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During the COVID-19 pandemic, we are processing and shipping web orders daily and offer curbside pickup if needed.

Our top priority is the safety and well-being of our team members, our customers, and each and every member of our community

  Masks and social distancing are required. Please visit us!

Textbooks 101

Joe Hardenberg, Textbook Coordinator at x3496 or j[email protected]

  • Data Entry: Verifying and entering into our textbook management database all the information for all courses takes a lot of time, and this step must be completed before buyback or publisher orders can take place.
  • Research: Investigating new editions, potential stock problems, etc. takes time. If a book has gone out of print and must be replaced, it may take several weeks for you to find and review desk copies from which to choose your replacement. Custom publications and duplicated works (course packs) take time to arrange and obtain permission.
  • Used Books: Our best source for used books is students. In order to buy books from them, we need to know which books we'll need. Our next best source is wholesale, used book companies, who operate in a very competitive market; the first stores to begin ordering are more likely to secure the most used books.
For these reasons, we've established the following book order due dates:

Fall and Summer I & II Semester Books . . .Due by April 30th
Spring Semester Books . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Due by November 30th

Muhlenberg is consistent with other schools as to when adoptions are requested. The earlier we obtain adoptions, the more time we have to acquire the appropriate books and reduce overall book costs to students. To this end, we compete with other campuses for used books, with a variety of wholesale companies. To be placed accordingly within ship queues, we must consolidate our publisher and wholesale orders, as well as ensure our returns occur with their deadlines. Also, many faculty are not on campus during the summer months, making it more critical to receive adoptions prior to the end of the spring semester.

Yes! While we understand some selections may take extra time to research, you should submit orders for the book(s) you know you will definitely use, by the due date; the balance should be submitted at the earliest possible time. Remember to allow at least 6-8 weeks for copyright clearance for course readers, not including printing time.

Access the online book order form by going to the College's homepage, click on "'Berg Bookshop", then the "Faculty Book Orders" selection. Once the form is completed, print a copy for your records and click "Submit to Bookstore".

For purposes of accuracy, expediency, and reference, we prefer to have a written record of your adoptions.

The course/section you're teaching, book ISBN number, and quantity to be ordered, if known.

Courses not requiring a textbook should be noted as such on the online adoption form or communicated to the Textbook Coordinator. We like to have this information as it helps us better answer students' questions. If specific supplies (i.e. art supplies, computer disks, RF answer/response systems, etc.) are required, please list them on the book order form. They'll be ordered and in stock to better serve students' needs.

We base order quantities upon the number provided by faculty on the adoption form. If this is not provided, the Capstone (Registrar's Office) course enrollment numbers for the prior two (2), same (e.g. fall/fall and spring/spring) semesters are averaged. If you know or suspect a course(s) will/may be over-enrolled or a section added, please inform us at the earliest possible time.

We have to edit the quantities requested on your order. From the estimated enrollment you provide, we review a number of factors to determine how many books we will probably need to sell, including:


  • Past sales history for a given title
  • Enrollment history for a particular course and instructor
  • Enrollment projections from the college
  • Length of time a title has been used on this campus
  • Competition from the online market place
  • Availability of rental and eBook titles

Textbook sales and enrollment are hardly ever a one-to-one correlation, for several reasons:


  • Students are very "saavy" shoppers! They wait to see if the book marked "Required" on the shelf tag is really going to be necessary to pass the class. If they don't need it, they won't buy it.
  • Many titles are now available to rent or in eBook format.
  • Students arrange to purchase and share texts in groups, and then study together.

You can access the "Textbooks" link on The 'Berg Bookshop web site and view the books adopted for your course(s). However, it is strongly suggested you stop by the Bookstore roughly two weeks before the first day of class to check the accuracy of the shelf tags.

As we compete with other publishers' customers for acquiring books, they periodically, run out of stock. In such cases, we contact the publisher to determine and expedite a ship date. For out-of-print titles, old editions, etc., you'll be made aware of such at the earliest possible time to discuss alternatives. (These reasons reinforce the importance of early book adoptions.) Also, we continue efforts to improve timeliness of communication and continue to focus on keeping faculty informed of any problem issues.

You will be contacted by the Textbook Coordinator at the earliest possible time. While faculty are encouraged to check the Books In Print web site, this is not always accurate. Due to individual sellers of single titles, ordering lot quantities from Amazon or similar web sites is not possible. Also, books ordered from these sources are non-returnable.

The Bookstore buys new books from publishers, used and eBooks from wholesale book companies, and acquires rental titles from a book rental partner.

A survey issued in conjunction with our national Bookstore association revealed concerns by parents and students about high textbook costs, and insisting on more used books offered.

Wholesale companies have standards as to the amount of markings that will not only be bought from us, but also provided. Every attempt is made to offer used books with limited markings. Although it is impossible to check every title, we will exchange a title with excessive markings.

Open Education Resources (OER) is a category of educational materialsavailable in the public domain that is available with little or no-costaccess, and with zero or limited restrictions in terms of usabilityre-purposing and redistribution. The 'Berg Bookshop currently offers books for Calculus I, II and II in OER format for a nominal price.

Publishers usually prefer that you or your department secretary contact them directly or access Faculty Center.net. If need be, we can sell an instructor a book to use until your desk copy arrives from the publisher, at which point, we'll provide a refund by crediting your department account.

The Bookstore's markup on all textbooks is 26%, significantly lower than standard retail markups of 30-40%. Included in our margin is freight and overhead we must pay. Used books are sold at 25% less than new book prices. The Bookstore's profit is returned to the College to fund student programs and other initiatives.

Not necessarily. We often can't return used books. Even for new textbooks, most publishers penalize bookstores for returns over 15-20% of the total orders. Many small publishers allow only very limited returns or no returns at all. Federal and State publications, course packs, custom-published and similar items are all completely non-returnable. Additionally, we must pay the return shipping charge.

  1. Consider assigning the least costly course materials;
  2. Provide your book adoptions by the due date every term;
  3. Provide accurate course, section, and ISBN numbers;
  4. Whenever possible, re-use the same textbook(s) over several semesters, if previous editions are not much different;
  5. Comminicate clearly with your publishers' reps; work with them to develop packages that deliver cost savings;
  6. Try using a trade book that covers your discipline;
  7. Create a course pack if planning to use a limited amount of a text; and
  8. MOST IMPORTANTLY: USE the textbooks you ask your students to buy.
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