Understanding the Textbook Cycle

Buying textbooks or course materials is an integral part of any class. If you are a new instructor or just unfamiliar with the textbook cycle, take some time to familiarize yourself with the course materials ordering process and the tips included in this post. It may save you some time and frustration and it just might save your students some money.

What is the “textbook cycle”?

Textbook cycle 

The NDSU Bookstore is the designated provider of course materials for NDSU classes. They are required by law to display information about all courses and what materials will be used or not.  So everything related to course materials begins at the bookstore.

The graphic (to the left) illustrates the cyclical nature of the textbook ordering process.  The NDSU Bookstore asks for your adoption (order) information about six to eight weeks before the prior term ends, because knowing in advance the materials you will be using has a positive impact on everything that happens later.

Here are three ways the bookstore can better assist you with an early book adoption or course materials order.

It gives them time to review all the orders to ensure they fully understand which materials faculty want and to ensure they can properly identify the ISBN and publisher or other source.
It gives them time to search for used books on the national market and makes it possible for them to pay up to 10% more than the market price to NDSU students for texts that have been readopted.
It gives them time to communicate with you if there are problems, such as titles being out-of-stock, out-of-print or available in a new edition that you didn’t specify.

Textbook ordering cycle simplified:

  1. Course materials are selected.
  2. Adoption information is submitted to the bookstore. OR indicate “No materials needed”.
  3. Bookstore researches availability.
  4. Bookstore determines quantities and acquires inventory.
  5. Books arrive and new term begins.
  6. Unsold books are returned to vendors after midterms.

And the cycle begins again…

Who knew it is the law?

It seems strange to say it but, yes, there is a law that states the NDSU is required to provide information to students regarding the course materials, even if no materials are required.

Tip 1: If you are teaching a class, you need to contact the NDSU Bookstore with information about your course materials, even if it is to tell them you do not require any materials.

 Tip 2: Turn your course materials in as early as possible to save your students money.

You can have a tremendous impact on course material costs for your students simply by turning your course materials request on time. Requests for course materials that are turned in prior to six weeks before the start of the semester can save students up to 70 percent over orders that are turned in closer to the start of the semester.


The NDSU Bookstore’s primary mission is to enhance the educational mission of the University Community with services, books, supplies and other related materials.



KeywordsInstructional, OTL Blog   Doc ID131890
OwnerLinda C.GroupIT Knowledge Base
Created2023-10-04 11:55:03Updated2023-10-04 12:09:58
SitesIT Knowledge Base
CleanURLhttps://kb.ndsu.edu/understanding-the-textbook-cycle
Feedback  0   0