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Amherst Books

Faculty Services For Students

Faculty Services

   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.  In the two years we've been open, we have already changed the textbook landscape by selling books at the lowest possible price.  We try to get used books whenever they are available.

    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 800.503.5865; 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 we didn't get anything!

Confused about isbns?   As of January 1st 2007, the publishing industry moved from 10 digit isbns to 13 digit isbns.   For the time being, the only difference is the 978- prefix & a consequent change in the last digit, what's called the "check digit".   As the assigned numbers run out, a new prefix will start to be assigned.   However, not everyone has managed to make the change yet, so for the time being a lot of publishers & vendors are listing both the ISBN-10 & the ISBN-13 formats.   It makes no difference to us which one you use.

Desk copies

If you’d like desk copies, we’d be happy to ask the publisher to send them to you.   Just so you know, more & more frequently publishers are only taking desk copies requests from instructors themselves, e.g.at this time the Penguin Random House company & the University of California Press will only take requests for desk copies directly from instructors.   N.B. Desk copies are always sent directly to your office.   In the past, desk copies we distributed were paid for by us.   Sadly, with the new Federal law requiring faculty to post their books on-line our sales have been hurt enough that we often cannot afford to lose that income.


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.

On custom editions:

Custom editions are increasingly popular because they seem to save students money.   However, unless you are prepared to commit yourself to using a custom editon the following semester, students won't be able to sell them (to us or anyone else) at the end of the semester.   Which means they pay less on the front end but get back less at the end of the semester.   It usually means students pay more.   Morever, customer editions put us in an awkward position: publishers only allow a small number of custom books to be returned, so we have to careful how many we order.   If we order too many & don't sell them we lose money on the course.   If we don't order enough, we can't order a few more because they often taken 6 weeks to print up.   So, you can see why we're against ’em: but we'll do whatever you'd like.

For Students
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:

On-line ordering:

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.

Last updated 25 August, 2015Site Map