Textbook & Course Material FAQs
From new and used print textbooks to digital ebooks and access codes, the UofT Bookstore has you covered for all of your course material needs. Having so many options can be overwhelming, but we're here to make shopping for course materials as simple as possible! Read on to learn more about different course material formats, ways to save money on textbooks, and more.
Physical Textbooks & Course Materials
Required course materials are materials that your instructors have specified you will need for the duration of your courses. Other course materials that are labeled "Recommended" or "Referenced" are additional resources that will help you throughout your courses, but are not required. Please note that "Alternate" course materials are the same as your "Required" materials, but in a different format.
New textbooks are sourced new directly from the publishers. We work closely with publishers to offer the lowest possible prices for new textbooks. In addition to new books, used copies are also available for many assigned titles. Used textbooks are pre-loved and are sold at a fraction of the price of a new copy.
If you find a new textbook selling for less on another Canadian website, we encourage you to take advantage of our Textbook Price Match Guarantee. More information can be found below or at https://www.uoftbookstore.com/textbook-price-match-guarantee.
Our used textbook stock primarily consists of textbooks purchased during our buyback programs. However, if we do not get enough supply from buybacks, we must order additional used inventory from a wholesale supplier. This does mean that stock of used books is limited, and because used books are often significantly cheaper than new books, the do sell out very quickly. Be sure to get here early in the term for the best chance of getting hold of one!
We understand the importance of reducing course material costs as much as possible, so please rest assured that we are always looking for ways to save students money. For this reason, we work closely with publishers to purchase course materials at a wholesale discount so that we are able to sell them at the publishers' lowest recommended/required price with no additional markups.
We offer used copies of many of our titles that are sold at a fraction of the cost of new copies. Stock for used copies can be limited so we advise purchasing them as early as possible. Our Textbook Price Match Guarantee and Textbook Sell-Back Program are other great ways to save and get money back for purchased textbooks.
Refunds or exchanges of physical course materials can be made within 14 days of original date of purchase; some exceptions may apply. All digital course materials and other final sale course materials cannot be returned nor exchanged. Returnable course materials must be in their original condition to be eligible. Our full return policy can be found at https://www.uoftbookstore.com/returns.
Final sale course materials include but are not limited to: custom courseware such as lab manuals, course packs, custom readers, custom texts, and Print-on-Demand, digital course materials, access codes, spiral bound course materials, test preps, and exam guides. All returnable shrink-wrapped course materials become non-returnable as soon as the shrink-wrap is removed. All course materials that are purchased 6 weeks after the start of the Fall and Winter terms or 3 weeks after the start of Summer F, S and Y terms are final sale.
Some books are written and printed for specific courses (they are Print-On-Demand, or POD – hence BookPOD). All BookPOD books are considered custom courseware and are final sale.
During rush periods, our processing teams may automatically substitute new books for used books and used books for new books if the copy in your order is out of stock at time of order processing. Your new order total will reflect the automatic substitution. If you would like to return the substituted textbook, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org with your return request within 14 days of when your order is processed.
Automatic substitutions are done to ensure you have your required course materials as soon as possible during rush periods.
Digital Course Materials
Digital course materials are online eBooks and other components that can be accessed on your electronic devices such as computers and mobile phones or tablets.
Some instructors will require you to purchase digital course materials in order to access content such as online tests, assignments and interactive videos. If a digital course material is labelled as "Required", the instructor will be taking content from it that you will need in your course; this may be digital content such as online tests and assignments, or an eBook that is not available in a physical format. Always check all the options available when purchasing digital course materials. Some physical textbooks are sold in packages that include online components if you prefer physical textbooks.
Some digital course materials will be their own item listings and will have "CEI" in their titles. Other digital course materials will be grouped with new and used physical textbooks and will have " ### - vs" or "perpetual - vs" as purchasing options.
Access codes are password keys that give you access to your digital course materials. The content you access depends on the codes, but can include things such as eBooks, practice exam questions, interactive videos to help you understand course concepts, and course assignments. If your professor requires you to purchase an access code, it is because at least part of your grade will be related to and/or come from the online content. If your professor recommends that you purchase an access code, it is probably because the online content gives you access to additional study material. Access codes do not always include an eBook. Please refer to the course material details to know whether or not an eBook is included with the access code.
Access codes do not always include an eBook. Please refer to the course material details to know whether or not an eBook is included with the access code.
Most eBooks presently available are digital versions of the physical textbook. Unlike physical textbooks that only refer you to online content, eBooks are already conveniently linked to digital study questions, quizzes, and rich media. Please refer to the course material details to know whether or not an eBook is already included in your purchase of a physical textbook.
Access codes are generally tied to specific textbooks and are not interchangeable. You will need to buy appropriate access codes for each specific course material that you need one for.
All purchases of digital course materials are final sale and cannot be returned nor exchanged. Ensure you are purchasing the correct digital course material before check out.
