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How to Purchase Your Books

To Shop Textbooks In-store

Textbooks are on the lower level of the store and are arranged in alphabetical order by author’s last name. Kiosks are available in the store and you can print your booklist in corresponding alphabetical order by author’s last name. The easiest and most convenient option is to log in to your Cornell Store booklist on your phone when shopping in the store.

To Shop Textbooks Online

Log in with your Cornell NetID, then click on your name to get to your account page. At the far left under "My Curriculum," click on the term to get to your personalized list of courses and materials for those courses. You can view prices for each title and the available formats (new, rental, used, digital). You can compare prices from several other online book sellers directly on our website. Be a savvy shopper and use this handy price comparison tool to find the best course material options for you. Visit textbooks-by-schedule-instructions for detailed instructions.

Please note: Prices listed from other vendors include shipping estimates. The Cornell Store is not responsible for purchases made through marketplace sellers listed in the comparison tool.

Textbook Options


Buy online or in-store, The Cornell Store stocks all of the required books for your classes. When the semester ends, take advantage of our Textbook Buyback Program and recoup some of the upfront cost of your books. Learn more about Textbook Buyback.

Do I need to buy ALL book titles recommended for my courses?
Not necessarily. Check your online booklist to distinguish between titles that are required and those that are listed as optional. A careful review of the course syllabus can also help you determine the extent of the reading assigned or when a book will be used during the course. You can also ask your professor about how often the book will be used.

What's the best way to pay for my textbooks?
CornellCard. Use your CornellCard online which allows your NetID to function as a charge account. Bills for purchases made by CornellCard will be sent with your tuition statements. Other acceptable forms of payment are cash, credit card, and Cornell Store gift card.

How are the prices of textbooks determined?
The Cornell Store buys books from used book companies, publishers, and other vendors at the lowest prices we can find. We set retail prices that allow us enough margin to cover our costs associated with the labor, shipping and systems needed to offer the thousands of copies of books requested by faculty from hundreds of vendors. Affordability is the goal through the entire process. Instructors are requested to submit book information well in advance of each semester. During the submission process, instructors are provided an affordability score and given suggested alternative options that seek to minimize the cost to students.

What is The Cornell Store doing to address the issue of the high cost of textbooks?
We are continually working to find ways to help students manage their investment in course materials. Our efforts include: searching the market for low-priced used books, and passing those savings on to students through lower used and rental prices; offering an online price comparison tool so students can compare textbook prices from The Cornell Store and other online merchants; offering rental textbooks; offering tens of thousands of money-saving used books; expanding our selection of lower-priced eBooks; returning over $1 million to students each year through Textbook Buyback; educating faculty on cost-conscious textbook adoption strategies; helping faculty produce custom coursepacks that consolidate academic materials from multiple sources into one cost-effective product. By far, The Cornell Store’s Instant Access program is the biggest money saver for digital course materials. Courses that use digital course materials through the Instant Access Program offer those materials at the lowest possible price. To learn more about Instant Access, visit cornellstore.com/instant-access-program.

How does the Textbook Buyback program work?
Textbook Buyback runs year-around in-store and at the end of each semester. (The best prices are paid at the end of each semester). Buying textbooks back from students helps us to keep a robust selection of used books in stock and allows us to return cash to students.

Do I have to get all my textbooks now, or can I buy some later in the semester?
Many textbooks are kept in stock only until the middle of the current semester, except those that we know faculty will be using later in the semester. Although we can order any materials you may need, it's best to complete your purchases early in the semester.


The Cornell Store rents thousands of books every semester to save students money. Rent textbooks on our website or check our shelves to see which titles are available for rent. Rental books must be returned by the last day of finals. When you rent from The Cornell Store, you have the convenience of in-store pickup, the assurance that returns are quick and simple.

