Online book store and book credits

As part of our Flying Start policy, Coventry University has entered into an agreement with the John Smith’s Group to help support students with the essential reading for their studies. Students entitled to ‘Flying Start’ may be issued with book credits to use on the John Smith's Group website for the purchase of books or eBooks. Credits are only valid for the duration of your current course stage and cannot be rolled over to the following year.

Coventry University’s relationship with the John Smith’s Group is to support and enable students to obtain academic books using credit provided by Coventry University and should not be taken as an endorsement of any particular books (or other products) that may be available for purchase, or of any offer made to students by the John Smith’s Group, through the John Smith's Group website. Students are of course free to purchase any reading materials (or other products) through the John Smith's Group website although they will not be able to use the credit provided by Coventry University for these transactions.

The John Smith’s Group will report to Coventry University on what books or eBooks have been purchased using credit supplied. The John Smith’s Group will not share data with Coventry University about your personal orders so you will need to liaise with John Smith’s about all queries relating to any orders made, whether or not payment is made by credit made available by Coventry University.

Who can use the Online Book Store?

Anyone enrolled at Coventry University can register to use the John Smith’s Online Book Store supplied for Coventry University. Book credits will only be issued to undergraduate degree students on courses which are entitled to book vouchers/credits, provided they meet the eligibility criteria for ‘Flying Start’.

Eligibility for Book Credits

Book credits are primarily issued to students on Stage 3 of their course, students who are repeating course stages (as they may be doing a mixture of modules on different levels of the course), or some students who are studying part-time (as their choice of modules may vary from year to year making it difficult to plan in advance for specific book bundles).

However, not all courses issue book credits, as in some cases students may be receiving other items tailored to the degree course they are studying. To find out more about the Flying Start for your course, see your Flying Start course list on your course page in Moodle.

Length of Book Credits

Book credits are issued for the duration of your current programme of study/course stage for the current year and must be spent by the programme end date for your current course stage. Credits cannot be carried forward to the next year.
If you are unsure of the programme end date of your course stage, please check on Solar, where the start and end dates of your programme of study are displayed. Book credit vouchers will expire on the programme end date for your current course stage. This does not normally include the resit period.

Students who withdraw from their studies, or are excluded, will have their access to use their credits suspended. Students who withdraw within the first 14 calendar days following the course stage commencing may be asked to return books or reimburse Coventry University for any items purchased during this period which cannot be returned.

Students who change course may have their credits amended to reflect the course they are now undertaking. Any credit used to buy books which cannot be returned will not be replaced if a student changes course.

Use of Book Credits

How do I receive my online book store credits?

If you are entitled to credits on the online book store, you will be automatically emailed with details of how to activate your account on the book store. You will also receive an email telling you how many Flying Start credits you have been issued with.

Please note these emails will be sent to your University email account.

If you think you are entitled, but have not received an email from John Smith’s to activate your account, you should first check any spam filters or junk mail folders. Please note that every effort has been made to whitelist the relevant emails to avoid these becoming spam. If items have been marked as junk mail, find the email, right click on it and select “This is not Junk” to ensure that email and all future emails from this site will go straight to your inbox.

If you are unclear whether you are entitled, contact for advice.

What information will I need to activate my online book store account?

You will need your student ID number, your email address, your name and the temporary password that John Smith’s will email to you.

What can I use my book credits for?

You will be given a specific reading list for your course and you are strongly advised to use your credit to buy books from this list. If you are a Part-Time student or are retaking a course stage you may want to check with your Course Director or contact to find out what other students on your course are being given to ensure you purchase the same materials as those studying the same course and module.

Final year students are usually undertaking a project or dissertation that needs specialised reading material. Students may also have need of specific study skills books or books to help them with problems such as stress or time management. To support this we will allow students to buy other academic books from selected categories on the John Smith’s site.

If you want to use your credit to buy a book that is not in one of the authorised categories you will need to contact and explain how it is relevant for your studies. We will then consider if we can allow you to purchase it.

What if I want to purchase a book or eBook and have insufficient credits?

If you have spent all your book credits, or most of your book credits, and have insufficient credits to purchase further books or eBooks, you will be able to pay the difference in cost between the credit balance remaining and that required to purchase the book you wish to order, or pay for the book yourself.

Will someone else be able to add credit to my online book store account?

At present, no. However, the John Smith’s Group is investigating ways in which parents, or others, may, in the future be able to purchase vouchers from the online book store which you can use. We will provide updates to you if/when this happens.

Is the online book store secure?

John Smiths’ payment system is via DataCash, who are PCI DSS compliant, so your debit or credit card transactions will be secure. They do not store your credit card details. For further information, see the terms and conditions for this site (when it becomes available).

