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About Textbooks

Owned and operated by Swarthmore College, the Campus & Community store helps Swarthmore students achieve academic success by providing competitively-priced textbooks in a variety of formats, including new, used, rental, and digital. We are conveniently located right on campus.

Through the website, we offer a custom textbook list for the student's registered courses.  The Store offers a return policy that mirrors campus add/drop deadlines, no sales tax on textbooks, and a generous rental-textbook-return policy.  Students can purchase or rent textbooks in the Store during open textbook shopping times or order them online at for pick up in the Store.

Swarthmore College provides each enrolled student with an annual $790 TAP fund credit in the Campus & Community Store, to be used towards the purchase of course materials.

For instructions on how to purchase course materials, format options, using the Textbook Affordability Program TAP Credit as a form of payment, downloading digital books, textbook returns and more, please see Materials/How to Buy Textbooks.

How Much Will Textbooks Cost?

Although book expenses vary depending upon individual course requirements and on the textbook format (new print, used print, digital, rental) chosen by the student, you should expect to spend between $250 and $600 a semester for your books.  Swarthmore College cost of attendance budget estimates that each student will spend $1,435 per year for academic supplies, including required course materials.  The $790 Textbook Affordability Program (TAP) credit per student per year offsets part of that expense, but is not intended to cover all of a student's expenses for required course materials.

Used Books

The Campus & Community Store provides used books as an option whenever possible. Most used textbooks are priced at approximately 50% less than if new. These less-expensive used books may contain writing, highlighting or other marks that some people find distracting. New textbooks are free of any markings, and may be preferred if keeping the book as a reference. Used books are placed on the textbook shelves along with the new books, giving you the option to choose the format that best fits your needs.


Renting your textbook for the semester typically costs less than the used book price. We offer a rental option on most of our textbooks. Look for “Available to Rent” online or on the shelf tag when you are shopping in the store.

Students can rent a new textbook or can rent a used textbook for a lower price. Used copies tend to sell out first. Students who shop early will have the best selection.

Whether you are purchasing your rental through our website or in the store, you will need your student ID, any of our accepted forms of payment, and a credit card to guarantee the book’s return. Completing the rental transaction indicates your acceptance of the Textbook Rental Terms and Conditions.

The rental due date is on your receipt – generally it is the last day of final exams. When you rent from us, we send you a reminder of the books you've rented and their due date. Books must be returned in salable condition as determined by store staff. Light highlighting and marking is allowed. Books with excessive highlighting, damage to the spine, torn covers, missing pages, or water damage will not be accepted.

If you decide to keep the rental book, you can purchase it at any time during the rental period by paying the difference between the rental fee you already paid and the current price of the textbook.


Digital versions of textbooks, known as eBooks, offer savings of up to 80%, greater portability and added learning functionality. Buying digital material is as easy as buying a printed textbook. If a book is available as an eBook, the eBook option will be listed on our website or noted as “eBook option” on our shelf tags.

When you purchase an eBook through our website you will receive an email confirmation and instructions on how to access your digital materials. When you purchase an eBook in the Store, the website link and a unique code to activate your eBook is printed on your receipt. Please note that once you downloaded or access an eBook, it is no longer returnable.



The Swarthmore Campus & Community Store buys back textbooks during the last two weeks of each semester. Books that are bought back to resell in our store are determined by faculty who have communicated to the bookstore that they will continue to use the same book from the current semester for the upcoming semester. When the Store is purchasing a book to resell, we offer up to 50% of our used retail price, regardless of whether the book was purchased new or used. If the book is not required for the coming semester, we will check online used book wholesalers and offer you a price determined by that wholesaler. Books that have no value but are being used in the current semester will be offered a dollar. To sell a book back, make sure it is in resalable condition. Books with water damage, significant and excessive highlighting and notes, missing or torn covers, or that are out of print or old editions, typically have no value.

By participating in selling back your books, you are ensuring that quality used books are available to you and other students at Swarthmore and at other colleges and universities. And best of all, recycling textbooks is an environmentally sound practice.

Finding the Books You Need

The store’s textbook shelves are organized alphabetically by department and by course number. Shelf tags indicate the purchase prices for new books, used books, rental pricing, and pricing for eBooks when available. Our web site also has some very handy features. Using My Swarthmore, students may enter their ID numbers and the Store’s website will return a customized list of books for all of the courses for which the student has registered. Individual books may be searched by author, title, ISBN, or key word. As always, if you need help finding textbooks, give us a call or ask any sales associate; we are more than happy to help.

The Bottom Line

Textbooks are expensive, but they are a very important component of your education. We want to get them into your hands in the most economical way possible, and make sure that you have them for the first day of class. If you ever have any questions please do not hesitate to ask us.

Erica Considine
[email protected]

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