How does the in-store rental process work?
Use our online textbook price comparison tool to shop online or check our shelves to see rental options. Textbooks available for rent have two different prices based on condition, the new rental price and the used rental price. Select the textbook you would like to rent in the desired condition. Review the rental terms and conditions. If purchasing in-store, you will be required to show your Cornell ID prior to your transaction. If a book you brought to the counter is available to rent the cashier will ask you if you would like to rent or purchase the book. Completing the transaction indicates your acceptance of the rental terms. Save your receipt. It will be needed if you want to return your book for a refund during the textbook refund period.

Why would I want to rent a textbook?
Many students are only interested in using some textbooks for the duration of a class. Renting for a semester typically costs less than half of the new book price. Renting removes the risk of how much the book may be worth at the end of the semester and you can capture the savings up front instead of waiting for Textbook Buyback at the end of the term. If you decide to keep the book, you can purchase it at any time during the rental period for the difference between the new rental fee and the current new selling price or the used rental fee and the current used selling price, based on whether the book was rented in new or used condition at the time of the transaction.

Can I get a refund on a rented book?
Yes. Refunds for textbooks rented in-store or online from the Cornell Store will be treated in the same manner as refunds for purchased textbooks. Our standard course materials return policy will apply.

Why isn't the book for my class available for rent?
Unfortunately, not all textbooks qualify for our rental program. There are multiple factors that are considered, from how current the text is to the size of the class, and how often the course is offered.

Are the rental books used copies or new copies?
If a book is available for rent, a student can decide to purchase a new rental or used rental based upon availability. There are different costs associated with rentals based on condition. Rental stock is limited to our on-hand quantities of a book. Students who shop early will be the most likely to acquire rental copies in the condition they desire.

When do I have to return my rental text to the Cornell Store?
Before the close of business on the last day of scheduled final exams each semester. We will send email notices reminding you of the return deadline, but the responsibility to return is yours.

What if I forget to return the book at the end of the semester?
If your initial purchase was a rented new copy, a charge equal to the difference between the amount paid for the new rental and the current cost of replacing a new copy, plus a 10% handling fee will be charged to your bursar account. If your initial purchase was a rented used copy, a charge equal to the difference between the amount paid for the used rental and the current cost of a replacement used copy, plus a 10% handling fee will be charged to your bursar account.

Can I turn in my rental book when I return for the following semester?
No. Once the book has been billed to your bursar account, you will own the book. We may be able to purchase your copy at the current buyback price. We currently do not offer extensions to the rental period and all rentals must be returned to us in the semester rented. If you will require your rental for more than one semester, it is recommended that you purchase the book rather than rent.

Can I use a highlighter in my rental text?
Books must be returned in salable condition as determined by store staff. Minimal highlighting and marking is allowed. Books with damage to the spine, torn covers, missing pages, or any water damage will not be accepted.

What if my book was lost, stolen, or damaged beyond normal wear?
You can acquire another copy of the book and return it at the end of the rental period. You can come to the store and pay the difference between the rental and replacement costs and avoid the handling fee. You can do nothing and allow your bursar account to be charged.

I need the textbook for a continuation class. Can I rent it for multiple semesters?
If you are taking a continuation course, purchasing a new or used book is usually the best option. Although you are free to rent (and return) a textbook multiple times, the cost of renting a book for two semesters is generally higher than purchasing the book once. The rental return date cannot be extended to accommodate make up finals or continuation courses.

Is it a better deal to rent a book or to purchase it and then sell it back at Textbook Buyback?
Renting provides a lower up-front cost. In some cases, it can be less expensive to buy a used text (when available) and sell it at buyback. There is always the chance that the text won't be bought back if a newer edition is published or if the professor switches to a different book, so renting ensures some cost savings.

Can someone else return my books for me?
Yes. As long as they provide and verify your Net ID when returning the rental. For best results, we recommend returning your own books.

I mistakenly sold back a book that I rented. What do I do now?
A rented textbook that is sold back during buyback cannot be reversed. You will be charged the buyout price plus a 10% fee for the rented textbook that was not returned.

