Ordering, Purchasing, and Obtaining Your College Textbooks

One of the most important tasks you need to accomplish in order to ensure a successful first semester is to secure your textbooks and other assigned readings. Although most professors will not expect you to have completed any reading assignments for the first day of class, it is important that you acquire the required texts for a course during the first week of classes as course lectures and discussions may focus on assigned readings as early as the second meeting of the class. You should have all of your textbooks by the end of the first week of classes.

Considerations when ordering and purchasing books

There are numerous sources from which you may be able to obtain required course readings that provide you the opportunity to compare prices, delivery methods, and refund and resale options. However, no one source for purchasing books will necessarily meet all of your needs and preferences. Issues you will want to consider when it comes time to purchase your books include:

  • From where do you want to obtain your textbooks? What are the differences in cost among available options?
  • If shipping is involved, how long will it take? Will you have them for the first week of classes?
  • Do you want to buy new or used books? Does the condition of the book matter to you?
  • What is the availability of the book? Is there a risk the supplier will not have enough copies to meet demand?
  • Do you anticipate keeping the book after the class or do you want to sell it? What if you change your mind?
  • What is the refund policy for returned books that are not used (e.g., you drop a class the second week of the semester and never use the book)?
  • If you decide to rent your books, rather than buy them, does the rental period match your need for the book?
  • Are you allowed to write notes in the book or highlight sections of it?
  • What media formats are available (e.g., e-book, Kindle, iPad, etc.)?
  • Does the distributor have the correct edition of the book?

Case Western Reserve University Bookstore

The CWRU Barnes & Noble Bookstore is located on campus at 11434 Uptown Ave. The bookstore has all the supplies necessary to prepare you for your first semester at CWRU. The CWRU textbook section in the bookstore is located on the second floor. You can also visit the store online at case.bncollege.com. As a Barnes & Noble College Bookstore, you can use B&N gift cards to purchase your textbooks online or in the store. The primary advantage to using the CWRU Bookstore is that no shipping is involved; you can simply pick up your textbooks when you arrive on campus. The bookstore works directly with your professors to make sure they have the correct copies and editions of the books assigned for their classes. Purchasing options at the CWRU Bookstore include:

  1. New textbooks can be a good investment. Further, you can potentially get money back if you sell your book back to the bookstore at the end of the term.
  2. Used textbooks can save you up to 25 percent compared to new books. The bookstore has a large selection of used books that are still in good condition, but they tend to run out quickly. These books can also be sold back for cash at the end of the term. Plus, buying used books is friendly to the environment.
  3. Digital textbooks are available in some instances. These books are the same ones you see on the shelves, just in a different format. It’s a great option for those who want to lighten the load of their backpacks, save money, or decrease their impact on the environment.
  4. Renting textbooks can save you over 50 percent compared to new books. If shopping in the store, just look for books with a "Rental" sticker on them. Students can pay for rental books with cash, credit card, Barnes & Noble gift cards, or Case Cash. A credit card will need to be on file to ensure you return the textbook. Rented books can be marked up with notes and highlighted. Students must be 18 years of age to rent textbooks.

There are several ways to order books from the CWRU Bookstore online. One option is through SIS. Once you register for your classes through SIS, click the "Order My Books" link found at the bottom of the "My Class Schedule" page when in list view. (Make sure to unblock pop-ups.) This link will take you to the bookstore’s website, where you can see the list of books you need for each class. 

When to buy your textbooks

Many students worry about when they should purchase their textbooks, especially if they are not certain they want to keep all of the courses for which they registered at CWRU. While there is no expectation that students purchase their books prior to the first day of class, you may want to consider doing so if you want to begin reviewing materials or get a jump on your reading before classes start, or to guarantee that you will have the books you need at the beginning of the semester.

If you decide to purchase your textbooks before the semester begins, keep the return/refund policies in mind in case you decide to change a course or your entire schedule during the semester’s drop/add period (first two weeks of the semester). If you purchase your books from the CWRU Bookstore, you may return them in their original purchase condition and with a receipt within the first week of classes for a full refund. If you drop a class, you can still get a full refund within 30 day of the start of classes if you return the books in their original purchase condition with a receipt and proof of the course drop.

Bookstore Bucks

Case Western Reserve University and the Barnes & Noble University Bookstore are pleased to offer the Bookstore Bucks program, which allows students to charge textbooks and academic supplies directly to their financial accounts. This program is available to all CWRU undergraduates. Additional information about the Bookstore Bucks program can be found through Campus Services