the subject line containing ‘Day 1 Digital Access’. You also should have received information about the program from your professor and your class syllabus.

Day 1 Digital Access charges will usually show on either the second or third bill of the semester. They are billed after the course drop deadline to give students the maximum amount of time to make choices about their course schedule and for students to have a chance to opt out and pursue other course material formats.

If you received a refund (from financial aid or for other reasons), the Bursar cannot hold refunds in anticipation of future charges. If a charge does come on the bill after you received a refund, you are responsible for paying the additional charges.

Access Code Help

Reminder Before opening any code, utilize your free trial period. Trial periods vary by publisher, so check to see how long you have to use the program for free before opening a non-returnable product.

The world of online homework managers is complex and often confusing. We’ve put together this page of videos to help you understand and navigate your way through the various programs you may be utilizing in your classes to do homework, turn in assignments, and improve your learning experience. We hope that having this resource saves you time and that you find the information useful. Before watching the videos, there are a few things to know that will help you from becoming frustrated.

  1. Before opening or attempting to access any online homework manager, attend class first. You should be given all the information you need to successfully begin using this software in class.
  2. If there is any chance you may drop the course, most programs offer a free trial period. Use it. If you open the access code, both the code and your textbook are not returnable even if you drop the course.
  3. In general, three things are usually needed to access your software: a URL or course code, a valid email address, an access code (usually purchased at the bookstore or included with your textbook)
  4. In the event that something doesn’t work, almost every publisher provides an online chat service or 24/7 phone support. This should be the first place you go for help.

Getting Started Vidoes

Connect and ConnectPlus Videos (published by McGraw-Hill)


MyLab and Mastering Videos (published by Pearson)

Getting Started
Success Stories
How to use

Aplia Video (published by Cengage)

Registering and Getting Started

Mindtap Video (published by Cengage)

Registering and Getting Started

Cengage Unlimited

Please visit the Cengage Frequently Asked Questions page for information on Cengage Unlimited.

Purchasing Textbooks

A textbook list is not required. You have two options:
  1. Come into the store with your course schedule and use the Textbook Department Floor Map.
  2. Place an order online using your course schedule.
For a breakdown of a typical textbook dollar, see NACS PDF on where the new textbook dollar goes.
To help us prepare for the next semester, the CU Bookstore must return all overstock to the publishers, in order that we have empty shelf space when the textbooks for next semester arrive. It is highly advisable that you purchase all of the textbooks you need at the beginning of the semester, because textbook returns begin about six weeks after classes start. If we sell out of (or return) copies of a textbook or reprint that you need, please come to the textbook desk and place a pre-paid special order.

We accept Visa, Master Card, American Express, Discover, checks (with a valid ID), Buff Gold, and cash. Students can also bill to their Tuition and Fee Bill. It is absolutely essential that you save your receipts all semester in case you need to return or exchange a textbook for any reason. Please see our return policy.
Your parents can...
  • ...come to the bookstore with you and pay for your textbooks at that time.
  • ...order your textbooks online and have them shipped to the address of your choice.

A few possibilities:

  • The instructor will not be using a textbook or has chosen an alternative to a traditional book, e.g. online resources.
  • The instructor did not get their required textbook information to us by our deadline.
  • Even though we have ordered them, the textbooks have not arrived yet. Check back later.
  • The instructor has not yet told us which textbooks they want to use.
  • The publisher we have ordered the textbooks from is out of stock and we must wait until they can get or print more.
For more detail on textbook status, see our Textbook Status Page.

If it appears we've sold out, come to the textbook desk and place a pre-paid special order. The textbook desk can also tell if there is a problem with the textbook you need which is why it might not be on our shelves.

Ordering Textbooks

Yes, but please allow approximately two business days from the time you made your order for it to be processed. WE WILL SEND AN ORDER STATUS UPDATE EMAIL WHEN YOUR ORDER IS READY TO BE PICKED UP. Please bring a copy of the email, and a picture ID to the customer service desk. We appreciate your business!
Yes, we can ship to any address. Normal shipping rates apply.
If you chose not to have new books substituted for used books in the “Used Book Substitution Policy” popup while creating your order and we did not have a used copy then we will cancel that book off your order.
That depends partly on what shipping method you chose, partly on when you placed your order. The CU Book Store online order fulfillment department is not open on weekends. Orders placed between close on Friday and 8:00am Monday morning will not be processed until Monday. It is our goal to ship orders in a timely manner. Please allow 7 to 10 business days to receive your order if you chose UPS shipping.

Renting Textbooks

Fall and Spring books will be able to be returned in-person, or can be shipped back. We strongly recommend that you ship your parcel with tracking and insurance to protect against lost and/or damaged shipments. If you are returning by mail, please mark the package as follows and be sure to include your full name and IdentiKey user name (not password) with your books:

CU Book Store
Attn: Rental Returns
36 UCB
1669 Euclid Ave.
Boulder, CO 80309

The goal of our rental programs is to provide our customers with an additional cost-saving option for their textbook purchases.
Please read the rental agreement before you rent textbooks.
  1. Come into the store and one of the knowledgeable staff in our Textbook department will be eager to help you. After finding an eligible book, proceed to any of our cashiers and prior to beginning the check-out process, let them know which books you want to rent.
  2. Enter your course schedule on our web site. If your book can be rented, a rental option will be available.
The few books that are not rentable at the CU Book Store may be custom editions,include one-time use software, and have other similar characteristics. We strive to make as many titles rentable as possible.
A customer who brings back a book too damaged to re-sell (water damage, pages falling out, binding ripped, etc.) must pay the difference between the rented price and the used price. This option is available prior to the return deadline. If the customer decides not to return a damaged book, then the customer is responsible for the replacement cost, which is the full, used price of the book. This is in addition to any rental fees they have already paid. For the penalty, we always charge the credit card used to rent the book, which may be their parents’ credit card.
Yes, just come into the store and we’ll charge you the difference between therental price and the full retail price. You will pay the same as if you simply bought the book in the first place.
Rentals are due back the same semester they are rented. The exact date of the deadline will be printed on your textbook rental agreement.
A customer who does not return a rental book by the due date must pay the full replacement cost of the book. This is in addition to any rental fees they have already paid. We always charge the account used to rent the book, which may be their parents’ credit card.

Used Textbooks

Yes! You can save money by purchasing used textbooks. Used titles are sold at 25% less than the current retail price and the CU Book Store has the largest stock of used textbooks in the Boulder area.
Not Always. Although we try to stock as many used textbooks as possible, they sell out first and availability is limited. If a professor is using a brand new edition for the class or requires CDs or pin codes that we can only get with new textbooks from the publisher, then used textbooks won’t be available at all in that title.
Yes! After a textbook selection is made there will be an option to purchase the used edition if the textbook is available used. The CU Book Store reserves the right to substitute new textbooks for used or used textbooks for new, depending on availability at the time the order is pulled. If you do not wish to have any substitutions, please indicate "no substitutions please" in the “Special Shipping Instructions” box while completing your order. Please note that if you indicate “no substitutions please,” we will ship nothing if your preference is not available.
No. Buy back rates are determined by whether that particular textbook and edition will be used the following semester, and how many copies are needed.

Returning Textbooks

We offer a full refund (different from buy back) until the return deadline each semester. Please see our complete return policy.
During Fall and Spring, the return deadline is the end of the first week of school. During Maymester and Summer, it is the third day of classes. Check your receipt for this semester's deadline. Special returns deadlines apply to books for Continuing Education evening credit courses as well as correspondence courses.
After the return deadline, documentation of dropping a course is required to return course materials. Those course materials must be returned within 48 hours of the drop in original purchase condition, with receipt and documentation. Returns due to withdrawal are done on a case-by-case basis and are up to the discretion of the CU Book Store.
That depends. If it was a book or a group of books or other course materials, all items must be present and in new condition, but a re-shrink-wrapping fee applies. If the book(s) are no longer in new condition, you may only receive a partial refund. If the shrink-wrapped item is a course reader or packet of photocopies, they are not returnable if opened.

Textbook "Sellback"

You can return a textbook for full price before our return deadline, but some conditions apply. You can sell your textbooks back to the store during Sellback, generally conducted at the end of each semester, but you will not get the same amount you paid for the textbook.
We do not give price quotes on textbooks over the phone. The Sellback price is affected by many factors including whether or not a textbook will be used in the next semester, how many copies are needed, and the publisher-suggested retail price. Not all textbooks can be sold back to the bookstore. It is best to sell your textbooks back early during the end-of-semester Sellback.
No. Sellback rates are determined by whether that particular textbook and edition will be used the following semester, how many copies are needed, and the current publisher-suggested retail price. Additionally, your textbook must be in reasonable condition. We do not Sellback textbooks that are falling apart or have any water damage.
Yes. Selling your textbooks during the Sellback period at the end of each semester will bring the premium price for your texts. It is best to sell your textbooks early during Sellback, as top dollar is paid only for the number of titles needed to "fill an order." For example, assume ten copies of Lycanthropy are needed for next semester’s course. You happen to be the tenth person selling this textbook during Sellback. Lucky you! You will receive $25 for it. However, since only ten copies were needed, the person behind you with the eleventh copy only receives $2.
Sellback at the end of the semester is the best time to sell your textbooks. This is the period when the CU Book Store purchases used texts for the next semester, and you have the best opportunity to receive top dollar for your textbooks. You can also sell your textbooks to publishers at the beginning of each semester. Typically, prices offered for textbooks are less during this time.

You can also sell your textbooks back any time year-round by taking them to the Customer Service counter in the CU Book Store. Prices offered during this time tend to be lower than other Sellback periods. Additionally, fewer titles are typically purchased at this time.
Sometimes we cannot Sellback certain textbooks, but we make book donations on a regular basis to various charitable organizations that supply libraries and educators in prisons, Native American reservations, third world countries, etc. During Sellback we accept book donations.

Notice of Limited Liability

The CU Book Store provides information on course materials used for courses at the University of Colorado Boulder based on information submitted by instructors and suppliers. It is believed to be correct and current information at the time of publication. However, book and materials listings and prices may be changed at any time as new information is received from the college, instructor, or supplier, and to correct errors.

The CU Book Store is not responsible for any damages that may result from the use of information posted on our site, delays in processing orders, or errors and delays by any third party in processing delivery of orders. The CU Book Store will ONLY correct billing and shipping errors and allow refunds on products purchased from the CU Book Store within published policy limits. We are not responsible for damages or correcting errors on books or merchandise not purchased from the CU Book Store.