Bookstore Initiatives

Price Advocacy

Publishers set "suggested retail prices" on textbooks and Shop USask does not price items higher. Often those prices can be very high and so staff at the bookstore may contact a publisher to negotiate for lower pricing on a title. This custom pricing is then set for that current term and is uniquely offered to University of Saskatchewan students.

Used Books

Shop USask orders used books from two warehouses in the United States. Once an instructor submits their book order, we check those warehouses for used stock of every applicable title. However, book orders which are submitted late cannot be sourced due to shipping time and cost from these US warehouses.

We also buy back used books from the community for 50% of their current retail price, and then sell them for 75% of their current retail price. If a book is being used for an upcoming term, chances are it will be on our buyback list. You can check if your books are being bought back here.

Item Substitutions

When an instructor submits a book order, we check for the following alternative editions:

  • Paperback
  • Looseleaf (3-hole punched and shrink-wrapped)
  • Digital etexts
  • Custom editions (select chapters of a full book)

These alternatives are typically less expensive than the traditional hardcover textbook. We will either substitute the original book submitted, or list mulitple options so that students may purchase whichever they prefer.

The bookstore will also confirm if you require the use of an Online Homework System when it is bundled with the textbook. If it is not, then we can save students money by sourcing used copies or offering the standalone book when publishers make that option available to us.

Alternatives

Open Educational Resources

The Bookstore fully supports the adoption of Open Educational Resources (OER) at the University of Saskatchewan. We take part in raising awareness, have an option for instructors to add OER to their book order, and include that information to a student's book list. 

For more information on OER, please click here.

Print on Demand

Our Print on Demand (POD) service allows students to order printed versions of Open Textbooks. Printed texts are sold at $0.12 per double-sided page to cover printing costs.

Course Packages

Course packages can include a collection of various materials, such as journal articles, excerpts from books, or the professor's own work.

The cost of coursepacks are typcially very minimal and depend largely upon page length and any copyright licences that may need to be purchased.

What You Can Do

Students

  • Reach out to the USSU and your VP Academic Affairs 
  • Have a conversation with your instructor about the value and impact of their chosen materials
  • Contact us to share feedback that we can pass onto the instructor 
  • Source used books from the Bookstore or other students using websites like Facebook and Kijiji
  • Check if the library has copies in its collection or on reserve
  • Look up courses here to see what books are listed before finalizing your class schedule

Instructors

  • Assemble a course package with the help of the Copyright Office
  • Adopt Open Educational Resources
  • Negotiate with publishers for lower pricing using the bookstore as an ally and second voice
  • Consider your use of Online Homework Systems, which can be valuable but expensive
  • Adopt an alternative publication
  • Submit your book order to us as early as possible
  • Encourage students to support their campus bookstore, which in turn supports their university
  • Consider carefully the extent to which students need what you are requiring them to purchase
  • List course materials on your syllabus so students can easily assess cost, use, and value