Textbook costs

Do you still offer textbook rentals?

As of September 2020, we no longer offer rentals for printed textbooks, however many of our digital materials are still offered as rentals.

What if my textbooks can’t be bought back?

UBC Bookstore works with Books for Africa, a non-profit organization that ships textbooks to Africa. You can donate unwanted books to this program at our front cashiers or to the bin near the upper lobby elevator and we’ll ensure they continue to be of use to students in developing nations.

What is the UBC Bookstore actually doing to lower the cost of textbooks?

We’re always looking for new options and ways to reduce the costs of textbooks to students.

  1. CHOICES. As well as new books, we offer three other choices of books to take into account differing budgets: used (which can save you up to 75% if you can sell them back), ebooks (up to 50% cheaper) and custom course packs.
  2. CUSTOM COURSE PACKS: because we only charge for printing and copyright clearance costs, there are now on average 33% cheaper. 
  3. SELL TEXTBOOKS BACK. We offer you the opportunity to see your books back to us throughout the year. We try to buy back as many books as we can - if a book is being used for another term on campus you will get up to 50 per cent of the new cost; if the book is not being used the next term, but is still a current edition you will receive a wholesale price. Again, we are encouraging faculty to use books on campus for multiple terms so that we can buy back as many books as possible.
What are the differences between New and Used textbooks?

You mean other than the obvious? New textbooks are in an unmarked, undamaged condition. Used textbooks may have markings, may be worn but should have no missing pages. Used textbooks, if available, cost significantly less than new ones and are GST exempt. You’ll find all used books shelved with the new ones in alphabetical order. Look for the yellow USED sticker! If you don’t see any used versions of the textbook you need on the shelf, it means we do not currently have any in stock.

 

How much will my textbooks cost and what payment options are there?

The average cost for Term 1 Arts or Commerce textbooks is $400.00 and for Science $700.00. If you choose used digital, the cost will be much lower. 

UBC Bookstore accepts Canadian currency (in-store only), Visa, Mastercard, American Express (in-store only, WeChat (in-store only), AliPay (in-store only) and Interac (debit cards, in store only). You may use a parent’s credit card, however you must be able to demonstrate you have their authorization.

 

Why can't I use my used copy for a Canvas course? Why do only UBC Bookstore copies work?

All purchases are verified and connected to your CWL account for access, which requires you to purchase the materials through the UBC Bookstore in order to get a receipt that provides the redemption codes. If the cashiers swipe your student card at the time of purchase, this will automatically grant you access . If you purchased your textbook second hand from another student, there is no way for you to activate your course materials in Canvas. 

 

What have you actually done to address textbook costs? What is the UBC Bookstore doing to lower costs?

We're consistently looking for new options and ways to reduce the costs of textbooks to students.
1. RENTAL BOOKS - rental saves up to 55%. We were one of the first campuses in Canada to introduce rental books. This enables a student to rent used books at up to 55% OFF. This means that if a new book is $100, then a used rental book is $45. If you spend $1000 on new books, then you could rent them all for $450. Our aim is to rent the majority of books in-store that are over $25 (exceptions include custom course packages and ebooks). We are encouraging faculty/instructors to use books for several terms so that we are in a position to rent even more titles next term.

2. CHOICES. As well as rentals and new books, we offer three other choices of books to take into account differing budgets: used (which can save you up to 75% if you can sell them back), ebooks (up to 50% cheaper) and custom course packs.

3. CUSTOM COURSE PACKS: now on average 33% cheaper. Find out why.

4. SELL TEXTBOOKS BACK. We offer you the opportunity to sell your books back to us throughout the year. We try to buy back as many books as we can – if a book is being used for another term on campus you will get up to 50 per cent of the new cost; if the book is not being used the next term, but is still a current edition you will receive a wholesale price. Again, we are encouraging faculty to use books on campus for multiple terms so that we can buy back as many books as possible.