Before buying your course materials, it is best to do a bit of research to determine the difference in cost between buying a new package that includes the access code versus buying a used package and access code separately. While we know you want to save money by buying used books, sometimes it ends up costing you more to buy the used book and access code separately. Also, if you purchase a used textbook from a source other than your University Bookstore, the access code may not be available for individual sale.
Generally, access codes are supposed to be set up to allow students access to online content for the duration of their course, but it can vary depending on the code. For most digital course materials, you will see options to get access for as short as 30 days all the way up to permanent access. If an option for "perpetual - vs" is available for purchase, this option allows you access the eBook offline even after your online access ends.
Perpetual access is a lifetime access to the eBook offline, even after the online license expires.
Each access code is unique and can only be used by one person.
Each access code includes details on how to get technical support from the publisher of the access code. Please contact the access code's specific publisher to see if there is a technical issue that is preventing you from using your access code.
Digital access will vary for each digital course material. Some access codes allow for downloads and do not require an internet connection while some access codes do require an internet connection. Some digital course materials can be accessed via the computer only while some can be accessed on any device of your choosing.
The option to print your eBook will vary for each digital course material and is determined by the publisher. Some eBooks will have the option to print (at your own cost) while some will not.
Because each access code is unique and can only be used by one person, digital course materials are not transferable and therefore cannot be sold to anybody after use.
VS stands for VitalSource. If a course material has a "vs" option, it means that you are able to purchase a digital version of this course material.
CEI stands for Campus eBookstore Inc. If a course material has "CEI" in its title, it means that it is a digital course material.
For CEI support, please contact email@example.com directly. They can provide the best solutions to any issues you may be having with their products.
Textbook Price Match Guarantee
Our Textbook Price Match Guarantee is a great way for you to get the best price for your new textbooks. We work hard to offer you the best prices for your textbooks. If you find your textbooks for less on another Canadian website, we'll match the price and give you an additional 10% of the difference.
There are two ways to price match your textbook; one is in-person at our participating Bookstores and the other is online. Before price matching, carefully read the full Terms & Conditions to ensure that your book and the competitor listing are eligible for price matching. In-store Price Match: Visit the Course Material Information Desk at a participating Bookstore with a copy of the webpage for the lower-priced textbook. Complete a form to verify your price match. Once verified, take the completed form and copy of the webpage to the Customer Service desk where we can complete your price match. Online Price Match: Order your textbook on our website as normal and take note of your order number found both in the order confirmation page as well as email. Complete and submit this form within 72 hours of placing your order. Wait for a member of our Bookstore team to review your request. If we confirm that the textbook is eligible for price matching before your order has been processed, the price will be adjusted before you are charged. If we confirm that the textbook is eligible for price matching after your order has been processed, you will be refunded the appropriate amount.
If price matching in-store, we will provide the form for you to complete at the time of your visit. If price matching online. please fill out the form on the right hand side of this page. You will need an order confirmation number if completing the form online.
In order for a textbook to be eligibble for price matching, it must be a new physical textbook, purchased within 72 hours at our Bookstores (if being purchased online or in-store ahead of time of price match), and must be in-stock. The price match listing must be the same edition, have the same ISBN, priced in Canadian Dollars and in new condition. The online website selling the textbook for a lower price must be located in Canada, and must be a business, not an individual. We do not allow price matching listings on peer-to-peer sales, auctions, flea markets, garage sales, and marketplace sites such as Amazon Marketplace (i.e. from Amazon.ca, but fulfilled by a seller other than Amazon.ca), eBay, Craig's List, Kijiji or other website with the likes of the listed.
The price match listing must be the same edition, have the same ISBN, priced in Canadian Dollars and in new condition. The online website selling the textbook for a lower price must be located in Canada, and must be a business, not an individual. We do not allow price matching listings on peer-to-peer sales, auctions, flea markets, garage sales, and marketplace sites such as Amazon Marketplace (i.e. from Amazon.ca, but fulfilled by a seller other than Amazon.ca), eBay, Craig's List, Kijiji or other website with the likes of the listed.
If price matching in-store, you can purchase the textbook ahead of time or at time of price matching. You will need proof of purchase and will need to price match in-store within 72 hours of purchase. If price matching online, place your order for the textbook to receive an order confirmation number. You will need your order confirmation number to complete your price match form here within 72 hours of placing your online order.
You can price match eligible textbooks both in-person and online. Find more information here.
If your textbook is eligible, we will price match the lower price you find, plus give you 10% of the difference.
If price matching in-store, you will need a printed copy of the eligible listing's webpage with proof of date and timestamp as well as your proof of purchase if you purchase your textbook within the last 72 hours of price matching. If price matching in-store, you will need to include a URL of the listing when completing your online request form.
If price matching in-store, you can price match at time of purchase or within 72 hours of purchase. If price matching online, you must fill out the request form within 72 hours of placing your online order for the textbook.
