Student spending on textbooks inches up

Monday, July 29, 2013

College students estimate they spend $662 annually on required course materials, and while that is up slightly from the $655 reported a year ago, it is still down from the $702 reported five years ago, according to the latest Student Watch™ study conducted by OnCampus Research, a division of the National Association of College Stores (NACS).

“While ANY increase is tough for students, who continue to be pressured by the higher cost of attending college, it demonstrates that the money-saving strategies college stores have implemented continue to have an impact,” said Charles Schmidt, NACS’ director of public relations.

College stores now routinely offer students the option of renting a hard copy textbook – the format preferred by 77% of college students. The number of college stores offering textbook rental over the past three years has skyrocketed, and such print-version rental programs can save a student between 45-66% off the price of a new print textbook, he said.

In addition, college stores continue to work hard to increase their stock of used textbooks, a 25% savings for students, and digital, which can save students 40% off the new-text price. Some college stores also offer such innovations as guaranteed buyback, price-matching, free shipping, and textbook sales the day before classes begin.

Stores also are actively working with faculty and publishers to create custom educational products that enable professors to pick and choose the content they wish to present to their classes in the format they prefer, eliminating redundancies. “The result is a reasonably-priced ‘mashup’ of chapters from various textbooks,” Schmidt said. “A student would then only have to purchase one custom offering rather than several texts, reducing costs.”

About NACS

Headquartered in Oberlin, Ohio, the National Association of College Stores (NACS) is the professional trade association representing the collegiate retailing industry. NACS represents nearly 3,000 collegiate retailers and approximately 1,000 associate members who supply books and other products to college stores. NACS member stores serve America’s college students while supporting the academic missions of higher education institutions everywhere. Additional information on NACS can be found online at www.nacs.org.

About OnCampus Research

OnCampus Research is a consultative research group with more than 75 years of experience in the college industry. It surveys include an online panel of more than 18,000 students at 1,100 campuses nationwide.