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Important Dates

Course Materials 101

Outside of tuition and room/board, course materials are the biggest investment you will make in your education. Because of that, MSU Bookstore is dedicated to helping you make the right choices to meet your educational and financial needs as a student of MSU.

We offer many varieties of course materials options in the Bookstore, and each has its place within the “course materials ecosystem”. The Bookstore works closely with faculty, publishers, wholesalers, and electronic distributors to find a mix of products that keeps prices low for students, meet the needs of our faculty partners, and provides a custom-tailored learning experience.

The course materials ecosystem within Montana State University is made up of new, used, rental, eBook, and Inclusive Access items. Each serves a different purpose for students. New and Used books are the most common type of course material that you will interact with, and they are the easiest to explain.
A new book is simply a book that is brand-new; shipped from a publisher/wholesaler and delivered to you through MSU Bookstore. It is the most expensive option for a course material.

MSU Bookstore recommends only buying new books if there are no other options for you. Sometimes a faculty member will require you to have a new book, or the book can only be purchased new as you may have to write in and submit pages for the course (such as with a work book). Outside of those examples, we work with faculty to make sure there are either used, or digital options for you to save money. In some cases, a book is bundled with access codes. In those cases, it is often cost-prohibitive to have used copies available as the used copy plus the new access code may be more expensive than the new bundle. Please check with us prior to your purchase to make sure you are getting the best possible deal on bundles.
Used books come from two main sources: our students (through book buyback) or wholesalers. We try to buy back every book we can from our students. The only times we do not buy back books during buyback week is because the professor is not requesting it for the following semester, the book is part of a bundle that is less expensive new, the edition is expired and a faculty member is choosing the newer edition, or the book is damaged. We want to buy your books, so please check with us to see our pricing before going elsewhere! Remember, keeping books on campus helps us lower the overall cost of all textbooks at MSU, so let’s work together to keep our cost of education as low as possible!

Please check out the other buttons on this page to see the other options we currently offer within the MSU Course Materials Ecosystem.
Common FAQ's
Textbook Rentals
Inclusive Access
Bobcat Book Reserve
Important Dates
Refunds:  Last day for a full refund is 2 weeks after the start of class

Buyback:  Friday before finals week and all of finals week

Rentals:  Due the Friday of Finals week; charged during the week after finals week

Important Dates
Important Dates
Last day to buy Spring books:  during the week after Spring Break

Last day to buy Summer books:  during the last week in June

Last day to buy Fall books:  during the 3rd week in October
When you rent from the Bookstore, you pay a lower cost up front to use the book(s) for the semester and return them by the last day of finals week (at the latest!). You will need a credit or debit card to secure your rental as well as your Cat Card to rent your books. Rental books are one of the easiest and most convenient ways to save money on your course materials, and we know most of our students want to be able to rent their books. We make every effort to rent as many books as possible, but please understand that books are deemed “rentable” by wholesalers who evaluate the current course materials marketplace when providing us with rental offers. Books that are not returned will be charged to the card that was used to rent your book(s). The cost charged to you if your book(s) are not returned will be the difference between the purchase price and the rental price, plus a $10 fee. This can add up fast if you have more than one rental, so be sure to get your book(s) back on time to avoid this happening.
Inclusive Access (IA) is the easiest, most affordable course materials option. If you have a class that has an IA title will have the course materials automatically loaded into D2L, and you will be billed for the material directly through your student account. Should you already have a copy of the course material or wish to not utilize the IA function for any reason, you have the option of “opting out” of the IA title during the first 15 days of the semester
Our course materials reservation program is known as the Bobcat Book Reserve, and it is the easiest way to get books here at MSU. It’s a very easy process, so let’s go through the steps you will need to complete to reserve your books in the Bookstore:

1. Once you have registered for courses and have your course schedule, log on to www.msubookstore.org, and navigate to “Get My Textbooks” under the Course Materials tab.
2. Based on your schedule, select your term, department, course, and section. Click the green button and begin comparing prices from MSU Bookstore, Amazon, and many other online retailers. 93% of students who do this choose MSU Bookstore to be their course materials provider!
3. Add your desired course materials to your cart. Remember to select the conditions (New, Used, Rental, Digital, etc.) you prefer.
4. Checkout!! Please carefully read and follow any informational pop ups before finalizing your order.
5. During the checkout process, you will choose how you wish to receive your order. You can choose pick-up in store, residence hall delivery, or have them shipped to an address of your choice (no PO Boxes, please). If you choose pick-up at store, you will then come down to the store once you’ve been emailed that your order is ready. Residence hall delivery and ship out methods will arrive at your address as soon as possible.


A few other things to remember:
1. Please have your Cat Card on hand when you arrive if choosing pick-up at store, so that we can make sure the right order goes to the right person.
2. Please fill out your order form with the information of the person who is going to actually pick up your order.
3. Carefully read all disclaimers, rental agreements and information, returns info, etc. We want you to have a good experience, and that starts with you being as informed as possible. Questions? Just give us a shout and we will help answer them for you.
4. Shipping your order? Great, just please make sure it is to a physical address and not a PO Box. UPS doesn’t deliver there, so putting that as an address will slow your delivery process significantly.
5. Check your email for updates to your order, and don’t forget to check you junk/spam folder!! This is especially important during this fall semester, as the COVID-19 situation may cause policies, dates, and delivery methods to change rapidly.
6. We start processing fall orders on August 1st.
How do I know what books I need?
Our books are listed by course, so once you know what classes you’re in, you can go to our course materials Get My Textbooks feature on our website, enter your classes, and see the books your need! You can print off your booklist and bring it to the store or order your books online! Our friendly staff is available to assist you with your online or in-store purchase.


