Faculty Textbook Adoption FAQ


Course Material/Textbook Adoption for
J-term 22/Spring 22

From Kris Plaehn, Executive Director, Center for Student Success and Director for Retention

Begins Friday, Oct 15, 2021 – Deadline is Sunday, November 7, 2021  

Textbooks are now part of the Center for Student Success portfolio and we want to work closely with departments, divisions and schools to ensure that students get the information needed to select their courses and have the materials by the start of term (and know how much they will cost them). The federal law that governs student costs requires that students know their textbook costs prior to registering for courses. Multiple PLU students and families were very stressed this summer because materials were not listed so they could not plan (to order or pay for those items). We received textbook information two weeks into the fall term - a guarantee that students didn't have the materials readily at hand!  

Think of the time between October 15 through November 7 as open enrollment - the easiest, fastest way to avoid hassle is to get your materials submitted during that time frame. J-term and Spring registration begins on Monday, November 8. Reminders will be sent constantly until Course Materials have been adopted. If you DO NOT require texts or if you have other course materials that students must purchase PLEASE SUBMIT THAT INFORMATION. The specific VERBA link to your courses will be emailed to you. Many thanks for helping our students be successful in courses by having the materials!



    The textbook provision within the 2008 reauthorization of the Higher Education Opportunities Act (HEOA) is designed to ensure students have access to affordable course materials. The PLU Bookstore is required to ensure compliance with HEOA on behalf of the university. This federal mandate requires information regarding course textbooks and materials be available to students prior to beginning registration for those specific classes. Knowledge of course material requirements helps students proactively consider what resources are necessary to manage the cost of their attendance at Pacific Lutheran University and make informed choices about their purchases by researching them on the open market.

    By participating in the textbook adoption process, adopting materials on time through Verba Collect and complying with federally mandatory adoption deadlines, faculty play a critical role in facilitating a central location where students can search for required materials.

    With few exceptions, textbooks are no longer sold in the PLU Bookstore. We now partner with MBS Direct; allowing simple online ordering and accurate, cost free, on-time, shipping for PLU students. Click here to learn more about the advantages of MBS Direct.


    If an adoption is submitted after buyback week, it will have a direct impact on the buyback dollar value PLU students receive. It will also limit the amount of used titles available next semester, increasing the cost to students.

    Textbook buyback is the process by which students sell back to the MBS Direct online bookstore the materials they purchased for their courses. Materials bought back include traditional textbooks, trade books and unused workbooks. MBS Direct offers a generous buyback incentive when students buy directly from them.

    The buyback prices offered for books varies by market demand. The highest prices (up to 50% of the current retail price) are paid for titles being used on campus the following semester. Books not being used on campus, but with a value nationally, are bought back at the wholesale price. Some books have little or no market value and are not bought back. These include titles with insufficient national demand, books in poor condition and books that are now, or soon to be, out of print.


    Why must the adoption cycle be complete by registration?

    Knowledge of course material requirements helps students proactively balance course load based on reading demands and the cost of course materials. Timely posting of textbook adoptions is required by the HEOA and has the strong support of the student body. PLU students continue to endorse the availability of textbook information online and have indicated it aids in course selection and managing the costs of their education at PLU.

    Why do I need to submit my book adoption to the PLU Bookstore?

    The PLU Bookstore has partnered with MBS Direct to ensure PLU is in compliance with the HEOA. This mandate requires course material information (including that no text is required) be available to students at the time of registration. PLU’s textbook team collects, reviews and submits course information and makes it available to students on the MBS Direct website.

    What is the difference between Verba Collect and MBS Direct?

    Verba Collect is the online tool that faculty use to adopt course materials and MBS Direct is the vendor we use to provide course materials to students. Why two vendors? Because of the complexity of the MBS online adoption system we’ve partnered with Verba Collect to be our adoption system.This decision is not without costs: The yearly license fee for Verba is more than $3600. Adoptions must be extracted from Verba and manually entered into the MBS adoption tool. But it does add convenience and ease of adoption for PLU faculty.

