Textbook return nears with end of semester


Caitlin Yamada/ Iowa State Daily

As the end of the spring semester approaches, students are reminded of the deadline for returning their rental textbooks. A plan for the buyback program this semester is in the works.  

Sage Smith

The deadline for students to return their rental textbooks is the Wednesday after Finals Week.

Carl Arbuckle, Bookstore specialist, is a course materials buyer at the Iowa State University Bookstore. Arbuckle focuses on the print textbooks, rental program, buyback program and student choice e-book.

The Bookstore offers buyback almost every day it is open. Students can return their rental books any day during business hours as long as they take the rentals to the Bookstore. Students can also sell back textbooks and return their rentals in one transaction.

“As far as buyback goes, we recommend if you can wait until finals week when we set up the big buyback,” Arbuckle said. “That’s when we’re paying highest prices, so if it’s a week until Finals Week or Dead Week and you want to sell a book back, I would wait a few extra days because you could get a lot more money back.”

The big buyback will begin the Thursday of Dead Week, Dec. 12. The buyback can be found in the Bookstore.

“We’re typically less busy earlier in the week,” Arbuckle said. “If they wait until Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday of Finals Week, they might have to wait in a line, although the wait in line really is never as long as it looks like. If it looks like there’s a big line, chances are it’s only about 10 minutes. The lines have been pretty short the last few semesters.”

Arbuckle said another thing the Bookstore wants to educate students on is they will take books as long as they are books they currently need. It doesn’t matter where the books were purchased from, such as from Amazon or fellow students.

In addition to the big buyback the Bookstore has at the end of the semester, they do offer several off-site locations for students to return their rented textbooks. Some of these locations include Frederiksen Court, Union Drive Community Center and Maple-Willow-Larch Commons.

“One thing we did change this year is we used to do a set up out at the Towers, but we had so little traffic the last couple years, so we discontinued that,” Arbuckle said. “So we won’t be at the Towers this year; that’s a change. But we’ll be at all our other normal off-site locations.”

Students have the chance to return their books at these locations beginning the Thursday of Dead Week, and they will be available until the middle of the Friday of Finals Week.

A common problem the Bookstore and students can experience is the situation of a damaged rental textbook. If a student damages a book with drinks, food or other substances, they will not be able to return the book.

Arbuckle said if the Bookstore rejects a book for damage, he recommends students get it taken care of the same day while at the store.

“We do have a policy where if you take care of it in the store that day, we’ll let you pay just the difference between your rental fee and the purchase price,” Arbuckle said. “So you’re really only paying the same as if you would have bought it in the first place.”

If a student chooses to let the cost of the damaged book go to their U-Bill, they will get charged a full replacement fee, which can be more costly than taking care of it while still in the Bookstore.

If someone is questioning whether or not a rented textbook has been damaged while in the possession of a student, it goes to Arbuckle.

“I know what our quality control process is,” Arbuckle said. “And I can tell you if ‘yes’ or ‘no’ if that book was actually on our shelf and looked like that. I mean, sometimes, there’s some very minor damage that I could say, ‘Yeah, that might have slipped through,’ but I know we check them two to three times before we shelve them.”

With the current school semester ending soon, the next semester is right around the corner. The Bookstore has textbooks available for Iowa State students to rent or buy textbooks for the spring 2021 semester. Students can rent books in the Bookstore or through its website.

The full return policy for textbooks can be viewed on the Bookstore’s website.