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Frequently Asked Questions


Why is the price of textbooks so high?

Since the purchase of textbooks may be a new experience for you, the prices may seem high.  Specific elements that contribute to the price of a book include paper, printing, binding, author's royalty, editorial and development expenses, marketing, transportation, and personnel costs.  The average bill is $420 per semester for a full-time student.  The price of each textbook is printed on the shelf tag.

How are textbooks titles selected?

The college store has no voice in the textbook title selections; it is simply a matter of faculty preference.  The faculty submit book orders to our textbook staff who make every effort to have the correct titles and proper quantities available at the beginning of each semester.  If we run out of a title due to over enrollment, additional sections being added, or students from other schools purchasing our books, we will reorder immediately to obtain the book as quickly as possible.  The average time to receive a book, if the publisher has it in stock, is 7-14 business days.  We will notify you by phone as soon as the book arrives.

When can I find out information regarding my required and optional textbooks?

Some students like to get information regarding required and optional textbooks as soon as possible.  With that in mind, the booklist for each semester will be available approximately one month prior to the start of the fall, spring, and summer semesters.  

How can I obtain information regarding my required and optional textbooks?

Once the booklist is published, books can be viewed and purchased on-line at www.csmcollegestore.com or obtained in person at any one of the three college stores.  We regret that due to the volume of our business, we can not accommodate phone call or e-mail inquiries.  

When is the best time to purchase my textbooks?

The textbook department is set up one week prior to the beginning of each semester.  The majority of books will have been ordered and will be available at this time.  This schedule provides optimal customer service, preventing the sale of "wrong" books, and making it possible to purchase the books you need in one visit.  Textbooks are returned to publishers approximately 4-6 weeks after classes start.  Plan to purchase books that are OPTIONAL after your first class when you are certain you will use them.

How are textbooks arranged in the college store?

Textbooks are arranged alphabetically by academic department.  They are further arranged by course number and section.  It is extremely important that you have complete and accurate course and section numbers to ensure that you purchase the correct books!

Textbooks stocked in each college store are campus specific, meaning textbooks are stocked according to where the course is offered.

If textbooks are stocked according to where the course is offered, can I arrange to pick them up at another location? 

We will gladly transfer your textbook(s) to the college store location of your choice.  Please allow up to 3 business days to process your request.

Where can I purchase my telecourse or web-based textbooks?

All telecourse and web-based textbooks are available for purchase using the CSM College Store on-line or at the college store on the La Plata campus.  Call the college store nearest you to have the books transferred.

What is Buyback?

Textbooks which have a wholesale value may be sold to the college store at various times throughout the school year.  Call the store nearest you for more details regarding the wholesale buyback. 

The college store also schedules a special buyback for used textbooks during finals week of fall, spring, and summer semesters. 

The college store does not buyback study guides, workbooks, or books containing CDs, DVDs, flash drives, or access codes.

How much money will I get for my textbooks?

If the book will be used again for the next term, the college store will pay up to 50% of the current new selling price.  The college store will continue to buy back books from students until they have met the quantity limit. 

If the store has sufficient stock or if the book has not been re-adopted, then a wholesale value will be applied to all current-edition textbooks.  The wholesale value is approximately 12-25% of the new book price.  The college store does not determine wholesale value.

When are Buybacks are offered?

Buying and selling used books save students considerable amounts of money.  This is why we offer BUYBACKS.  Buybacks are held during the week of finals in May, July, and December at each college store location in La Plata, Prince Frederick, and Leonardtown.  Dates and times for the buybacks are determined well in advance and posters, flyers, and tent cards are distributed throughout the campus buildings.  Additionally, the college store offers a wholesale buyback at various times throughout the year. 

Students are encouraged to sell back their books at the end of the semester they were used.  The longer a student waits to sell back their book, the probability of the college store buying back the book decreases.

What are some factors that influence the buying back of a textbook?

  1. The college store receives an adoption (order) from an instructor indicating what textbook will be used for the upcoming semester.  If the book is not being used for the next semester the college store will not buyback the book.
  2. The college store staff will check textbook inventory to determine how many books the store has on-hand and how many books are needed for a particular course.
  3. The condition of a book being sold back is important.  The book must have all pages in tact, be in readable condition, and all front and back covers should be in place.
  4. The life expectancy of a book is between 2 & 3 years.  Publisher's print new editions leaving old editions with no value.
  5. If the college store does not buy back a book for the above reasons, wholesale buy back may be an alternative.  Wholesale prices are determined primarily by demand nation-wide.

Does the college store provide a special order service?

The college store provides a special order service for books that cannot be found.  Call or stop by the customer service desk, and the staff will research any request through the electronic book search for all titles in print.

Does the college store sell computer software at academic prices?

Computer software can be purchased by faculty and staff employed at the College of Southern Maryland, as well as, enrolled CSM students.  Employee or student identification is required at time of purchase along with a valid driver's license.  To order and purchase academically priced software, please visit any of the college stores.