Frequently Asked Questions:

Do you have questions about shopping with Retail Services? We have answers. Read our Frequently Asked Questions section to get the low down on payment options, book ordering and gift cards. If you did not find your answer please contact us.

How can I pay at Retail Services stores and Watcard Office?

Choice. You have lots of it when paying at Retail Services. Think:

  1. Cash
  2. Debit
  3. Visa
  4. MasterCard
  5. American Express
  6. Watcard
  7. Gift Card

Can I use my parents’ credit card?

To minimize potential fraud, banks require that both the card and the owner must be present in the store when making a purchase.

We’re concerned about keeping your money safe too. That’s why Retail Services strongly urges parents to order a duplicate card from their bank in their son’s or daughter's name. This duplicate credit card can be set up with a smaller spending limit than the original card limit too.

Can I order my textbooks online?

Absolutely! We offer a variety of shipping options (see table below) to deliver your order in the most cost effective and efficient way possible.

The Book Store now offers a free shipping option to help you avoid the line during the first week of classes. Place an order for your textbooks online and select “Pickup in Media.doc DP” as your shipping method when you checkout. You will be contacted to pick up your books within 1-3 business days. No need to wait in line!

Where can I purchase a Gift Card for Retail Services stores?

Retail Services Gift Cards are now available! Purchase them at the Book Store, Waterloo Store, Campus Tech, or Write Stuff.

Add any amount you want to the Gift Card to be redeemed at any Retail Services store. And the best news? There is no expiry date.

Where is the Book Store located?

The Book Store is located in South Campus Hall, at the main entrance to the uWaterloo Campus off University Avenue. You can also locate us on the campus map.

How do I contact staff at the Book Store?

Phone: (519) 888-4673

Textbook Inquiries:

General Inquiries:

To contact a specific staff member, you can find a list of Book Store staff members with their phone extensions and email addresses on the Contact Us page.

How do I find out what books I need for my courses?

You can use My BookLook to search our database online, or to build your own customized book list. Search for all of your books by term by logging in to My BookLook with your WatIAM user ID and password.

Are there any rules for returning textbooks?

The store has explicit policies governing textbook returns. Please read our refund policy carefully, and be sure to note the distinction between textbooks and courseware.

How do I find my books in the store?

Textbook shelves in the Book Store are arranged by discipline (e.g. Kinesiology, History, Systems Design, Math), and books within each section are arranged by course and course number. For your convenience, store maps are posted throughout the store.

What if the store runs out of the books that I need?

Sometimes, books arrive later than expected from our suppliers, and occasionally, we have insufficient stock of some textbooks and/or courseware to meet the demand. In such cases, we work closely with publishers and Courseware Solutions to get additional stock as quickly as possible.

If the book you are looking for is not on the shelf, ask at the Information Desk. We can give you an update on the order status of the book and notify you when it arrives.

Can I order a book that isn't in stock?

Of course! The Book Store will gladly place a special order for you, at no extra charge, if you need a book that is currently not on our shelves.

When will the book I ordered arrive?

That depends. Factors that affect delivery time include book company, location, the publisher’s stock and even time of year. Typically, major Canadian publishers and distributors can get a title to us in about two weeks during non-peak times, while major U.S. publishers can take up to four weeks at non-peak times. Service from smaller publishers is harder to predict.

If a publisher has run out of stock, the delay will be longer. In cases like this, we'll try to let you know as soon as we can if there is a supply problem.

Can I return items by mail?

Yes you can. Here is how:

Textbooks returned to us by mail must be postage-paid and postmarked no later than the returns deadline date (see above). We will only process returns on books we receive; therefore we highly recommend using Xpresspost or CanPar to ensure safe and accurate delivery.

The original cash register receipt must accompany all returns. You may expect a full refund in the same form of payment originally used for purchase within seven to 14 business days after we receive your return.

Shipping charges are non-refundable.

How quickly will you fulfill my order?

We fill orders from in-stock items first. If the item is in stock, your order will be processed and shipped within one to two business days. When an item is out of stock, we will fulfill your order as soon as it arrives in our store.

If you place a Special Order with us, we will fill your order as quickly as possible.

Your card will be charged at the time your order is shipped.

What happens if an item is not available?

If an item is not in stock, availability will depend on a number of variables, such as supplier inventory levels, delivery time to the Book Store, customs clearance and others.  We will process your order as quickly as possible.

How much will it cost to ship my items?

Shipping Location Price Per Shipment Estimated Delivery Time
Zone 1: ON, QC $7.00 for the first item +$0.50 per additional item, to a Maximum charge of $10.00. 1-3 Business days
Zone 2: MB, SK, NB, NS, PE $14 for the first item + $1 per additional item, to a maximum charge of $17.00. 3-5 Business Days
Zone 3: NL, AB, BC, YT, NT, NV $17.50 for the first item + $1 per additional item, to a maximum charge of $20.50. 4-6 Business Days
USA $17.50 - US Ground
$30.00 - US Air
5-7 Business Days
2-4 Business Days
International $27.50 Flat Rate Varies depending on country of destination
Pickup at Media.doc DP Free! 1-3 Business days for instock items

Shipping rates may vary depending on weight, product or destination. If the shipping rate varies from the standard rate, we will contact you and confirm actual rates before billing and shipping.

All rates are in Canadian dollars.

In Canada

We ship our packages by Xpresspost courier with a signature required to ensure safe and accurate delivery.  Xpresspost is not able to leave packages in mailboxes. In the event that a package is delivered and there is no one available to sign for it, it will be forwarded to your nearest post office for pick-up.


All shipments to destinations outside of Canada require a street address (no PO boxes) and your local contact telephone number. Delivery times can vary greatly depending on the desination country's regulations and custom clearence proceedures. There must be someone to sign for the package when it’s delivered. Any applicable duties and taxes are the responsibility of the receiver.  Please contact if you have any questions.