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Textbook Adoptions

  • Responsible Office: Academic Affairs, Office of the Provost
  • Current Approved Version: 12/05/2013
  • Policy Type: Administrative

Policy Statement and Purpose

Generally textbooks are selected by the individual faculty member, though in some cases a departmental committee or a committee composed of faculty teaching a course may select texts. Faculty members are responsible for ordering their own texts and are required to provide textbook information to the appropriate VCU bookstore, Barnes & Noble @ VCU – Monroe Park Campus or Barnes & Noble @ VCU – Medical Campus.

Faculty should strive to minimize the costs of textbooks for students while maintaining the quality of education and academic freedom. In an effort to make textbooks more affordable, the VCU bookstores are contractually obligated to provide students and others with accurate course material information. The deans and vice provosts responsible for instructional units will ensure faculty and departments comply with the textbook adoption policy and procedures.

Faculty may not engage in direct sale of instructional materials to students.

Noncompliance with this policy may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination. VCU supports an environment free from retaliation. Retaliation against any employee who brings forth a good faith concern, asks a clarifying question, or participates in an investigation is prohibited.

Who Should Know This Policy

The following groups are responsible for knowing this policy and familiarizing themselves with its contents and provisions:

  • Vice Presidents and Senior Executives
  • Deans, Directors, Department Heads and Department Chairs
  • All faculty utilizing textbooks in their instructional endeavors
  • University Bookstores staff responsible for textbook activities


University Bookstore

University operated retail units on the Monroe Park and Medical Campuses.


For the purpose of this policy, a textbook may be described as a book, software application and/or media bundle designed to be used in a course to introduce students to a subject or continue basic instruction at the intermediate or advanced levels of a subject. Commonly, although not always, textbooks include study questions, discussion topics, study guides or exercises at the end of each chapter and may be published in subsequent editions in order to update information in previous editions. Textbooks may be designed for use in undergraduate courses, graduate courses, or for use in professional programs.


The Office of the Provost officially interprets this policy. The President may revise or eliminate any or all parts as necessary to meet the changing needs of Virginia Commonwealth University and the Commonwealth of Virginia. The Office of the Vice Provost for Academic and Faculty Affairs is responsible for obtaining approval for any revisions as required by the policy Creating and Maintaining Policies and Procedures through the appropriate governance structures. Please direct policy questions to Office of the Vice Provost for Academic and Faculty Affairs.


Procedures are mandatory actions to establish required actions and processes to comply with a policy, support compliance with applicable laws and regulations, and mitigate risk. The deans and vice provosts responsible for instructional units will ensure that faculty and departments comply with the textbook adoption policy and procedures.


To ensure textbook adoptions are made with sufficient lead time to confirm availability and, where possible, ensure maximum availability of used textbooks, the faculty, departments or schools shall submit textbook and course material adoption information to the respective Barnes & Noble @VCU on the following schedule:

  • Fall semester adoptions by April 1
  • Spring semester adoptions by October 15
  • Summer session adoptions by March 1
  • As soon as practical upon the late appointment of the course instructor

Cost Accessibility

  • Faculty members are encouraged to provide required textbooks and other educational materials, if applicable, through library checkout or similar arrangements and allow for resale and reuse of textbooks and manuals.
  • Where appropriate, the VCU Libraries encourage faculty to contribute one complimentary copy of a textbook from textbook publishers to the library reserves desk so that all students in the class may benefit from access to these resources.
  • The VCU Libraries also encourages faculty to consider electronic books, book chapters, electronic journal articles, and other digital materials provided through the Web by the VCU Libraries for supplemental and core reading in support of classroom work.
  • VCU strives to limit their use of new edition textbooks when previous editions do not significantly differ in a substantive way as determined by the appropriate faculty and Barnes&Noble@VCU can ensure an adequate supply of the older edition books are available.
  • Increasing the availability of used textbooks, at discounts of 25% or more, significantly reduces the cost of textbooks. National demand for used textbooks far exceeds supply so early acquisition is essential. Having the textbook adoption information early also enables the bookstores to pay students the most for their used books and to acquire more books on campus. Consequently, faculty, departments and/or schools shall provide adoption information in a timely manner to facilitate the early acquisition of used textbooks.