We advise the following:
  • Choose a password that is different from your University network password, and is something which you will remember and which cannot be easily guessed. You should include upper and lower case and numbers. You are advised to change your password regularly.
  • Never share your username and password with anyone and ensure you log off completely from the web site and your University IT account to avoid others getting access to your details. The web site is set to time out after five minutes of inactivity.
  • Never use publicly accessible equipment, e.g. open access PCs, or publicly accessible and insecure Wi-Fi to access online sites, particularly if you are conducting credit or debit card transactions.
  • Ensure that any equipment you use for online transactions has the latest updates applied and has up to date virus, spyware and malware software to avoid risks.

Coventry University is not responsible for any transactions you undertake directly with John Smith’s online bookstore.

If you believe there has been a security breach, please notify immediately or telephone 023 8067 1069.

Ordering books or eBooks

How do I place an order for a book or eBook?

Once you have registered your account, you can place orders by searching for books or eBooks on the Coventry University reading lists and clicking BUY. Clicking MORE will provide you with details of stock availability. Even if a book is not currently in stock, after being notified, John Smith’s will endeavour to obtain stock as quickly as possible.

Once you have purchased the book or eBook, it will be added to your basket. Clicking on your basket will allow you to complete the transaction.

You will need to supply a delivery address for delivery of the book(s) and a contact telephone number. Please ensure that you enter details of your delivery address and phone number carefully to avoid any issues or delays. The site will send you an email to your Coventry University email address to confirm the order and will email you when the book has been dispatched.

There will also be a pop up help desk in the Library from 16 -27 September specifically for help accessing the online store.

Book availability and delivery times

When you click on a book you will see the availability. The table below shows how long books usually take to be delivered to you and what to do if books are not available or you get a message saying they re not permitted.

Book status in the store  When it will arrive
In Stock Usually delivered in 3-5 days
This will be ordered from the publisher for you Usually delivered in 7-10 days
Not permitted If this is essential for your course contact
Temporarily unavailable or out of print If the book is important for your course, contact and we will try to identify an alternative book


Are there delivery charges?

Delivery via Royal Mail on books purchased with your book credits is free of charge. There are charges for delivery on books you purchase yourself. If you order both at the same time, delivery will be free.

You can, if you choose, pay yourself to upgrade delivery from second class post to first class or courier.

What if my books don’t arrive?

If your books do not arrive within three days of receiving your dispatch notice, you should contact, providing full details of the order number. If you live in a shared dwelling, please be sure to check with other occupants in case they have picked your parcel up by mistake.

The John Smith’s Group will not be able to assist with items which have not been delivered if you fail to advise them within 25 days of the dispatch email being issued.

 N.B If students are found to have made fraudulent claims for non-delivery for books that have been delivered to them, they may be subject to disciplinary action by Coventry University.

What if I receive the wrong book(s)?

If the book you receive is not the one you ordered, contact, to arrange for returning the book for a refund and to get the correct book dispatched. You must do this within two weeks of receipt in order to get a refund, including the cost of posting. You are advised to send books back via Registered Mail to ensure books are received. Refunds will take one week to process if you have returned via Registered Mail within the two week period.

Refunds will only be issued if the book has not been used or damaged in any way. For further details of John Smith’s refund policy, see the returns policy on their website (once the site becomes available).

What if I accidentally order the wrong book(s)?

You will have two weeks from delivery to return the book(s) to:

Customer Services
John Smith’s Bookshop
112 Burgess Road
SO17 1TW

You are advised to return these by registered mail. The John Smith’s Group will refund your credits within a week of receiving books returned by registered mail in the prescribed time period. Your refund will not include the cost of postage in these circumstances.

You may only return unused books.i.e. free from any notes or annotations, and free from any damage.

What if I lose my books, or they are stolen?

Unfortunately, once you use your credit to purchase books and once they have been delivered to the delivery address provided by you they are your responsibility, and no additional credit or replacement books will be provided. However, you can access all course books in the Library, or you can purchase a replacement yourself.

What if I change or transfer to a different course after ordering my books from the online book store?

Books purchased via the online book store can be returned within two weeks of delivery, provided the books have not been used or damaged in any way. Returns should be arranged with and should be sent via Registered Mail. Refunds will be issued within one week of receipt.

The credit you are allocated may vary for different course stages. As such, the credit you have been allocated will be amended to reflect the entitlement for the course you are now on.

If you have already used your credits the new balance will reflect books already purchased.

For the full refunds and returns policy see the returns policy on John Smith's website, once it becomes available.

Is it possible to purchase second hand books from the Online Book Store?

For 2019/20, only new books will be available for purchase.

Eligibility for Flying Start 

Students who commenced an undergraduate degree course advertising 'Flying Start' (formerly No Hidden Extras) in September 2012 or later and who are paying the fee levels set for new students for 2019/20 will be eligible. The John Smith’s Group will email you with details of how to register to claim your credits if you are entitled as soon as you enrol online They will also email details of how many Flying Start credits you have been issued with.

See if you are eligible.

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