Course Materials FAQ


Bookstore | Faculty | Refunds | Textbook Affordability | Inclusive Access | Buyback | In-Store Purchasing| Web Purchasing | Rentals | Adaptive Learning Information



Who are we?

The UNM Bookstores are a not-for-profit retail entity, which supports the mission of the University of New Mexico. We are a branch of UNM’s Institutional Support Services. We pay for our personnel, the building and utilities, and the inventory in the store, and some scholarships. Our slogan is “Where your dollars stay on campus” because every penny earned goes to the University of New Mexico.

What do we offer?

In addition to textbooks and course materials, we offer general reading books, technology products, art supplies, school supplies, dorm supplies, departmental supplies, graduation gear, gifts and clothing. Our Medical/Legal location also carries medical supplies and convenience items.

Where are we located?

We have two locations: The Main Campus location of the UNM Bookstores is located at the intersection of Cornell and Central on the UNM campus. Paid parking is available at the Cornell parking structure or “A Permit” lot.

When are we open?

Our hours will vary according to the time of year because we expand our hours at the beginning of major semesters. Click here to see our store hours.

Why are we here?

The UNM Bookstores exist to serve the UNM Community: Students, Parents, Faculty, Staff, Administrators, Alumni and their friends and families, as well as the community at large. We’re not just a place to get your textbooks, we are your campus store!


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Who is an adoption?

An “adoption” (also known as “book order” or “textbook requisition”) is simply the list of course materials (books, readings, software, supplies, etc.) you will use in your course. If a course material will be used again, it is “adopted”. If it isn’t, it’s an “orphan”.

When are adoptions due to the bookstore?

The due dates every year for adoptions are as follows:

  • Summer terms: 1 week after the schedule is finalized, typically March 15
  • Fall terms: 1 week after the schedule is finalized, typically April 1
  • Spring terms: 1 week after the schedule is finalized, typically October 15

Why are adoptions due so early?

There are several reasons for our due dates being “early”. First and foremost is the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, under which institutions of higher education are required to post course materials costs for each course offered so that students are aware of the true cost of a course at the time of registration. Another key reason is for us to have time to find used books and secure rental quotes to lower prices for our students.

Why do we care so much when a faculty member’s adoption is late?

When an adoption is late, we become a point of frustration with students. Late adoptions mean higher prices. Late adoptions mean students start class without their books. Students feel stress, and they can get irrecoverably behind in their course.

How do instructors submit adoptions?

The Main Campus UNM Bookstore utilizes a tool called Verba Collect for adoption submission. Based on the official course schedule each term, the tool is populated with your courses and contact email. We will send you a personalized email link for entering your book information. You can also reach out to the course materials department for help.

What can the bookstore do to help an instructor, beyond carrying my books and listing them online?

The UNM Bookstores Course Materials departments are experts on textbooks and other course materials. We can help you obtain desk copies and teacher editions. We can help with price analysis, and we can work together with you and the publishers to lower textbook costs for your students through special pricing models, rentals and inclusive access. We are here to help you!


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For details about our refund policies, please see this page


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Textbook Affordability

What do we do to save you money?

  • New Books
  • We negotiate with publishers for special pricing for larger courses. We look for soft cover and looseleaf options when a professor orders a hardback book. We work with professors and publishers to create custom books with select chapters from an expensive book when only a few chapters will be used in your course. If you buy a new book, you may be able to sell it back to us at the end of the semester (depending upon our needs for the next semester).

  • Used Books
  • Used books cost less for us to obtain, so we pass that savings along to you! If you buy a used book, you may be able to sell it back to us at the end of the semester (depending upon our needs for the next semester). Please be aware, however, that used books are sold “as is”; access codes may not be valid.

  • Rental Books
  • Both New and Used conditions of eligible titles can be rented. With rental books, you pay less money up front, as compared to a purchased book. You can’t sell it back at the end of the semester, because you’ve already seen that savings in the lower rental price. Quick note: if you notice a problem with your rental book early in the semester, let us know; we’ll give you a note saying it’s okay to check it in at the end with the flaw if we’re made aware in the first few days of the semester.

  • eBooks
  • eBooks are generally a very good value for students comfortable with the format. Most eBook platforms allow highlighting and note-taking (with permanent access to the notes). Most eBooks, however, are one-term rentals. You save a lot of money, but you can only view the book contents that semester.

  • Inclusive Access
  • Inclusive Access is the wave of the future. Please see below.

How do we set prices?

We obtain books from publishers, distributors, wholesalers, the general online marketplace, and from our students (through Buyback and Rental Returns). All of our prices are based upon the “cost”, or the amount we are charged for the book. We apply a minimal markup in order to pay for our overhead. We strive to pass along any cost savings we find in the form of better rental prices.

How do you know our prices are good?

