Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why are we called the Campus Shop?
A: We are called the Campus Shop because we offer more than just textbooks. We have a wide variety of school supplies, gifts, and novelties.

Q: Who selects the textbooks and supplies for the course?
A: All textbooks and supplies are selected by the class instructor. These materials are requested and then ordered by the GWU Campus Shop. Each textbook is ordered to enhance and complement what the instructor presents in class.

Q: Why are textbooks so expensive?
A: Older textbooks were strictly "text" books. Today, however, photos and graphics on clay-based paper, teacher's 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 and development costs, the production costs, royalties and a bit of profit to satisfy stockholders and to begin new projects, the publisher must charge increasingly higher prices to cover those costs. Many esoteric works, in addition to the sales life, have a limited production. Costs tend not to decrease with sales decreases.

Q: What is the Campus Shop Book Return Policy?
A: When returning new books, they must be in the same condition as when they were purchased. This means/includes but is not limited to no visible damage, writing or marks, highlighting, no opened software, and odor. Books purchased in shrink-wrap must still be in original wrapping! Other restrictions may apply.

Q: How do I return a textbook?
A: You must meet all requirements for book returns. Purchases made online require a return authorization form, whereas store purchases do not.

Q: Why does the Campus Shop not order desk copies or instructor's materials?
A: Desk copies and instructor materials are the department's responsibility. It is a conflict of interest and the Campus Shop is not permitted to order these materials. We can however, supply any information available that you may need in order to contact the publishers or sales representatives.

Q: Can I sell back textbooks that I have held onto from other semesters?
A: Yes. Bring them to book buyback, and we will check them. Sometimes the best prices for a book can be had by holding on to the book for a semester. For instance if a course is taught only in the fall, and you bring your book in at the end of the fall semester, your book will probably receive a lower buyback price and be sent out for national used book recycling. If you bring that same book back at the end of the spring semester, the bookstore may have an order for that title for fall, and could be buying the book at half price. However, some books will have no value if held onto for too long.

Q: When and where is Book Buyback?
A: Dates and locations for the book buyback periods are listed on the Book Buyback page.

Q: Why do some books have no buyback value?
A: One of the most common reasons for a book to have no value is for the book to be an old edition. Once the scheduled publication of a new edition is announced the resale value of the current edition begins to drop. When the new edition is available, the old edition will no longer have any resale value. On average, new editions of texts are issued every three years. Course packs and custom publications are never bought back. Some textbooks and course packs contain copyrighted materials that have been obtained for one user only.

Q: Why are some books worth so much more than others?
A: You will receive the best price for a book if the book has been definitely assigned by the faculty for the upcoming semester. If a book has not yet been assigned by the faculty, it will only have a wholesale value. Once the book has been assigned, the bookstore will purchase the book at 50% of the new price of the book. The difference between wholesale value and retail value is whether we are buying the book to be used on this campus, or for a national wholesaler. All values are determined by need.

Q: Can I sell my books back to the bookstore at the end of the semester?
A: Yes. The best time to sell your books is at the end or the very beginning of the semester.

Q: Why do you occasionally run out of textbooks at the beginning of the semester?
A: We place our orders for textbooks on expected class enrollments two or more months before classes actually begin. Increases in enrollments by final registration often demand reorders, which we do as we see changes happen. Unfortunately, we are not always able to foresee all possible increases, and shortages do occur. Sometimes the books have been ordered but have not yet arrived for one of several reasons. Occasionally, students purchase texts in anticipation of enrolling, returning them when they are unable to enter a class. Also, certain textbooks are purchased by parents, faculty, or other students who find the particular book appealing independent of class need. If you should find a particular text is unavailable, please place a special order with the Textbook Manager. Every effort will be made to ensure the book arrives as quickly as possible.