Can I extend my textbook rental?
At this time, we do not allow rental extensions. If you require your rented textbook past the due date, you will need to purchase the book at the buyout price.

Can I purchase the textbook during my rental period?
Yes, when returning your rental textbook, let the cashier know you’d like to keep it. Payment is due at the time of buyout.

Instant Access

The Instant Access program delivers digital course materials directly to students' Canvas Learning Management System (LMS) profile on or before the first day of class. The Instant Access Program will be the default way for you to receive your materials for the classes utilizing the Instant Access Program. View detailed instructions for accessing your Instant Access materials.

How much does Instant Access cost?
Check your student booklist for the price of your Instant Access materials. To view pricing for your course(s) participating in the Instant Access program, log in at cornellstore.com to view your personalized booklist. The Instant Access item will display as unavailable, but the price listed is the price that will be charged to your bursar account for the materials.

How do I buy my Instant Access materials?
You don’t have to do anything! Just log in to the Canvas course using Instant Access and follow the instructions listed to access your materials. After the opt-out deadline, we will simply bill the cost of the materials to your bursar account. To opt out, click the Instant Access tab in Canvas, find the item you’d like to opt out of, then click the gray opt-out button on the corresponding digital material. You may also log in to cornellstore.redshelf.com to access your MyCourses page to opt out. Detailed opt-out instructions can be found at .

When will I have access to my book or course materials?
Once Canvas is open for the semester, you will have access to your course materials automatically. In your course in Canvas, there will be a link on the left side called “Instant Access”. Click that link to go to the page for your course materials, and follow the instructions on that page. Your bursar account will be billed for the materials after the add period, unless you opt out. See “What does opt out mean?” below.

What does “opt out” mean?
The Instant Access program at Cornell automatically provides you with your books or course materials through a link in Canvas, but it is optional to participate. If you do not want to keep the digital course materials provided through Instant Access, you may choose to decline this service (opt out) and purchase your materials in another way. You must opt out by the opt-out deadline. After that date, your bursar account will be charged for the course materials unless you have opted out. Keep in mind that it is rarely possible to find the same materials at a lower price.

How do I opt out?
To opt out, log in to cornellstore.redshelf.com, go to the My Courses page, and select your course. At the bottom of the page, click the gray “I want to opt out of access to all required materials for this course” button.

I opted out by mistake. Can I opt back in?
Yes! If it’s before the opt-out deadline, you can opt back in by going to cornellstore.redshelf.com. If it’s after the deadline, just email us at instantaccess@cornell.edu and include your NetID and course (e.g. ‘BIOG 1440’).

I dropped the course. Will I still be billed?
If you drop the course before the opt-out deadline, you will automatically be opted out and you will not be billed. If you drop the course after the deadline, your bursar account will be refunded for the cost of the materials.

How do I get help if I’m having trouble with access to an ebook in RedShelf?
For help with anything within the RedShelf site (e.g. your account, trouble redeeming an access code, or questions about the RedShelf eReader), please visit RedShelf Student Support at to view a list of FAQ or to submit a help request. You may also email: help@redshelf.com.

How do I get help if I’m having trouble with access to a publisher learning platform (such as Pearson MyLab)?
For help with publisher online content, please contact the publisher’s online help team: Cengage MindTap, Unlimited, or Aplia: https://cengageportal.secure.force.com/Support Macmillan Sapling or Launchpad: https://macmillan.force.com/macmillanlearning/s/contactsupport McGraw-Hill Connect: http://www.mhhe.com/support Norton Total Access: https://helpdesk.wwnorton.com/external/helpdeskrequest.aspx Pearson MyLab or Mastering https://support.pearson.com/getsupport/s/contactsupport Wiley Plus: https://hub.wiley.com/community/support/wileyplus

If you have questions regarding something not addressed here, please email instantaccess@cornell.edu

Digital Course Materials

eBooks and access codes are a great way to access your course content digitally. These digital course materials can be purchased through The Cornell Store online and in-store.

