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Textbook Sales Policy

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

Policy Statement and Purpose

In accordance with the Code of Virginia § 23-4.3:1; it is the policy of Virginia Commonwealth University to encourage efforts to minimize the cost of textbooks for students while maintaining the quality of education and academic freedom.

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 MCV 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.


Pursuant to Chapter 561, 2006 Acts of Assembly, an act to amend and reenact § 23-4.3:1 of the Code of Virginia, no employee at Virginia Commonwealth University shall demand or receive any payment, loan, subscription, advance, deposit of money, services or anything, present or promised, as an inducement for requiring students to purchase a specific textbook required for coursework or instruction; with the exception that the employee may receive (i) sample copies, instructor's copies, or instructional material, not to be sold; and (ii) royalties or other compensation from sales of textbooks that include such instructor's own writing or work.

  1. Responsibilities of the Faculty and the University Bookstores
    1. Faculty, departments and/or schools must provide required or assigned textbook information for each particular course to the respective University Bookstore in a timely manner.
    2. Centralized listings of textbooks required or assigned for particular courses shall be available from the University Bookstores’ websites after the relevant instructor or academic department notifies the University Bookstores. The University Bookstores shall post the relevant information received from the faculty in a timely manner. The listings shall be in a standard format and include the International Standard Book Number (ISBN), when applicable, along with other relevant information.
    3. The University Bookstores shall provide a convenient textbook and course materials adoption process, including a web-based method, to expedite the textbook order process.
    4. Faculty members shall affirmatively acknowledge the quoted retail price of the selected textbook through the textbook adoption process provided by the University Bookstores. Faculty members shall affirmatively confirm their intent to use each item in a bundled package when placing an adoption for such a package. If the faculty member does notintend 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. Actions to Minimize the Cost of Textbooks and Course Materials for Students
    1. Textbooks and related class supplies shall be part of the financial aid Cost of Attendance budget used to award students’ financial aid. For their courses, faculty are encouraged to utilize the VCU Libraries’ collection and electronic books, journals, image databases, audio and video materials, and other materials provided through the web by the VCU Libraries for supplemental and core reading in support of classroom work.
    2. Faculty members are encouraged 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 the University Bookstores can ensure adequate supply of the older edition.
    3. The university shall encourage faculty to provide sample copies, instructor's copies, and/or complementary instructional materials for student use through the respective departments and/or the VCU Libraries.

No funds provided for financial aid from University Bookstore revenue shall be counted in the calculation for state appropriations for student financial aid.


  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 Adoptions Guidelines and Procedures
  2. Faculty Handbook (
  3. Provision § 23-4.3.:1 of the Code of Virginia
  4. Virginia Freedom of Information Act
  5. University Code of Conduct for Business Practices
  6. Bookstore Management Agreement

Revision History

This policy supersedes the following archived policies:

  • Initial Approval Date: February, 2007 Textbook Sales Policy
  • Revision: December 5, 2013, Text Book Sales Policy


There are no FAQs associated with this policy or its procedures.