Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Having to purchase their own textbooks is a major change from what your student is used to from high school. Students in college are responsible for finding out ahead of time which books are required for their courses, purchasing them, and bringing them to class during the first week. Here are a few key tips for you and your student when navigating this new process!

1. Beat the crowds

Your student should be able to access the syllabus for each course they are enrolled in before the semester begins. This is where professors normally list the required books for the class and we strongly encourage students to begin purchasing their textbooks as soon as they get the list from their professor. The University of Iowa’s official bookstore, The Iowa Hawk Shop, is located on the ground floor of the Iowa Memorial Union and is an easy place for first-year students to get in-person help finding the registered books for their courses. By working in tandem with the faculty at UI, they offer the most complete assortment of course materials and all proceeds from the Hawk Shop support student programs and success initiatives.

2. Consider your options

Students have several options when it comes to textbooks these days. E-books are growing in popularity and students can save up to 40% by opting for a digital rather than a physical copy. The Hawk Shop offers a number of used copies of many books which have been sold back to the store by past students. These cheaper options go quickly so students should do their best to head to the bookstore and buy these as soon as their book list becomes available. Finally, students have the option of book rental. This option can save you up to 60% and is offered on books in the store and online.

3. Shop around

The Iowa Hawk Shop hosts a price comparison tool on its website for students where they can check competing new, used, and rental textbook prices online to make sure they’re getting the best price, whether it's from the Hawk Shop, Amazon,, or a number of other online retailers. You'll be able to compare options on one page and order from any source directly.

4. Keep your receipt

Books purchased from the Hawk Shop come with a generous 21-day return policy for full reimbursement. This service is especially handy if a student decides to drop a class or the professor decides not to use a certain book once the course has begun. Keep in mind that textbooks qualify as educational expenses and can be claimed on your annual income taxes under the Tuition and Fees deduction.

5. Buy-back

At the close of each semester, students have the opportunity to sell their books back to the bookstore in a process called “buy-back.” Depending on the condition of the book and whether or not it will be used for classes in the coming semester, students can get back up to half the value or more of the original cost.

For more help and information on how to buy textbooks, encourage your students to attend the Hawk Shop’s Textbook Kickoff event on Saturday, August 20, 2016.