How do I purchase an ebook or digitally delivered access code from The Cornell Store?
In-store: all ebooks and access codes that are available digitally will display an “ebook” price on our electronic shelf tags. If the book or access code for your course is available digitally, a barcode will print on your book list or display on your mobile device. To purchase, take this barcode to a cashier. A redemption code will print out on a receipt. To redeem: visit cornellstore.redshelf.com and enter the redemption code. The product will then appear in your Redshelf account.

Online: all ebooks and access codes that are available digitally will display an ebook price on our online booklist. To purchase, add this product to your Cornell Store online shopping cart. When you complete your checkout any ebooks or digital access codes that you purchased will be delivered with a redemption code via email. To redeem: visit cornellstore.redshelf.com and enter the redemption code. The product will then appear in your Redshelf account.

Can I use the CornellCard to purchase ebooks and digital access codes from The Cornell Store?
Yes, if you buy them from The Cornell Store. If you purchase an ebook directly from our affiliate Redshelf or other vendors you will not be able to use your CornellCard.

How do we read ebooks purchased from The Cornell Store?
Ebooks that are bought through The Cornell Store are used on the Redshelf eReader. Visit cornellstore.redshelf.com to learn more.

How are the prices for ebooks and Access Cards determined?
Ebook and access code prices are set by the publisher of the product. The Cornell Store has no control over the price of an ebook or access code.

What type of devices can I use for an ebook purchased from The Cornell Store?
The Cornell Store ereader partner Redshelf follows a “Bring Your Own Device” model. Their technology is a HTML5 browser-based ereader; meaning that students can access their materials on any internet-enabled device including tablets, smartphones, desktops, and laptops. Offline access is available, but no downloads are required.

For how long is my ebook valid?
Ebooks sold at The Cornell Store are valid for at least 180 days. Some ebooks may be available for longer. If you desire shorter access the ebook may be available from Redshelf for different durations at cornellstore.redshelf.com.

What is the difference between an ebook and an access code?
Ebooks are the digital version of a book publication. Access codes can be many things including but not limited too: combination of an ebook and software, homework management software, publisher software, etc. Many courses use access codes; many times the access code and software include access to an ebook. In this case, these ebooks will be read through a different ereader than Redshelf. Access codes vary greatly in what they offer; please check with the professor of your course to understand exactly what you will receive with a specific access code.

Who is Redshelf?
Redshelf is a company that focuses on the delivery of etextbooks in a simple and affordable manner. They are a vendor that The Cornell Store has partnered with to offer digital materials to students since 2014. Redshelf provides digital content from the world’s leading academic publishers, consumer trade publishers, self-publishers and a variety of other content creators.

How do I begin reading a Redshelf ebook?
After you have redeemed your redemption code on the cornellstore.redshelf.com site simply login at any point. You will be directed to your “MyShelf” where all redeemed products can be accessed.

Are Redshelf ebooks available without an internet connection?
Yes. The Redshelf eReader offers an offline function where users can select a page range to cache within their browser for when Wi-Fi is not available. The percentage of offline availability is determined by the publisher. This is not a downloadable ebook. To determine if your ebook will allow for offline access, look at the percentage listed on the title details page prior to purchase at Redshelf.com.

Is printing allowed?
Yes. Redshelf’s eReader offers a printing function where users can select a page range to print. The percentage of the ebook that is available to print is determined by its publisher. Please note: not all ebooks will allow printing.

Is there information on how to use Redshelf eReader online?
Redshelf has many different features built into their eReader. To help answer questions about your Redshelf account, eReader functionality such as highlighting, notes, dictionaries, flash cards, etc. visit https://cornellstore.redshelf.com/faq/

Where can I get help with my RedShelf account?
Call RedShelf’s student help number at 312-878-2628.

View Academic Materials Return Policy