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Kirk Bodick

Recent Posts

The Dawn of the $400 Textbook and Helping College Students Fight These Costs

Posted by Kirk Bodick on July 28, 2015

Mark Perry is concurrently a scholar at AEI and a professor of economics and finance at the University of Michigan's Flint campus. Over the past few years, he has written a number of interesting articles tracking the alarming rise of college textbook prices.  His latest article, published this week, disects the era of $400 textbooks and lists the 15 most expensive textbooks at the University of Michigan-Flint.  Here’s the link to his post:

https://www.aei.org/publication/the-new-era-of-the-400-college-textbook-which-is-part-of-the-unsustainable-higher-education-bubble/

In this article, Mr. Perry updates charts illustrating how the cost of college textbooks is outpacing the national Consumer Price Index as well as recreational book prices:

CPI_1998_to_2014

Also included is a price chart listing the top 15 most expensive textbooks at the University of Michigan-Flint. This had me thinking – I wonder how Akademos’ prices compared to the UM-Flint’s bookstore prices?  We conducted a price comparison of the article’s price chart against our published student prices on our TextbookX.com website and the results were dramatic per the chart below:

 UM_Flint_Book_List

There was also significant savings on our used rental books -  $1,543.15 or 29%!

Rising textbook costs impact everyone in the academic chain:

  • Students - who can’t afford to pay for texts so they go without, impacting academic performance
  • Faculty - who have students come to class ill-prepared and slow down the teaching process
  • Administrators - who are fighting shrinking budgets and count on student success and bookstore sales in their funding formulas

Akademos’ Online Bookstore Services can partner with colleges and universities to provide innovative and unique solutions to help keep textbook costs low. We also provide services designed to provide tools for faculty to procure alternative lower cost course materials.

For example, one way faculty can fight this runaway textbook price train is by using Open Education Resources such as the OpenStax College books and customized CoursePacks that contain quality teaching content, yet are free or at a greatly reduced cost to students. 

Our free Textbook Adoption Tool (adoption.akademos.com) allows faculty to choose from over 2 million titles across 3,600 topics, makes it easy to compare different formats, includes an affordability index for each title, and provides the opportunity to easily discover open source content. This empowers faculty to make better-informed decisions about content and their impact on course material costs, while preserving academic freedom.

To learn more about expanding affordable textbook options for students, our online bookstore services for colleges and universities, and to see how the Akademos solution can work for your institution, register today for a personalized 1:1 consultation

Click here to register for a 1:1 consultation 

Topics: Textbook Affordability

The $4 Billion Hidden Cost of College Textbooks

Posted by Kirk Bodick on February 3, 2015

The rallying cry against high textbook costs is now ubiquitous across college campuses.  Administrators, faculty, students and parents have all complained as textbooks prices continue to climb.  Recent studies have shown that many students are opting not to buy all the textbooks for their courses due to these high prices, leading to students being less prepared for class and negatively impacting their academic performance.

While the high prices of textbooks affect all students, there is a hidden and massive cost for students on financial aid loans - which could be adding as much as $4 billion to the spiraling student debt load a year - that has not yet been a part of this very important discussion.

Consider the Fall 2014 federal student financial aid interest rates. Subsidized and unsubsidized rates for undergraduate loans were 4.66% with a typical repayment term of 10 years. However, most common loan repayment programs include deferred plans after graduation, which provide students the opportunity to choose from several options including repayment schedules that extend from 15 to over 18 years. There are a number of online student debt calculators that you can use to calculate student loan repayment options.  One I recommend is The New York Times ‘Student Loan Calculator.'

Considering the standard rate above, if a student is using loan aid to pay for textbooks, the impact on the effective prices is quite staggering. For example:

  • Purchasing a $200 textbook will cost $251 by the time the loan is paid off
  • Spending $1,000 a year on textbooks and class materials will cost $1,253

With total undergraduate enrollment now at 18MM and 80% percent of first-time undergraduate students in degree-granting institutions receiving financial aid, there are over 14 million undergraduates who are receiving financial aid funds to apply towards the purchase of textbooks. If each student spends an extra $253 a year (due to the interest rate of loans), an additional $3.6 billion in student debt is created.

This comes at a time when the growing problem of student debt in the US is now at $1.3 trillion, topping even credit card debt. Factoring in this massive hidden cost, there has never been a more important time to drive down textbook prices and provide students with more affordable course material options.

At Akademos, we are focused every day at driving down the cost of textbooks and course materials to lessen the long-term cost of education for students.  By providing access to over 12 million IBSNs with a complete inventory of new, used, rental, eBook and Marketplace options for textbook purchases, students can increase their purchasing power and reduce their growing student debt load.  Last year alone, Akademos saved students over $10 Million in textbook and course material costs.

