(If you can't find your class here, your instructor has not ordered it from us!)
Amherst Books has years & years of customer service. We are not only dedicated to providing speedy, effective & safe service, we pride
ourselves on providing textbooks to students at competitive prices. We try to get used books whenever they are available.
Reasons for ordering your books from us:
- Excellent service
- Low prices
- We buy & sell used textbooks
- All graduate students, faculty & staff at the Five Colleges get a 10% discount on all purchases. (Please let the bookseller at the cash register know who you are at time of purchase!)
- Faculty who order their books from us get a 20% discount on all purchases.
- Although we will do everything we can to have publishers send you desk copies, publishers are increasingly reluctant to honor requests that originate from bookstores, so we recommend contacting publishers yourself. (We can provide information on how to do that, it’s usually a matter of web searching for the publisher and the words "desk copy.") A couple of caveats: all desk copies are sent to your department office—never to the bookstore. And note that publishers will typically not provide desk copies if fewer than 12 students are enrolled in a class; many insist on a minimum enrollment of 20 students.
At Amherst Books you can order your textbooks using our on-line form, by email, or you can print out a PDF Requisition Form.
Drop it by, call it in to 413.256.1547; or fax it to 413.256.1621. We'll always acknowledge receipt as soon as we receive the order. If you don't get a response, please let us know—it means something got lost in the ether!
Information we will need:
- Your institution
- Your department
- Class name & course number
- Estimated enrollment
- The author or authors, editor or editors of each text
- The titles & any particular edition you want
- —we always try to find the cheapest edition if you don't specify
- Anything else you want to tell us, e.g.
- —if a title is recommended rather than required
- —if you know that a title will need special handling
- —if you want a desk copy
If you are planning to use a book again the next semester please let us know as soon as possible. We will pay students 50% of the new price for those books. Otherwise we pay a rate set by the national used textbook industry.
Whether you go to school at Amherst College, Hampshire College, or the University of Massachusetts there are good reasons to buy your textbooks from us:
- Low prices!
- Great service!
- Long hours!
- Short lines!
- On-line browsing of stock!
- Fair returns policy!
- Semester-long buybacks!
- Hip staff!
At this time we cannot take on-line orders. You may call us & ask us to pull a book from our inventory, though you will have to pay for it with a credit card on the telephone.
Our simple returns policy:
Returns must be accompanied by a receipt.
No matter when you purchased them, returns must be made before the end of add-drop period for the current semester.
Books must be in new condition.
Our buy-back policy:
If we have an order or a heads-up from a professor that she or he will be using a textbook the following semester we will pay half (50%) of the new price.
Except for during the add-drop period at the beginning of each semester, we do buybacks year 'round from Monday — Friday, 9:00 — 3:00, or by arrangement.
The best time to sell a book is about 10 days to 2 weeks before a semester begins.
If you wait too long into a semester & we feel that most students have already bought the book in question, we may not be so likely to buy the book or pay you top dollar.
We don't guarantee we can buy any book back:
—the condition may not warrant it
—the edition may be out of date
—there may be no market for the book
We try to buy back for our own use because we pay you more for the books.
If we can't buy back for our own use, we act as an agent for a national used textbook company. And we can only pay what they tell us we can offer.
And finally, in order to tell you whether we're buying particular books &, if so, what we're paying for them, you must bring them in. (Except during the first two weeks of a semester.)
(See below in the FAQs section for more information.)
Do you give student discounts?
Our textbook prices are already pretty low. We don't inflate them so that we can give you a discount after we jack up the price. At this time we do give
graduate students a 10% discount on all purchases (including textbooks), we are trying to figure out how we can do it for undergraduates as well.
I bought a textbook after the add-drop period. I discovered I don't need it, but you won't let me return it. Why?
Returns have to stop sometime. We assume that if you are buying a text after the add-drop period then you are committed to taking the course &
have a pretty good idea what the requirements are. If the professor changes her or his mind, or if some special circumstance forces you to drop the course,
we're happy to make special arrangements.
Why do returns have to stop sometime?
In our experience, we find that most returns after the add-drop period are from students who used the text very carefully for a paper or an exam & then
want to return it. We're not a lending library—alas!
What's this about receipts?
We require receipts for two reasons. The first is to protect you
: someone is less likely to steal your book if they can't make some quick cash on it. Requiring a receipt for a return
makes it a little less likely they can do so. The other reason is to protect us
. If you bought your textbook somewhere else—we don't want it. Surprise!
What's the story on buy-backs?
First of all, please note that you don't have to have purchased the book from us to sell it to us. There are, however, two categories of books we buy back. The first is comprised of those books for which we have course-orders for the following semester. We pay half-price for these books. From your perspective, the problem
is that we often don't get orders for those books until a week or two before the semester begins. That leaves you out of luck unless you get in touch with your prof & get her or him to let us know she or he is using the same book next semester. Once we know, we can buy the book for half-price.
The other category of buy-backs, the books we don't have orders for, we buy for a national used textbook company. They decide what the going rate for a used textbook is (based on supply & demand — which is why some books don't even show
up in our list), & that's what we can offer you. As you probably already know, it's not usually very much. If it's a "regular book"—a novel or a political essay, for example
—we may be willing to buy it for our used book department. Please note that we will not buy books back for our own use with hi-lighting.