Course Materials FAQ
Is there information somewhere that tells students what books they need?
The Dal Bookstore website (bookstore.dal.ca) is a good place to start. Just click on Textbooks in the top-level menu and use the textbook search tool. Our website is constantly being updated as orders for textbooks and other course materials are received and processed, so it’s a good idea to check the website regularly. If you don’t find your course or a textbook for the course, you should contact your instructor or consult your course syllabus.
Is it the professor who communicates to students what books they need?
Yes, any textbooks or additional course material needed for a course – including where they can be obtained – are provided by your professor. This information is often shared through the course Brightspace page. You can also check the Dal Bookstore website.
Does the student have to find out from each professor, or do they get a list of textbooks they need from their faculty?
Any required textbooks or other course material are communicated by the faculty or found on the Brightspace page for the courses. You can also check the Dal Bookstore website.
How do I order textbooks and course material through the Dal Bookstore website?
On the Dal Bookstore’s website, click on the Textbooks tab. Textbooks are organized by the campus where your faculty is based, the academic term, and then the course the textbooks are for. Your search begins by selecting your campus where your program is based.
To refine your search, you will be served with a series of dropdown lists beginning with the term for the course you’re registered in. That will be followed with the option to select your program, such as Biology, Commerce, Law, Music, etc., and then – under that – your course.
Using the Textbooks Search tool, follow these steps:
1. Search by campus
- The first step is to select a campus for where the course originates. Currently the options are:
- “Health Sciences (At S.U.B.)” – This is where you’ll find all the textbooks for courses related to health sciences including Health Promotion, Kinesology, Nursing, Pharmacy and more. (Note: textbooks for courses taught through the Faculty of Dentistry are in digital format only and can be obtained directly through the faculty.)
- "Main (Student Union Building)” – Most of the textbooks needed for courses offered through the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS), the School of Business, Social Work and other schools and faculties based on the main Halifax campus are found here.
- “Engineering & Architecture (Sx” – Books and course materials available through the Dal Bookstore for courses offered through the faculties of engineering and architecture are found here. The “Sx” used here refers to Sexton, the campus where these faculties are based.
- “Agricultural Campus – Truro” – Hey, Aggies! This is where you can browse through all learning material available for courses taught through the Faculty of Agriculture in Truro.
2. Select the Term
- Once you’ve selected your campus or faculty, you will now be served with a list of available terms – Summer, Fall, Winter or Full Year. Select the term for the course that you’re registered for.
3. Select Programs and Courses
- Once you’ve selected the term, you’ll be served with an option to select your program. These programs are listed alphabetically. Each is preceded by a four-letter program code. Example: “BIOL” for Biology; “CHEM” for Chemistry; “SLWK” for Social Work, etc.
- Under the selected program, you will then be served with a list of the associated courses. Courses are listed by alpha-numerically. The course codes correspond to the academic timetable put out by the Registrar’s Office. ProTip! At this stage you can select multiple courses at the same time.
- Click one of the “Go” buttons to see the textbooks available with the course. Note: not every listed course has an associated textbook. If that’s the case, you’ll see the message, “No course materials are currently assigned to this course.”
- Pro Tip! Some courses have multiple sections. These are usually denoted by an additional number following the course code. If there’s a section number (e.g. CSCI1105 01 - INTRO TO COMPUTER PROGRAMMING), only purchase the course materials for the section you’re registered for.
4. Select from the available formats
- Some textbooks are available in multiple formats and prices, including new, digital, rental and even loose leaf – a printout of the entire textbook, pre-punched with holes to fit into a standard three-ring binder (not included). Not every textbook is available in all these formats – often it depends on the publisher – but as much as possible we try to give a variety of options and prices to choose from.
- The “Buy New” option refers to a hard copy of the textbook and is typically the highest priced option.
- The rental option, while not as common, is managed through a third-party provider and can be a very affordable means for obtaining textbooks. Learn more about our textbook rental service.
- Pro Tip! Clicking on any option more than once will add the same item to your cart. But don’t worry! You can change your order at any point before checking out.
5. Check your cart and create an account
- As you’re selecting your textbooks, you’ll see that a number appears next to My Cart icon at the top of the page. This refers to the number of items currently in your cart. Once you’ve selected all your textbooks check your order by clicking on the My Cart icon at the top of the page. You have the option at this point to change your order by clicking on the “X” next to each selected item, or going right to checkout to pay for your order.
- If you didn’t set up an account yet, you’ll be asked to do that in order to collect the necessary details to fulfill your order. If you’ve set-up an account already, you can login to it now – ideal if you’re planning to shop again for textbooks, Dal clothing or other merchandise. You also have the option to shop as a guest and simply provide your email address – perfect for making a quick purchase.
Can I return my course materials?
There are no returns on digital course materials. Due to COVID-19, we’ve had to revaluate our return policy for physical textbooks. An update on our modified return policy will be coming soon.
How much does it cost to have my print course materials delivered? How long does that take?
Shipping costs vary based on several factors, including the weight of textbooks ordered, where they are being shipped to – locally, nationally or internationally – and through what courier (Canada Post, Purolator, FedEx, etc.). You can save money by ordering digital versions of textbooks. The Dal Bookstore has made a commitment to offering digital versions of textbooks whenever possible. They can be purchased through the Dal Bookstore’s website, where available, using the standard Textbooks Search tool.
What textbooks formats are available?
Some textbooks are available in multiple formats:
- Loose leaf
Not every textbook is available in all these formats – often it depends on the publisher – but as much as possible we try to give a variety of options and prices to choose from.
The New or “Buy New” option refers to a hard copy of the textbook and is typically the highest priced option. Many students still prefer this as they can mark it up and even sell it back as part of our Book Buyback program.
Digital textbooks are growing in popularity among both faculty and their students, and in response we’re always looking to carry more of these wherever possible. They are typically less expensive than a new, hard copy textbook. However, you’re not able to purchase digital textbooks using your DalCard.
The rental option, while not as common, is managed through a third-party provider and can be a very affordable means for obtaining textbooks. Learn more about our textbook rental service.
Loose leaf is a printout of the entire textbook, pre-punched with holes to fit into a standard three-ring binder. Note, the binder is not included but we carry a good selection of them under Stationery.