How do I get my books?
The Course Materials department is located in the rear of the Bookstore. Books are organized alphabetically by class. All you need to do is bring your class schedule and your booklist for the easiest in-store experience! Or if you would like to shop online, click here to shop and compare your course materials prices on our website. Enter your classes and add your required course materials to your cart. Simply create an account and choose your shipping and payment methods, and we will take care of the rest. Shipping within the state of Montana takes approximately 24 hours once it leaves the store, out of state takes 3-5 business days in the continental US. We strive to ship your order within one business day of you placing your order, providing all your requested products are in stock.


What if my class isn't listed?
If your class is not listed it either means that there are no books for that class, or we haven't received the order from the professor yet.


Can I return my textbooks?
Yes! There are several options for returning and/or selling your books back to the Bookstore. We want to make certain that you are only purchasing the books you need, and that you have an exceptional experience. So, with that in mind, here are a few of the best options relating to returning textbooks:

Returns for a full refund are available for the first 2 weeks after the first day of class for the spring and fall semester. In the summer, books are returnable during the first week of classes. Please remember that books need to be in the condition that they were purchased in and with the ORIGINAL receipt to receive a full refund.


Buyback

Buyback is when you sell back your unwanted or unneeded textbooks. Buyback occurs at the end of the semester starting the Friday before finals week through the end of finals. You can also sell back your books in the Bookstore the third Friday of the month throughout the semester. If those times still do not work with your schedule, we also offer a 24/7 online buyback feature through our website. The summer buyback schedule varies, and updates are made on our social media platforms. We do not set the prices offered for wholesale buyback; rather they are generated by our used book partners. In order to have a successful buyback experience, your books need to be in good condition, with normal wear and tear acceptable. Water damaged books or ripped pages are examples of wear and tear that are NOT accepted, and yes, coffee stains are included as unacceptable damage.

Why aren't you buying back my book?
We only buy books at retail value that are being requested by a faculty member for the upcoming semester. If a book has not been requested by a professor, we will attempt to buy it on behalf of a used book wholesaler. Sometimes, neither a professor or a wholesaler is looking for the book, and we cannot buy it back. If your book isn't being used or it is too damaged for us to return, we cannot accept the book. At that point, you have the option of selling it yourself online, to a friend, or donating it to a good cause. As a student-owned non-profit, we make every effort to buy as many books as possible, but sometimes we are unable to offer you a value for your used book.


Rentals
When you rent from the Bookstore, you pay a lower cost upfront to use the book(s) for the semester and return them by the last day of finals week (at the latest!). You will need a credit or debit card to secure your rental as well as your Cat Card to rent your books. Rental books are one of the easiest and most convenient ways to save money on your course materials, and we know most of our students want to be able to rent their books. We make every effort to rent as many books as possible, but please understand that books are deemed “rentable” by wholesalers who evaluate the current course materials marketplace when providing us with rental offers. Books that are not returned will be charged to the card that was used to rent your book(s). The cost charged to you if your book(s) are not returned will be the difference between the purchase price and the rental price, plus a $10 fee. This can add up fast if you have more than one rental, so be sure to get your book(s) back on time to avoid this happening.

When are my rentals due?
Rented textbooks are due back the last Friday of finals week. If you do not get your rental back on time, you will be charged the difference between the rental and the purchase price plus a $10 fee per book. This is done to protect the investment of our student-owners and to continue to be able to offer the lowest possible rental price.


What if I want to buy my rental?
Many of our students wish to buy their rentals at the end of the semester. All you need to do is bring the book and an ID to the course materials department, we will "return" the book so it is no longer associated as a rental and then you pay the difference between the rental price and the purchase price.


What is an iClicker and why do I need one?
iClickers are an in-class tool used in many large lecture courses. You only need one iClicker, and it can be registered to many classes at one time. You will most likely use it for multiple semesters at MSU, so check before you sell it back at the end of the semester. Your professors will teach you how to use and register your iClicker.


What is the difference between an e-book and an access code?
An eBook is just a digital version of your textbook that can be downloaded on your favorite device. There are several options for eBook purchasing that will allow you access to the book for varied amounts of time. Please make sure you are purchasing the eBook for enough time to complete your coursework. If you have any eBook questions, just let us know and we will be happy to assist you with your purchase.

An access code is a code that is entered into the website designated on the code. Once you enter this code you then have access to your textbook as well as homework, study programs, and other tools (depending on the publisher of the book/access code). Your professors will help you register and use your access code.
What is inclusive access?

Inclusive Access (IA) is the easiest, most affordable course materials option. If you have a class that has an IA title will have the course materials automatically loaded into D2L, and you will be billed for the material directly through your student account. Should you already have a copy of the course material or wish to not utilize the IA function for any reason, you have the option of “opting out” of the IA title during the first 15 days of the semester.