We offer a price comparison tool, which we call “Dare to Compare”. We urge students to check our prices against the competition. In August 2016, over 70% of students who dared to compare selected the UNM Bookstores as their source for textbooks..

When do we offer the best prices?

Our best prices are set about two weeks prior to the start of a major term (Fall, Spring, Summer). This is when almost all of the adoptions have been received and worked, and after we’ve learned which books can be rented, and we’ve locked in the rental prices. We suggest waiting to shop until those two weeks prior to the start of class.

Course Packs

Most Coursepacks are currently sold through the Copy Center at Dane Smith Hall. We are, however, looking at ways to digitize Coursepacks and offer them through the Bookstore as a one-stop shop, and saving you money. More to come!


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Inclusive Access

What is Inclusive Access?

Under this model, the instructor or department, the publisher, and the bookstore agree on a price for an eBook, or for an eBook plus adaptive learning code, which meets or beats any other publisher online price for the same product.

How does it work?

Every student enrolled in the course gets access to the product on day one of class. Students have free access through the add/drop period for the term.

What is opting out?

During the add/drop evaluation period, students can decide to go without the product and “opt out” of the program. If a student opts out, they will lose access to the content, but they will not be charged. After the add/drop period ends, students still enrolled in the course, and who have not opted out, will be charged for the material via their Bursar account.

Can you opt back in?

Students who have opted out in error may opt back into the program.

Can you get a refund if you miss the deadline to opt out?

Inclusive Access, like rental, represents entering into a legal contract. You are strongly encouraged to observe all deadlines regarding opting out of the program to avoid being charged for the product.


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When will we know if we’ll be buying back this book?

We pay the most for books at buyback if we’re using them in the next semester and we still need to find copies to carry in the store. When we know we’re using the book, we will offer a fair market price for the book, up to half the retail price. This means we need your professor to submit an adoption for the book for next term in order to consider paying top dollar for your book.

When is the best time to try to sell your book?

We offer buyback almost every day we’re open, but the best prices will be offered during our end-of-term buyback events, which happen during a two-week period that includes Finals Week.

This book cost $200 and we’re “only” paying $20 for it at the end of the semester. Why is that?

There are a couple of possibilities for this scenario. One: we’re offering the book at a special low retail, and that $20 is half that price. Two: We have not been told by your professor that s/he’s using the book next term, so we’re offering the national wholesale value.

Why do some books have zero buyback value?

Mainstream books lose their value when they age. Generally speaking, the longer ago a book was published, the less value it holds. Wholesalers will change the price of the current edition to zero just as soon as a new edition is announced to be on the way by the publisher. More obscure titles, not used nationwide, will often only have value if they’re being used at UNM next semester. Books in this category may have value if they are readopted.


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In-Store Purchasing

Why is our course materials department organized by author instead of by course?

Alphabetized books are the wave of the future. Books can be housed in less space. They’re easier to find, and easier to put away. We have found that it takes less time for students to shop for their books when they’re organized alphabetically.

I have a schedule, not a book list. What do I do?

The Bookstore has six scan stations within the department where you can quickly scan your ID card and receive a receipt listing all the books for your courses in alphabetical order by author.

Help! I see the same title multiple times for my course! Do I have to buy them all?

In most cases, you’re seeing choices of binding. We will offer hardback, paperback, loose-leaf and eBook versions of books. The content is the same, but the choice of binding is up to you, based on your comfort level and your budget.

What’s with all these (prefixes)?

We use a variety of prefixes to help our staff identify books. Some of them indicate rentability, ordering information, binding type, and many more. You can usually ignore them.

What does (SET2) mean?

A “SET” prefix tells us how many pieces are part of a particular ISBN. If there are two pieces, it’s a (SET2). If there are three pieces, it’s (SET3), and so on.

What does (ALC) mean?

“ALC” means the book is loose leaf. These usually come three-hole punched, and you should use a binder to keep the pages in order.

Help! There’s a book on my syllabus, but you don’t seem to have it!

There are a couple of possibilities for this one. First, we may have the book listed with a different author, so be sure to pull your book list at the scan station and check. Second, your professor may not have shared his or her book list with us yet. We will act as quickly as we can to rush in your book when we get a late adoption. Consider reserving a copy at the text desk.

Help! There are no books on the shelf, and I really need one!

We reorder books with rush shipping during the first weeks of class. If the shelf tag does not read “ON ORDER”, please let us know at the text desk so we can get that order placed. If the tag does say “ON ORDER”, please reserve a copy at the text desk so we can be sure there are enough copies coming.