No. Price matched textbooks are final sale and cannot be returned or exchanged, even if within our normal return policy for course materials.
No. We only price match new physical textbooks. We do not offer price match guarantees for digital course materials, used textbooks, course packs, custom publications, and international or instructor editions.
Textbook Sell-Back Program
The Textbook Sell-Back Program is a great way for you to get money for your used textbooks. If you have textbooks that are no longer being used, you may be able to sell them to us. Enter the ISBN of your textbook here to get your quote.
TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE. At the start of each semester, there will be a list of textbooks that we guarantee we will buy back posted on our website. The list will include select titles that we guarantee we will buy back at the end of the semester as well as their guaranteed minimum sell-back price.
Qualifying titles will be listed on our website along with their guaranteed minimum sell-back prices. If your textbook is not on the list, we may still buy it back; it just will not have a guaranteed sell-back price.
While we cannot guarantee sell-back prices for any textbooks that are not on the list, you can still try selling your textbooks to us.. To check if we are buying back a textbook that is not on the list, enter the ISBN of your textbook in our Sell-Back Price Lookup Tool here.
To check which of your textbooks we will buy back from you, enter the ISBN in our Sell-Back Price Lookup Tool here.
An ISBN is a unique number assigned to each edition and variation of a published book. We use this number to search our databases and determine whether we can buy the title back from you and for what price. The ISBN is typically located on the back of the textbook near the barcode.
We buy textbooks back based on the demand for them. The demand for textbooks can change often depending on how many copies the UofT Bookstore as well as our partners have already received. If you receive a quote for your textbook, we always suggest heading to the nearest participating UofT Bookstore the same day to sell your textbook. If you are unable to come to the Bookstore on the same day, please check the ISBN again on the day you are able to visit.
If you receive these messages after entering the ISBN of your textbook, it is because we are not buying the textbook at this time. It is possible that we might not be buying the textbook back at all or already have a surplus of them from other sellers through our Sell-Back Program. However, the demand for textbooks can change often so we encourage you to keep checking if we will buy your textbook back daily using our Sell-Back Price Lookup Tool.
Selling us your textbooks is a great way to earn money in exchange for books you no longer need. While you benefit from earning money for your used textbook, another student will benefit from saving money by using your used textbook.
When you sell to us, your used textbook may be resold to other students at our Bookstores, other Universities and Colleges, or to wholesale companies in the United States.
The only time frame you need to note is when you need to sell us your eligible textbooks for the guaranteed sell-back price. Typically, we will allow a few weeks after the end of your semester for you to sell us your eligible textbook for the sell-back amount that we guaranteed you at the start of your semester. After that time frame, the sell-back prices are no longer guaranteed for that semester's batch of qualified titles. We may still buy the book back; it just will no longer be guaranteed that we will. Otherwise, we buy textbooks back all year round so generally, there is no specific time frame.
The best time of the year to sell us your textbooks is at the start and end of the semester. If you find that we are not buying your textbook back right now, check again at a later date as the demand for select textbooks change often.
We do not buy back digital course materials or loose-leaf textbooks. We only buy back physical textbooks that are bound at time of publication.
We may refuse to buy your textbook even after our online price lookup tool gives you a quote due to many reasons. The demand for your textbook may have changed since you last checked our online tool and we no longer need it. We refuse all textbooks that are damaged. Damages include but are not limited to tears and rips, missing pages and damages caused by water and other liquids. We also may refuse your textbook if you exceed our sell-back limit for the day. We are not required to provide a reason at time of refusal.
We buy back textbooks with reasonable amounts of highlighting and writing. We may refuse your textbook if it is deemed to have excessive highlighting and writing.
In order for us to buy your eligible textbook back, it must be in good used condition. We will refuse to buy your textbook if it has any damages.
Sell-back prices vary depending on the textbook you are trying to sell. If the textbook is being used for a U of T course and is in demand, you may be paid up to 50% of the retail price of a new textbook with the same ISBN. If the textbook is in demand by other universities, colleges and/or American wholesale companies, you may be paid up to 35% of the retail price of a new textbook with the same ISBN.
Payout from selling us your textbooks will be made on your debit card or a UofT Bookstore gift card. Payout will not be made in cash.
We do not offer more money for new and unused textbooks.
While you can use our Sell-Back Price Lookup Tool online to check for price quotes, we only process sell-back transactions in person to avoid you having to pay additional shipping fees.
Our Textbook Sell-Back Program is not exclusive to textbooks purchased from our Bookstores. As long as the textbook is eligible and is in good condition, we can buy your textbook.
We can buy up to 3 of your textbooks in one day. Please note that we can only buy 1 unit of each title. We will not buy multiple units of the same textbook.
When coming to the Bookstore to sell us your textbook, please bring your government-issued photo ID or TCard, debit card and textbooks. We will not be able to proceed if you do not have photo ID or your textbooks. If you do not have a debit card, we will issue your payment on a UofT Bookstore gift card.