Textbooks and Course Materials Adoptions

The University bookstores provides textbook and course materials adoption process. There are four options to request textbooks: paper forms, phone, email requests, or online. The Barnes & Noble @ VCU textbook managers notify deans, department chairs and faculty about the textbook adoption process approximately two to four months before the beginning of the semester.

  1. Paper textbook adoption forms:
    • Each term the bookstores will deliver textbook request forms that can be used to submit adoption information for the coming term. Once complete, return the forms by campus mail, fax or in person to the bookstore. Arrangements can be made to have the forms picked-up. Forms are also available from the Textbook Manager at each campus bookstore. The Monroe Park Campus Textbook Manager can be reached at 828-1678 and the Medical Campus Textbook Manager can be reached at 828-0336.
  2. Phone textbook adoption requests:
    • Call the Textbook Manager of the applicable campus bookstore with the textbook title, author, edition, ISBN and the estimated class enrollment. The phone number for the Monroe Park Campus Textbook Manager is 828-1678 and the phone number for the Medical Campus Textbook Manager is 828-0336.
  3. Email textbook adoption requests:
    • Email the Textbook Manager of the applicable campus bookstore with the textbook title, author, edition, ISBN and the estimated class enrollment. The email address for Monroe Park Campus Textbook Manager is and the email address for the Medical Campus Textbook Manager is
  4. Electronic Web-based textbook adoption:
    • Instructions for the Web-based textbook adoption process can be found at
    • Alternatively, from the VCU homepage, select “for Faculty and Staff”, and the applicable bookstore under “Campus bookstores” then the “Faculty” tab at the top of the page, then login or register if necessary.
    • Follow steps 1 through 5 and you are done.
    • After you complete this process, you will receive an email confirmation that your textbook request was received.
    • If you have questions or need assistance with the textbook request process, contact the bookstore anytime.

Textbooks and Course Materials Listings

  • Barnes & Noble @ VCU shall post the listings of textbooks required or assigned for particular courses in a central location on their Website within fifteen days of the original due date.
  • Adoptions received after the original due date will be posted within one week of receipt.
  • The listings shall be in a standard format and include the International Standard Book Number (ISBN), when applicable, along with other relevant information received from the faculty.

Faculty Responsibilities

  1. In the textbook adoption process, faculty members shall affirmatively confirm the use of all items ordered in the textbook bundle package. By placing an adoption for a bundled package, the faculty member affirmatively confirms his/her intent to use each item in the bundled package. If the faculty member does not intend to use all items in the bundle he/she shall notify the bookstore of the items required, and the bookstore shall order the individualized items when the store’s procurement is cost effective for both the institution and students and such items are made available by the publisher.
  2. Faculty members shall affirmatively acknowledge the quoted current retail price of the selected textbook through the textbook adoption process. By placing a textbook and course materials adoption, the faculty member affirmatively acknowledges that he/she is aware of the current quoted retail price of the textbook selected for each course. Faculty members shall be encouraged to confirm the quoted current retail price with the publisher or through a Web search prior to adopting the textbook.

Training Support

In order to support the faculty, Barnes & Noble @ VCU shall:

  1. Provide training support to the faculty about the textbook adoption process. Questions may be directed to the Textbook Manager at each campus bookstore.
  2. Make every effort to provide the maximum number of used books available.
  3. Work with faculty to discount any old editions non-returnable to the publisher.
  4. Work with faculty to discount remainder textbooks (a book that remains in the store’s inventory after sales have fallen off for a course) when practical.
  5. Make every effort to make current textbook retail prices available as part of the Web-based adoption process.


  1. Textbook Adoption Form
    1. For paper version, contact the VCU Barnes & Noble campus bookstore
    2. For an online submission, see the VCU Barnes & Noble campus bookstore website

Related Documents

  1. Textbook Sales Policy

Revision History

This policy supersedes the following archived policies:

  • Approval Date: February 2007, Textbook Adoptions Guidelines and Procedures
  • Revision Date: January, 2009, Textbook Adoptions Guidelines and Procedures
  • Revision Date: December 5, 2013, Textbook Adoptions Policy


There are no FAQs associated with this policy and procedures.