Reserving a book (“Special Order”)

When books are out of stock due to selling out, production difficulties, or late-arriving shipments, we ask that you reserve a copy at our text desk. When you don’t reserve a copy, we have no way to know what the demand is for reorders, and we may not bring in enough copies. When the book arrives, we will notify you at the email of record with the registrar. You will have two additional business days to come purchase the book before it is placed back on the shelf for anyone else to purchase. IMPORTANT NOTE: When you reserve a copy, we rush-ship the book you need to arrive as quickly as possible. We are happy to absorb the cost of expedited shipping if you purchase your book when it arrives. But because of the added cost for expedited shipping, we ask that you agree to pay a $10.00 service charge if you do not pick up and purchase your special order book. We will ask you to agree to these terms when placing your special order.

Help! I came to shop for my books, but the text floor is closed! Can I still get my books?

For most of the year, we provide one-on-one counter service; the “normal state” of the textbook sales floor is “closed to the public”. This is done to protect people from trip hazards as we conduct inventory, process returns, shelve books, etc. We can still pull your books and sell/rent them to you.

So when is the floor open for browsing?

We open the sales floor for the public to shop near the beginning of each major term.

Are textbooks tax free?

When you present your UNM ID card at the beginning of a transaction in the UNM Bookstores, your textbooks are tax free!


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Web Purchasing

What does “Choose 1” mean?

When you have binding options for a book, they will be grouped together with a “Choose 1” note. This means the content is equivalent, but you can select either the hardback or the soft cover or the loose leaf or the eBook – your choice based on your preference and your budget.

What does substitute mean?

“Substitute” means you would be okay with a new copy at the new price when your first choice was a used copy, but we’re sold out of used. Or you would be okay with a used copy at the used price when your first choice was a new copy, but we’re sold out ofnew. It does not mean we’ll give you a random book if your first choice is out of stock! Selecting “substitute” will save a lot of time if your first choice is out of stock because you will have pre-approved the change, and we won’t have to wait for you to email us back.

What does “Backordered” mean?

Near the start of each semester, we will turn on the “backorder” function. All our books are either on hand, or are on the way. Your online order will first be fulfilled with the books we have on hand, and then with the backordered books as soon as they arrive.

Are my textbooks purchased online tax free, too?

Textbooks purchased online with the in-store pickup option are tax-free. At this time, orders with the home shipping options are taxable.

Do you offer free shipping?

We are looking into ways to offer free shipping, but at this time we charge for off campus shipping. However, beginning in January 2017, we will offer free UNM dorm delivery. We also offer free In-store pickup, which offers the same value as free shipping to your home, but the books are conveniently located right here on campus.


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What is rental?

When you rent a textbook, you are free to use the book all semester. You save additional money up front, so there is no buyback at the end of the semester. Just take good care of the book (no water damage!), and turn it in by the due date.

How do I rent a book?

You can rent online or in person. You’ll need to present your UNM ID card. You’ll pay the rental fee when you get your book. You are responsible for the book and its condition while it’s out on rental. Bring it back at the end of the semester. It’s that easy!

When are rentals due?

We rent books for the Fall, Spring and Summer terms. The due date is the last day (“END”) of the semester, according to the official university calendar.

What happens if I don’t return my book by the deadline?

When you rent a book, you enter into a legal contract. Under the terms of the contract, if you fail to return the book by the due date, you will be charged the replacement cost of the book (which is the new book price). If you know you’re going out of town before the due date, please make arrangements to get the book to us on time.

My friend rented this book last term, but it’s not rentable now. Why not?

We obtain “guarantees” from wholesalers each semester – this is the amount they will pay us at the end of the semester for each title. We deduct that guarantee from the normal for-sale retail of the book to determine the rental price. If no company is willing to pay us money for a title, we can’t rent it. Their price lists change every semester, so our rental book lists change every semester.

When can I start renting my books each semester?

For fall, we begin setting rental prices in mid-July. For spring, we begin renting when we return from holiday break, the first day we’re back in January. For summer, we begin renting about a week before classes start. For each term, we start with our current book list, and we add titles as the late adoptions arrive all the way until the first day of class.

I rented a textbook package that contains an access code. Can I use the code?

You sure can use the code! When we rent a package with a code, or a package with a workbook that has tear-out pages, we are getting the guarantee on the textbook part. Use that code. Tear up that workbook. Just bring back the textbook part by the due date!


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Adaptive Learning Information

What does an Aleks/Mastering/MindTap/etc. code do?

Access codes are electronic “keys” to specialized adaptive learning software which will allow you to drill, do exercises, take tests, interact with fellow students and your instructor, and/or complete course content. Although they usually come bundled with an ebook version of the text, they go far beyond an online version of the book. If your course requires an access code, you will probably not be able to pass the course without one. These codes are individualized, so you won’t be able to share one with your friend.

What is a “clicker”?

Many instructors use “i>clickers” in class for activities and/or attendance taking. There is a basic model and a more advanced model. Most courses at UNM use the basic model, but if your instructor requires the more advanced model, you will need to purchase the more expensive version. You can use the same clicker in more than one course over your academic career.


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