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Frequently Asked Questions

Custom Publishing & Coursepacks

What is Custom Publishing?

Custom Publishing was designed to create customized curriculum for CWU instructors and students. Although we have expanded our services, our primary function is the creation of Coursepacks. This service takes the challenge out of obtaining copyright permissions for instructors, while offering the students the convenience of obtaining all their course materials at one location at the most affordable price. Instructors may include materials in their Coursepack from self-generated items, textbooks, regular books, newspapers, magazines, the internet, etc. Simply submit the materials (in the order you would like them to appear) with a typed bibliography, and bring them to the Custom Publishing Department located in the Wildcat Shop.

How does Custom Publishing help students?

Custom Publishing saves students money by combining various curriculum materials the professor put together into one package, eliminating excess items. A Custom Publishing Coursepack offers students organized materials, bound together, instead of random handouts and loose papers that are easily misplaced. The students pick up their coursepacks, textbooks, and supplies in one convenient location and charge them to their student accounts.

How does Custom Publishing help academic departments?

Many academic departments on campus have reduced operating costs by encouraging instructors to use our services for handouts and other class materials. We make Coursepacks as small as 6 pages and up to 800+ pages. One department tracked copies made by instructors and logged over 12,000 copies for one instructor during one term. An English Department instructor who has been using our Custom Publishing services for ten years to produce and sell her handouts remarked that students have a tendency to lose handouts, so she often had to give out more than one copy to each student. When students pay even a nominal fee for handouts, they tend not to lose them. It is much easier to keep track of a "book" than loose papers.

How do I order a Coursepack?

To order a coursepack, fill out the online order form and someone from the Custom Publishing department will contact you shortly.

How early do I need to order my Coursepack?

You should treat a Coursepack the same as a textbook and order it as early as possible, especially if your packet contains copyrighted material. If you are unable to bring in the originals right away, bring in, use interoffice mail, or email your bibliography to us so we can start the permissions process. We can usually complete your coursepack by the first day of classes if you submit all your materials at least four weeks before you need the students to have access to them. If students need to order the coursepack online for an off-campus class, it is a good idea to allow more time.

Can you check spelling, grammer and format for me?

Unfortunately, no. The sheer volume of materials that we process in a few short weeks prohibits copy-editing. It is a good idea to double-check your materials before you bring them in to confirm they are in the right order or are clearly labeled in the order you want them to appear. Check your spelling, and check photocopies for complete sets of pages. It isn’t unusual for us to receive incomplete articles from instructors who then leave town. Since many instructors use partial chapters and articles, we cannot assume the pages are missing. We do our best to ensure all materials are present before printing, but if materials or pages are left out and the instructor is unreachable, we may have to print what we have in order to meet deadlines.

What if my packet contains copyrighted material?

We need a complete bibliography (in order of appearance) for all packets that use copyrighted material. If you did NOT PRODUCE the material(s) personally, then more than likely we need to obtain some kind of permission(s). This includes graphs, tables, artwork, cartoons, logos, and any articles that have been copyrighted. The law does not require a "copyright notice" for legal protection—everything is protected by copyright including your personal letters, emails, and message board essays. Bibliographies must include author, copyright year, title of the article or chapter, title of the publication or book, ORIGINAL PAGE NUMBERS (not the page numbers of anthology), Publisher. Please see the sample bibliography.

If you are using material from an anthology, you will need to find the acknowledgments page(s) and possibly find the original page numbers in our library or Readers Periodical Index (which lists all articles including page numbers).

If you have obtained permission from the author, we need a copy of the written permission. It can be in the form of a letter, memo, or email from the author/copyright holder.

If you are using a student’s paper, please obtain written permission to include it in your coursepack. A very simple "I hereby give my permission for (name) ____________ to use my paper entitled _______________ in the coursepack for _____________." It is a good idea to get the signature dated. Also include whether the permission is for one term only, or perpetuity.

Will I receive a "Desk copy", and if so, do I have to pay for it?

You will receive one complimentary Desk Copy per section being taught. The cost of your complimentary copy is NOT added to the cost of the student coursepacks. Please inform us if you would like to "proof" your copy before we go to print. In most cases we proof the materials for printing set-up errors only. If you need more desk copies, it depends on how many students are enrolled for your class. Generally, we provide one complimentary copy if you have up to 30 students enrolled and can provide an additional complimentary copy for every 20 students enrolled over 30. If you have 50 students enrolled, you are eligible to receive 2 complimentary copies, if you have 70, three complimentary copies--and so on. If you still need more Desk Copies, we can either spread the cost of the extra copies over the student prices, or we can do a department charge for the number you need.

Do you need photocopies of the articles, or can I bring in the original sources to have you make the copies?

