Utilizing WashU Libraries

Using the University Libraries collections, services and resources will help you get textbooks at little or no cost.  The University Libraries have access to over 2 billion print book titles through its catalogs, in addition to 2 million eBooks in its collections. They are free to access and borrow. You can access these books by using the Libraries’ Textbook Affordability Resource Guide, which guides you through a step-by-step process that helps you to find textbooks for your classes. The Be Textbook Savvy Bookmark is a check list of things to consider when preparing to order your textbooks.

Remember to allow yourself additional time if you are requesting books through interlibrary loan so that the books are available when classes begin.

For additional information, visit the University Libraries’ website. 

Campus Bookstore

Ordering Course Books

You can have your course books waiting for you when you arrive on campus by ordering online through the Campus Store. You can access the Campus Store online directly or use the quick link located on WebSTAC at the bottom of your class schedule “Order Textbooks.” After selecting “Order Textbooks,” a file of your courses will be sent to the Campus Store online shopping cart. This pre-populated shopping cart is filled with your course information for fast and convenient selection. If the book list is not yet available, you will be given the option to pre-order and an email will be sent to you when the book list is available.

The Campus Store buys its stock of course books from students during book buyback at the end of each semester, and what they can’t get from students, they supply from wholesalers and publishers.

Used Course Books

Shop early for the best selection of used course books. You can save 25% off the cost of new books by purchasing used books, but supplies are limited and when the store is out of them only new copies will be available.


Students are now able to rent some of their textbooks.

  • Students can rent and return textbooks in-store or online, ensuring they have the right textbooks the day classes start.
  • Students have the freedom to highlight and take notes all within the normal wear and tear associated with coursework.
  • Students have a variety of ways to pay for their textbook rental – cash, check, credit/debit card and Bear Bucks.

Renting has some advantages and some disadvantages over buying your textbooks. For more information, visit Rent-a-Text FAQs.

Digital Books

Digital books are also available at the Campus Store. Each semester more and more course books are available in digital format. You can see if the book for your class is available in digital format in the store or online under the course number. Digital books can offer savings up to 50%. For more information, visit CafeScribe, the Campus Store’s digital book delivery partner. CafeScribe even offers a “Try Now, Buy Later” program to see how you like it.

Book Buyback

At the end of each semester the Campus Store has an official “Book Buyback.” This will be your opportunity to get the best prices for your books if you decide to sell them back to the Campus Store.

Most books that are used again for the next semester will have a higher value than those that are not. The Campus Store offers up to 50% of the purchase price until demand is met. If a book is not used the next semester, but another school needs it they will pay market value, which is about 1/3 of the purchase price or less. If a new edition is available, the book is extremely worn, or is watered damaged it will have no value. An associate can scan any book you bring in to see if it has value even if you didn’t buy it from the Campus Store. A WashU student ID is required to sell back your books.