    Processing adoptions manually is time consuming and requires additional attention from the PLU Bookstore team. On time adoption allows us to plan for the cyclical nature of the adoption process and schedule our staff accordingly.

    Why should I send you my adoptions if I don’t think my students will buy their books from MBS Direct?

    • THe HEOA mandates requires all course materials (with ISBN numbers) be available to students prior to registration for the term.
    • Students prefer early access to information about required materials.
    • Students prefer a one stop shop to easily gather titles and ISBN numbers.
    • Students have the option of purchasing through MBS Direct and it is the only way to ensure access to buyback dollars for eligible titles.
    • ONLY MBS Direct and the PLU Bookstore can accept Department of Veteran Affairs and Department of Vocational Rehabilitation scholarship and financial aid payments.

    What information do I have to submit for my class?

    Faculty should submit all required materials–textbooks, course packets, access codes, clickers, school supply items, etc. If an item (clickers, lab coats, art kits, etc.) is available at the PLU Bookstore, it will be listed in the textbook list for students to see. Imported titles will take 8-10 weeks to arrive–these need to be adopted as early as possible.

    I received a notice saying my book was not available, but I can find it on other websites. Why can’t MBS Direct get this for my students?

    MBS Direct sources books from student buybacks, wholesalers, publishers and other distributors. Sometimes books are still for sale from individual re-sellers on sites like Amazon.com. This availability is limited and books have unpredictable condition and pricing.

    The PLU Bookstore staff and MBS Direct work together to secure enough quality, affordable materials for students as well as guaranteeing students receive the exact title and edition you require.

    What if I do not have any required materials for my course?

    Please log into the Verba Collect system and flag “No Books Required.” The message to students will change from “No Information Available” to “Your professor has indicated no books are required.” Knowing no book is required for your course will be important to students budgeting semester finances and assure them they haven’t missed purchasing a book they will eventually need.

    Why am I receiving emails from Verba Collect requiring me to adopt a textbook?

    The university sends a data feed to the Verba Collect adoption system. If you have been added as a professor to a course at PLU, you will automatically receive a welcome email asking for your book adoption.

    Most questions about submitting your adoptions via Verba Collect can be answered HERE.

    Do I need to request a clicker for my course?

    Yes, clickers are ordered based on class enrollment. Also, VA and DVR scholarship students cannot purchase them with a scholarship funds unless they are requested. Please be aware, a last minute adoption will usually cause us to sell out, adding stress to your students.

    What if I need to make changes to the adoptions that I already submitted?

    Attention to accuracy when submitting adoptions is crucial. Changes to adoptions made after they have been approved may result in the cost of non-returnable materials being charged to your department. Additionally, if course materials are removed after students have purchased them, MBS Direct will recall and arrange for the return of the items at no cost to the students. Your department has agreed to pay for costs incurred by MBS Direct. Your department will also be responsible for working with students who purchased from other vendors to return the items at no cost to the students.

    Can I request non-textbook materials for my course?

    Absolutely! use the “Add Materials” tab in Verba Collect.

    How can I obtain a desk copy of my book?

    Desk copies are available directly through the publishers. Please direct your requests for these materials to the publishers and not the Lute Locker. MBS Direct created this guide to assist faculty in requesting instructor editions from publishers.

    I cannot meet the textbook adoption deadline. What should I do?

    We realize not all faculty can meet the adoption deadlines and new classes, sections and instructor changes sometimes come after adoption deadlines. These requests should be made as soon as information is available. 

    As the official bookstore for Pacific Lutheran University, we are committed to supporting PLU’s mission to educate students for lives of thoughtful inquiry, service, leadership and care–for other people, for their communities, and for the earth.

    Please contact Vanessa Bannon, at bannonvs@plu.edu or 253-535-7205 with questions or to set up a meeting with you and/or your department.