Textbooks Q+A with Kim

Published on
May 14, 2021 12:17:19 PM PDT May 14, 2021 12:17:19 PM PDTth, May 14, 2021 12:17:19 PM PDT

Textbooks Q+A with Kim

We asked incoming freshmen what they wanted to know about textbooks, and Assistant Store Director, Kim Estes, answered! Questions originally asked before the Fall 2017 semester in the #UT21: Freshman 411 + Giveaways on Facebook. Questions and answers have been updated to reflect Fall 2020 dates.


Q: When will course materials/ textbooks be released on the Austin Co-op book site?

A: Our book list site will be live with course material information mid-July. Please take advantage of accessing your booklist directly from your schedule page at www.utdirect.utexas.edu. All your course materials load automatically from the schedule page so it makes the process that much easier! You will need your UT EID to log in to the UTDirect site. -Kim


Q: If we buy a textbook but then later learn we don't need it or need a different book, can we exchange it or return the book?

A: Absolutely! You have until the 5th day of class to conduct an exchange or refund with receipt. -Kim


Q: Do we have to buy the books before classes start? And if so, where do we find out what books we need?

A: Our largest quantities of used books are available before classes begin. No matter when you purchase the book, you can return before the 5th day of class for a full refund. If you order before classes start, you won't have to wait in lines and will get the best price for used textbooks. To obtain your course materials list, take advantage of accessing your booklist directly from your schedule page at www.utdirect.utexas.edu. Click the load and compare button at the bottom of the screen to go to our website and search for books by class. Our book list is currently live. -Kim


Q: Do you only sell hardcover books, or do you also have PDF? And does the price vary a lot?

A: We offer hardback, paperback, e-book (where available) and custom published course packs through our custom publishing division. Copyright clearance approval has been obtained for all materials we reproduce. We do not provide PDF versions of textbooks unless in a course pack form. They would be more expensive to request permissions to reproduce than the already copyright protected produced versions we offer. PDF versions of textbooks are not eligible for buyback opportunities at the end of the term. -Kim


Q: Do you recommend hard copy books or PDFs? And do you offer PDF textbooks?

A: Hardcopy over PDF for two reasons. Hardcopy or paperback creates an opportunity for rental and if purchased, sell back at the end of the semester. PDF versions of textbooks are not eligible for either. -Kim


Q: Do you compare prices on textbooks?

A: Yes, we do! We list all major online retailer’s prices in real time on our course materials site. Our book list site is currently live. Search for books by course and compare pricing below. Once on our site, you will have the ability to view all pricing. -Kim


Q: What is the price range for textbooks at the Co-op?

A: We work hard to keep our prices very competitive in comparison to online sources. Prices vary greatly depending on the course content you are being provided. We have books under $5.00 all the way up to the most expensive engineering textbook at $250.00. -Kim


Q: Do you have any advice on renting/buying/used textbooks? Are there pros to each or is renting the absolute best?

A: Here are some things to consider. We have many different price options available. Renting books takes the guesswork out of what the value will be at the end of the semester during the buyback period. With renting, all the savings are realized on the front end. When purchasing, acquiring used books over new books will save a minimum of 25% at the time of purchase and they provide a sell back opportunity. At the end of the semester, we pay half of the new book price regardless if you purchased it used. From a sell back standpoint, you get the most return on your investment by purchasing used. The sell back option at the highest price possible, however, does not come with a guarantee. We are unaware in September the future use by faculty for summer or fall terms. This information is requested from faculty in October. -Kim


Q: It makes sense to rent textbooks for classes in fields you won't study again (e.g. Biology if you're an English major), but for classes that are relevant for your major, is it better to rent for the semester, or should you buy them for future reference?

A: If renting is your preference, any title you rent may be purchased during or at the end of the semester. You simply pay the difference between the rental and purchase price. With this strategy you save upfront with time to review the content to determine if it’s beneficial as part of your reference library. -Kim


Q: What are some options for people who really cannot afford even to rent?

A: If you enjoy a dynamic atmosphere and like to help others, why not apply with us? We offer all our student employees a 25% discount on textbooks plus flexible schedules to ensure your education comes first. -Kim


Q: When is the best time to buy textbooks?

A: One to two weeks before classes begin is the best time to buy books. We will have the largest selection of used books available and traffic will be lighter during this time. No matter when you purchase your books  -Kim


Q: Does the Co-op offer all editions of textbooks or simply the ones that are most commonly required and used?

A: The Co-op is the official aggregator for the book list for the University of Texas. This means that if a professor lets us know that they will be using a book for this semester, we will carry it. We will offer any alternate editions the instructor approves for the course. -Kim



 Kim Estes is our Assistant Store Director.