Textbooks

The Davidson College Store offers several options for students who need to acquire their course materials. The textbook department is located on the second floor of the College Store on Main Street. Textbooks typically are available one month prior to the beginning of each semester, and are kept in the store until mid-terms.

To ensure that all students have access to course materials, we offer the following options:

  • Purchase – Required books for all courses are available in the store in new and/or used condition. New books typically are for sale at the publishers' list prices. Used books typically are for sale at 25 percent off. Used books may have writing, highlighting and general wear, but are guaranteed to be complete, correct editions.
  • Rental – Select titles in the store are available for rent. Rental prices vary and depend on whether new or used books are available. All rented books are due back to the store by the end of finals each term. Students may pay for rentals with financial aid and CatCards; however, they must present a valid credit card as collateral in order to rent books.
  • Online – The textbooks required for each course are posted on the Davidson College Store website as the orders are received from the instructors. Books may be purchased or rented from the online store for in-store pick-up at the beginning of the term. Students also may purchase or rent books from our affiliate, Skyo, to purchase or rent books and digital versions of books. The books rented from our affiliate are furnished by an outside source and delivery can take three to 10 days. The books rented from Skyo are available for different prices and durations, but also may be returned directly to the store.
  • Digital – Most e-books and digital options are available in the library, or can be purchased directly from the publisher. There are some digital books available directly for purchase through our Skyo affiliate, and as access codes that can be purchased in the store.
  • Textbook Buyback – Students can sell their textbooks back to the Davidson College Store at the end of each semester (student ID is required). All books (regardless of where they were purchased) are eligible for buy-back or donation. The store pays up to 50 percent of the current new book prices for books that will be used for the following semester. For textbooks not designated for use the next semester, the store may offer a wholesale market value, ranging from five to 35 percent of the retail prices. The store typically will match the wholesale prices offered by other vendors. Books determined to have no resale value may be donated at the store, with any proceeds going to Literacy for Life.
  • Rentals – Textbooks rented through the College Store or its affiliate, Skyo, may be returned to the store at any time. Students should take care not to try to sell back their rented books.
  • Returns – Students may return textbooks for a full refund within the first week of classes. Students who drop courses may return those course textbooks until the end of the drop/add period within the second week of classes. Refunds for books determined to no longer be in new condition at the time of the return will be granted at used-condition prices. The return policy is valid for both purchases and in-store rentals. Books rented through the Skyo affiliate may be returned to the store, and will be checked in for shipment instantaneously.
  • The "Marketplace" – Textbooks also are readily available for rent or purchase from multiple online vendors. Students may save money obtaining books from other vendors, but must be willing to wait for the materials and risk receiving damaged or incorrect textbooks.

The Bottom Line

Textbooks can be a significant expense for students and their families. There are many options for students to get what they need, as the Davidson College Store tries to meet students' needs in different, effective ways in one convenient location. Making sense of it all can be confusing, so here is a breakdown of what all these options mean:

Purchasing a new book from the store may seem like the most expensive option, though sometimes it is the only option if the book contains an access code or is a custom-produced item. If the book is adopted at Davidson again for the next semester, you can sell the book back to the store for up to 50 percent of the new book price.

Buying a used book is possible for most titles and this typically saves 25 percent off the new price. Moreover, if the book is adopted at Davidson for the next semester you can also sell the book to the store at 50 percent of the new book price. This can provide the best value.

New and used books do not have to have been purchased from the Davidson College Store in order to sell back during the book buyback.

Renting a book is generally less expensive than buying, as long as the book is returned on time. In-store rentals of new books provide about a 25 percent discount over new (Remember though, you can't sell it back!). In-store rentals of used books provide about a 50 to 55 percent savings over new prices. A benefit of in-store rental is that you can reserve your rentals online or take them directly off the shelf to rent-no waiting! (Please note that not all titles are eligible for in-store rental.)

Renting from our online Skyo affiliate generally provides an even deeper discount (60 to 70 percent), as they are competitive with marketplace prices and because they work with hundreds of other colleges, are able to rent more titles. You can even choose to rent a book through Skyo for only a portion of the semester and enjoy discounts up to 80 percent off the new purchase price. You just need to be prepared to wait three to 10 days for the Skyo rental to be shipped to you. Unlike the open marketplace, you can simply return the Skyo rental to the store at the end of the semester and we'll take care of the shipping for you.

In short, through the Davidson College Store, where you are guaranteed that you will get the proper edition and where you can return rental titles for shipping, you can find a range of purchase and rental options that can save you up to as much as 80 percent off the new book price.

Can you find better deals on your own in the marketplace? Possibly. But understand that there are trade-offs. You will invest your own time searching for the deal. If you buy from a disreputable dealer or individual you may not get what you need and it may not arrive in time for class. You will be saddled with the expense and annoyance of shipping rentals back, possibly to multiple dealers, at the end of exams when you really just want to get in your car and get home. But if the risks outweigh the savings you may be able to obtain online, we encourage you to hunt for your best deal. The Davidson College Store will still be here to help you in whatever way we can.