The $200 new textbook would cost an average of 60% less by purchasing from the Akademos Marketplace.  Thus, if a student spent $120 instead for that textbook, they would save $400 a year.  Across the entire student population of undergraduate students receiving any financial aid this savings would translate into a $1.5 billion reduction in the student debt obligation.  More importantly, these savings would make it easier for students to purchase all their required textbooks, facilitating learning and their academic success.

To learn more about our ideas and solutions for expanding affordable textbook options for students, please visit our website at www.akademos.com.

Student_Debt_Blog_2.3.15

Topics: Textbook Affordability

New Addition to the Akademos Team

Posted by Kirk Bodick on January 16, 2015

As schools throughout the country focus more on textbook affordability and student success, we are pleased to announce the addition of Joe Diggins to the Akademos team.  As Senior Regional Sales Manager, Joe will focus on providing support and consultation to schools in the Western United States to help meet the rapid growth in conversations we are having with administrators about innovative bookstore solutions.

Joe has almost 15 years of experience in working to satisfy the needs of higher education institutions and most recently was with Cengage Learning supporting schools through the west.

Joe will be based in California and is a dedicated resource for administrators and faculty who would like to hear more about expanding affordable textbooks options for its students, online bookstore integration, mobile optimized commerce solutions, campus bookstore profitability analysis and more.

To learn more about our innovative bookstore solution and schedule a personalized 1:1 consultation, register here today.

Topics: Company News

Is Your Campus Bookstore Missing Textbook Sales?

Posted by Kirk Bodick on January 8, 2015

This is a very important and sometimes difficult question to answer. However, there’s a good chance that more students than you think are purchasing course materials outside of your campus bookstore or even deciding not to purchase their materials at all.

Many administrators don’t have the data and/or an easy method to quickly make this determination. Even if it looks like your campus bookstore sales are strong, you may have a significant percentage of students not purchasing through the bookstore, which based upon current trends will only continue to grow over time. A recurring theme of declining textbook sales and students abandoning the official campus bookstore has surfaced in our discussions with many higher education institutions.

This has been a growing issue for many schools who now see their bookstore offering low cost textbook purchases as a core service to it’s students based upon the realization that the purchase of course materials in a timely manner is directly correlated to student (and ultimately institution) success, and even future funding.

For schools interested in understanding the magnitude of this migration we’ve developed a simple tool that can help estimate the percentage of students not purchasing their textbooks through your campus bookstore and track potential student savings. An estimate of the current textbook sales through your bookstore, student full-time enrollment population and a few other data points is enough to get us started.

If you’re interested in a confidential review of your potential migration and opportunity to capture textbook sales, register here for a 1:1 consultation.

Topics: Bookstore Sales

Webinar: Key Considerations for Transitioning to an Online Bookstore

Posted by Kirk Bodick on October 7, 2014

Update: If you missed this webinar, email us at webinar@akademos.com to view a recorded version of the presentation.

Is an online bookstore the right choice for your school?

In Akademos' October webinar, Jaye Lynn Bergers, Director of Procurement and Retail Services at Davenport University will share her experience implementing Akademos’ online bookstore 'marketplace' model. We hope you can join us.

Key Considerations for Transitioning to an Online Bookstore

Live Webinar: Wednesday, October 22 at 1:00 pm EDT

In this webinar, find out...

  • How to create an effective partnership between online and on campus bookstores
  • Operational considerations for an online bookstore
  • Best practices for faculty adoption
  • Tips for marketing to students
 
Featured Speakers:
  • Jaye Lynn Bergers, Director of Procurement and Retail Services, Davenport University
  • Kirk Bodick, VP of Sales, Akademos

Topics: Webinars & Events, New Bookstore Models

New Additions to the Akademos Sales Team

Posted by Kirk Bodick on August 4, 2014

In order to help us accommodate our rapid sales growth, I am pleased to announce the addition of two new Senior Regional Sales Managers, Leslie Sands and Shana Neely to the Akademos team.

With over 35 years of collective education sales experience, Leslie and Shana are well positioned to work with the increasing number of prospective institutions seeking to partner with Akademos to provide innovative online bookstore solutions.

Both our new team members come to us from the Pearson Learning Solutions Strategic Partnerships Group. In their previous roles as Executive Directors, they worked with Presidents, Chancellors, Provosts and other Academic leadership to develop cutting edge content solutions for large Universities, Colleges and System Offices such as the Kentucky Community & Technical College System, Tennessee Board of Regents and West Virginia University at Parkersburg.

In addition, during their education sales careers they have created partnerships with major Higher Education institutions such as the Louisiana Community and Technical College System (LCTCS), Community College of the District of Columbia (CCDC), Pennsylvania Department of Education and The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE), delivering online learning programs for universities, community colleges and adult education.

Leslie is based out of Virginia and will be covering the Mid-Atlantic States while Shana will cover the South out of her Mississippi home base.

With these new additions to our existing stellar sales team, we are well positioned to continue and accelerate our engagements with major Higher Ed institutions.

Please join me in welcoming Leslie and Shana to Akademos!

Visit our careers page to learn more about job opportunities with Akademos.