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General Information for students

A page within Textbook Rental

Please refer to the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Textbook Services Policy for specific details regarding Textbook Rental Services.  The following items are only meant to highlight the commonly asked questions about the policy.

Who can use Textbook Rental Services?

All undergraduate students who pay the Textbook Rental fee may utilize the textbook rental program. The textbook rental fee is included in your student tuition bill and allows you to rent the majority of your textbooks.  Students may have to purchase items, such as lab manuals, workbooks or access codes and these items will be available for purchase in the University Bookstore.  If you are required to purchase any materials, it will be noted on your booklist.

What will I need to bring when I pick up my books?

Students will need to bring their student ID in order to check out any textbooks.  If you do not have a student ID, you must report to the Card Office, Room 1131 Student Union, to obtain an ID before you will be able to check out your books.  Bring your backpack too - you will need something to carry all your books!   

Who can checkout and return textbooks?

Rental textbooks are barcoded and checked out to a specific student; each student is responsible for all books checked out on their account.  Students must return the same books they checked out; be careful when working in study groups so that you don't accidentally swap books with someone else in your group! 


  • Students are responsible for picking up their own textbooks; friends and family cannot checkout your books for you.
  • We do check for damaged books, including: highlighting, page tears, binding problems, water damage, etc...  If you pick up a book that happens to be damaged, alert the staff immediately, so that we can make a note of it or exchange it for a different copy. 


  • The return of one student’s textbook(s) by another person is permitted, however, the student who originally checked out the materials is responsible for their return and for any fees or fines if they are lost, overdue, or damaged.
  • Books are checked at this time for damages.  Since all books are linked by their barcode to a specific student, any charges for damages will be billed to your student account. 
  • Students are responsible for returning their own textbooks to the proper shelf location.  Students whose books require re-shelving will be assessed a $2 processing fee per book on their student account.  The University Bookstore offers a service to shelve your books for a $2 per book fee that is payable upon check-in by stopping at their Customer Service counter.

Can I bring a family or friend in with me to help carry my books? 

Family and friends are not allowed in Textbook Rental Services during check in and check out. Please arrange ahead of time to meet your family/friends in the University Bookstore after you have checked your books out.

How do I get my booklist?

On-Site: Upon entering Textbook Rental, you can scan your ID card at one of the print stations to receive a copy of your booklist of required textbooks for the courses you are enrolled in.

E-mail: You can email your booklist to yourself on demand from UWL's mobile site.

  1. Visit 
  2. Select the "My Textbooks" icon from the list. 
  3. When prompted, enter your NetID username or email address.
  4. Open the email message to view your course materials list on your phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop, before you come to check out your course materials.
  5. When you arrive at Textbook Rental Services, use your phone or mobile device to view your course materials list, rather than printing out a paper copy on-site. 

Please note that if you have changed your course schedule since downloading your booklist from UWL mobile, you will need follow the steps above to retrieve the most current information.

How does Textbook Rental work?

Upon entering Textbook Rental, either scan your ID card at a print station to receive your booklist or if you utilized UWL mobile, open the email message with your booklist on your mobile device.

Textbook Rental is self-service so once you have your booklist, then proceed to gather your textbooks from the stacks based on the location number listed at the beginning of every book title on your booklist. Once you have all your books, you will proceed to a checkout station where you will present your ID card, have your books scanned, and be provided with a receipt.

The student booklist will also indicate if there are items that must be purchased from the University Bookstore such as lab manuals or workbooks. Textbooks in the bookstore are shelved by course and section and must be paid for by cash, check, credit card, debit card, or Campus Cash.  The University Bookstore offers a Rent-a-Text option which may provide you with the option to rent these items as a lower cost option when compare to purchasing.  Be sure to stop in the University Bookstore and for more details and to check out the great selection of snacks, health and beauty items, Hallmark cards, gifts and clothing!

How does the Rent-A-Text program available in the University Bookstore differ from Textbook Rental?

Textbook Rental Services provides the majority of the textbooks utilized by undergraduate students based on the segregated fee students pay each semester. Supplemental course materials that are not eligible based on policy guidelines may be purchased through the University Bookstore.

If you have items on your booklist for purchase at the University Bookstore.  Rent-A-Text may provide the option to rent this item at a lower cost when compared to purchasing. Please see a staff member in the University Bookstore for more information on the availability of specific titles and details regarding the Rent-A-Text program.

When can I check-out books or have them shipped for an online course?

The following textbook check-out dates have been established to provide students the opportunity to retrieve textbooks in a timely and convenient manner.