We often find that our ability to professionally scan materials from originals creates a better, cleaner copy than most office copiers, and this can be helpful in terms of readability. We have some instructors who bring in photocopies of everything, and some who bring just the books, and some who bring in both. Whether you bring in copies or the publications themselves, we will "clean" them up as much as we can so that your students get the best quality materials we can provide.

Whether you bring in books or photocopies, please remember to bring in your typed bibliography that includes page numbers from the ORIGINAL source. If you are using material from an anthology, you will need to find the acknowledgments page(s) and possibly find the original page numbers in our library or Readers Periodical Index (which lists all articles including page numbers).



What are the Textbooks Adoption due dates?

  • Fall Quarter - September 1st
  • Winter Quarter - October 15th
  • Spring Quarter - January 15th
  • Summer Quarter - April 1st

What services are offered?

Provide publisher addresses and phone numbers.
Provide names, addresses and phone numbers of publisher representatives.
Provide specific title information, i.e., edition, publisher, availability, price, ISBN.
Provide rush reorder service for out of stock textbook titles.
Monitor registration figures to pinpoint potential shortages of textbooks. If registration figures exceed actual stock on hand, a rush reorder is often placed to fill the extra demand. This is subjective as reorders are based on the judgment of our Textbook Manager. Faculty members are encouraged to call the Textbook Manager when their enrollments exceed original projections.
Provide loan copies (if available) of textbooks to faculty who urgently need them.
Provide buyback service at the end of each academic quarter for textbooks that are readopted for the following quarter.
Provide our store web page as a link for your academic needs.

Textbooks Request

For submitting your textbook requests:

  • All faculty should receive an email from the Wildcat Shop with a personalized link at the beginning of the adoption period, which will log you in automatically to our textbook partner, Verba, where you can complete your adoptions. You can visit this link directly at, but will need to know your Verba credentials in order to login. (Note: MyCWU credentials will not work for this website)
  • Course adoptions received via email are accepted if faculty are unable to complete the process through Verba Collect.  
  • We do not accept adoptions over the phone.

Why are Textbook Orders Needed Months in Advance?

Our goal is to make sure that textbooks are on the shelves on time and in the right quantities. To achieve this goal we undertake a time-consuming research and procurement process. The earlier we have complete information in hand, the better our chances are for success.

When you request a book for your course, store personnel research its availability, what edition is the most current, and go to several sources of supply to find copies of the title. As textbook prices continue to rise, we aggressively pursue used books as a service for budget conscious students. Used books retail at 25% less than new books. The bookstore cycles your textbook adoptions through used book distributors before going directly to the publisher. We also purchase sizable quantities of used books from students during our end of the quarter buyback. The above process requires a great deal of advanced preparation by the bookstore.

Early orders also help the bookstore control and forgo the unnecessary return of overstocked textbooks from one quarter to the next. Our returns cycle begins about 6 weeks into each quarter. We often loose the opportunity to hold on to books, incurring the cost of returning them if a textbook order arrives after the 6th week of a quarter.

Another important reason to receive your textbook information early is lead-time with publishers. Since publishers do not keep large inventories, titles can be out of stock. An adequate lead-time increases the chances that out of stock titles, delivery problems and other delays will not prevent us from having your books on the shelves when classes begin. Advance notice is especially important for foreign books, which frequently take longer to arrive.

How to speed up the process?

We are happy to accept you book requests piecemeal. If you are not sure of all the books you will need for a course, please submit the titles that you are certain of. Just note on your request form that more titles will be requested later. It is very important, however, that you do not include titles that you may not end up using for a course.

How Do We Determine the Quantity of Textbooks to Order?

We realize that pre-registration combined with late registration make it difficult to predict class size from quarter to quarter and year to year. Your input is valuable to us in this regard. We are committed to soliciting your input before we cut (or add) to your expected enrollment projections. Every textbook request is scrutinized and compared with historical sales and enrollment data. If we determine that your quantities vary from this data, our textbook manager will contact you before adjustments are made.

When determining order quantities, we also factor in our off campus competition. Because copies of every textbook request are forwarded to our competition, we cut our order quantities by an appropriate percentage. This percentage is based on many years of experience and, for the most part, consistently meets actual demand.

If you are uncertain of expected enrollment, we will gladly assist you in determining the quantity of books to order. Our textbook manager has over 25 years of textbook ordering experience that he can share with you. Our goal is to fulfill the needs of every student who wishes to buy a textbook. At the same time, we strive to reduce the number of excess books sent back to publishers. Publishers assert that there is a direct relationship between the high costs of handling book returns and high priced textbooks. By trying to have at least enough books for everyone who wants one, without tremendous excess, we hope to help publishers curb the steep rise in textbook prices.