  • Fall and Spring Semester:  two weeks prior to the first day of classes
  • Winter Intersession (J-Term):  the start date of final exams for fall semester
  • Summer Session:  the start date of final exams for spring semester 

Can I ship my textbooks back if I am not on campus?

Yes, you can ship your textbooks back to Textbook Rental Services if you are not able to return them in person.  You MUST follow the UWL Textbook Rental Shipping Procedures and your shipping date MUST BE ON OR BEFORE THE DUE DATE to avoid paying any fines or penalties.

What happens if I drop a class?

If a class is dropped within the first 5 class days, a student is required to return their textbook within 24 hours. Textbooks not returned by the close of business the following business day may be fined a $20 per student processing fee, a $10.00 per book fine up to a maximum of $40.00, and 75% of the publisher’s list price. Remember, you can have someone other than yourself return your books for you! Textbook Rental has a limited inventory of some titles and a student adding the class you dropped will need your book right away. If textbooks are not received back, a replacement is ordered. This is the reason for the 24 hours return policy and associated fines.

If a class is dropped after the first 5 class days, students are encouraged to return their textbook within 24 hours but fines and fees will not be incurred until the close of business on the last day of finals.

When do my books have to be returned?

Textbooks are due back on the business day following the last day of finals, excluding weekends and holidays at the end of every semester.  Specific dates are posted at Textbook Rental Services, on the Book Return Due Dates web page, and communicated to students via e-mail.  You may return your books earlier if you no longer need them.  In fact, returning your books after each final could save you time when you are in a hurry to leave campus and get home!  Textbook Rental Services is open extended hours during final exam week to assist you in returning all your books.

How much are textbook fines if books are not returned?

Textbooks not returned by the due date are fined $10 per book up to four books or $40 maximum, plus a $20 processing fee.  The maximum fees and fines for missing the due date is $60.  For all textbooks not returned by the final return date (10 days after the original due date), your student account will be charged for the replacement cost (75% of the publisher's list price for a new copy) of the book(s) in addition to the fees and fines outlined above for missing the due date.  By this point in time, additional inventory will have been ordered in order to guarantee that every registered student has a book for their classes.  Be courteous to your fellow student and return your books on time!  Remember:  all textbook rental fines on your student account MUST BE PAID before you can register for a subsequent term.  Best practice to follow is to return all your books by the due date!

How are textbooks for on-line courses handled?

On-line classes follow the same guidelines as traditional classes, with the following additions: If textbooks need to be shipped, the student will pay for shipping.  Please refer to the UWL Textbook Rental Shipping Procedures for specific details for shipping textbooks. Textbooks that are returned by mail must be postmarked by the close of operations on the business day following the last day of finals, excluding weekends and holidays.  Thereafter, all fines and processing fees will apply.

What if I need to keep my books to finish a course?

If you need to keep a textbook to finish an incomplete, you MUST secure the instructor's written permission by e-mail and send it directly to the Textbook Rental Manager, in advance of the textbook due date. If this procedure is not followed, the appropriate fees, fines, and the replacement cost (75% of the publisher's list price for a new copy) for the textbook(s) will be charged to your student account per the Textbook Services Policy.

What if I want to purchase my textbook(s)?

You will not be able to purchase books from Textbook Rental.  However, the University Bookstore Manager will be happy to assist you in purchasing that same title from the Bookstore; new and used book options are available.

What is REASONABLE wear and tear for a textbook?*

Reasonable wear and tear is damage or depreciation that would result from ordinary use. Please do not check out a book that is not in good condition. If the only copy left on the shelf is not in good condition, please see a staff member for assistance.

  • Highlighting: Do not highlight in your rental textbooks!
  • CD's: Some books come with CD's. If a book you are checking out does not contain the appropriate CD, please see a staff member for assistance. They will record the missing CD in the computer system. You may not return books without a CD or with a damaged or broken CD, etc. if the book contained a CD when you checked it out.  Appropriate fines and fees will be applied.
  • Water Damage or damage from liquid: This is not reasonable wear and tear. You will not be able to return the book(s) and the appropriate fines and fees will be applied.
  • Chewed corners, ripped pages, broken bindings, missing covers, etc: This is not considered reasonable wear and tear. You will not be able to return the book(s) and the appropriate fines and fees will be applied.

    *No book with damage beyond reasonable wear and tear will be accepted as returns. Your student account will be charged accordingly for damaged books.

Need assistance with your textbooks?

Please call the Textbook Rental Manager anytime during regular business hours or email at