How do I request a Desk Copy?

Desk copies are typically available directly from publishers. Individual faculty members or department secretaries solely handle requests. However, we will gladly assist you with publisher information -- addresses, phone numbers, and sales representatives that service CWU. Faculty may also obtain digital desk or exam copies from our eBook partner VitalSource. To do so, simply create a Vitalsource account and visit

In those instances when publishers will not provide desk copies, or if your desk copy has not arrived by the time you need it, we will loan you a copy (if available) of the book. When we supply the book, a charge will be posted to your personal bookstore charge account. Loan copies must be returned within 30 days. When you return the book we will credit your account.

What If I need Technical Supplies for my Course?

Our supplies department will stock any technical material you may need for your course, whether it is drawing paper, safety goggles, art supplies, or packaged kits. Contact Mary Rill for more information. 

How are textbook prices determined?

As a retailer of college textbooks, our cost determines our prices. To achieve our margin, new books are marked-up by 25%. Used book prices are determined by deducting an additional 25% from the new book price. Since we discount all new and used textbook prices by 5%, our shelf prices reflect additional savings.

Each dollar spent on a new college textbook is distributed in several ways. First, the publisher takes an average of 67% of every new textbook dollar spent. The author gets approximately 11%, and freight companies 2.5%. An average of 9% supports academic programs and student activities. Salaries and benefits for your bookstore's employees take the remaining 10.5%.

Textbook price increases are driven by the publishing industry. As mentioned earlier, our prices are determined by the costs charged to us by the publisher. Our goal is to provide your students with the textbooks that you choose at the lowest price possible. To achieve this goal, we aggressively pursue used books and digital formats. If you have further questions about textbook prices, please feel free to call or email us.

Why don't you have enough books for my class?

Textbook ordering is based on expected enrollment vs actual enrollment months before an academic quarter begins.  Late registration during the week prior to a quarter and into the first week of a quarter often expands enrollments beyond original expectations. Consequently, shortfalls in textbook inventory arise, primarily due to over enrollment situations. 

What happens when you run out of my books?

We are well aware of and expect out of stocks to occur; therefore, we meet the challenge by monitoring enrollment levels during the first week of a quarter to identify shortages and initiate reorders where appropriate. 

Reorders are rush shipped and usually arrive within 3-4 days. When reorders arrive, we contact the students vis their CWU email accounts. 

What should I tell my students if you run out of my book?

Tell your students to email our Course Materials Department personnel at [email protected] or call us. If we have not reordered their book, they can prepay for a copy by filling out a special order form. These special orders are rush shipped (at the bookstore's expense) and usually arrive within 4-5 days.

When you reorder a textbook, what is the turn-around time?

All reorders are rush shipped and usually arrive within 4-5 days.

My students are telling me you don't have a book for my class. Why?

The primary reason may be that we do not have a textbook adoption on file for your class. If this is the case and you do require a textbook, simply call our textbook department and we will gladly process your order on a rush basis.

What information do you need on my textbook request?

Your Name
Department/Course Number/Section Number
Author's Last and First Name (if more than one author, list the first)
Complete Title
ISBN (International Standard Book Number)
Whether the Book is Required or Recommended
Expected Enrollment

If you do not have all of this information, we will happily work with publishers and book companies to ensure we obtain it for our adoption records.

What is an ISBN? Why do you need it?

ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number. Each book published, anywhere in the world, is issued a 13-digit ISBN. The ISBN provides succinct title information, which helps the bookstore clarify which edition you want. For example, if a faculty member needs a specific edition/translation of the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Twain, the ISBN number clearly identifies the correct version. Without the ISBN and without mentioning the specific edition/translation, the bookstore could very easily order the incorrect version. Please note the following:

  • Hardcover and paperback editions of the same book have different ISBN's
  • Each edition of a specific book has a different ISBN
  • Bundled or Packaged textbooks carry unique ISBN's
  • Beware of instructor's copies, they may carry ISBN's that differ from the text edition
  • Publisher sales representatives have access to ISBN's
  • Our textbook department is equipped to help you with ISBN's

What is the latest possible date to order a textbook for my class?

If you are hard pressed and cannot place your order on time, we will do our best to find the textbook in digital format so students have the material earlier. If only physical copies are available, we can comfortably process your order and have it available within 3 weeks.

Who decides what edition to order?

You decide by including the edition on your adoption form. If you are interested in the latest edition, simply indicate as such in Verba Collect or your email. If we discover that a newer edition is available, superseding your request, we will contact you to see if you would like to roll into the new edition.

Will someone contact me if my books don't arrive in time for my class?

Yes. This often occurs due to publisher back orders or out of stock situations.

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