Lauren LaFronz

Content Writer & Corporate Editor, Akademos

Recent Posts

Akademos & Kansas City University Partner to Improve Textbook Affordability

Posted by Lauren LaFronz on June 15, 2016

Akademos online college bookstore solution will provide students with an unrivaled selection of course materials at the lowest possible cost

Akademos announced today that it has partnered with Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences (KCU) to lower textbook costs and provide students with expanded course material options. KCU is the largest medical school in Missouri and the 12th largest in the United States.

Starting in July 2016, KCU students can shop for textbooks in new, used, rental and eBook formats
 on any device using a custom-branded version of the mobile-optimized AkaKansasCityUniversity_Primary_horiz_4color.pngdemos online bookstore. Students will save an average of 60% off the list price of their course materials using Akademos’ exclusive marketplace of over 100 million new and used textbooks.

The online storefront will become KCU’s exclusive school-sanctioned bookstore. The campus store will sell items including spirit wear, snacks and general merchandise.

“Based on sales data and talking to our students it became obvious students were not utilizing the on-campus bookstore to purchase their books,” said Jim Herrington, director of campus operations, KCU. “We needed a fresh approach so we chose to initiate a hybrid store model and selected Akademos to help us with the online bookstore because we believe their unique business model can offer our students better service and the lowest possible prices.”

“With many college bookstores experiencing declining textbook sales, it’s become increasingly common for institutions to move to a hybrid bookstore model that enables them to have both a successful low-cost online bookstore and a state-of-the-art on-campus shop,” said John Squires, chief executive officer, Akademos. “KCU is taking a very commendable step by fully embracing emerging technology to significantly improve textbook affordability for its students.”

Learn more about how Akademos can help your institution significantly reduce textbook costs for students.


Topics: Company News, Textbook Affordability

Price & Convenience: The Keys to Growing Your Textbook Sales

Posted by Lauren LaFronz on June 7, 2016

Growing numbers of college students are abandoning the campus bookstore and purchasing textbooks from less expensive third-party websites - but it’s not only price that’s driving them away.

A recent survey conducted by Akademos on college student textbook purchasing and bookstore services reveals that “convenience” also plays a very influential role in where students decide to purchase course materials, with 58% of students citing it as a critical factor affecting where they buy or rent.


This data point highlights the importance students place on the flexibility of anytime, anywhere Internet shopping, and indicates that adding a competitive online component to your bookstore strategy could increase sales and overall utilization.

If your college already has a bookstore website, or if you’re in the process of evaluating virtual bookstore options, you can secure an advantage over your current or future online competition by providing features that go beyond the basics to deliver the ultimate in convenience and a superior student experience.

For example, 40% of students surveyed by Akademos have used financial aid to buy or rent course materials, suggesting that it would be worthwhile to ensure your bookstore website enables students to seamlessly apply financial aid towards their purchases – a feature not offered by non-affiliated third-party sites.

In addition, given that students are accustomed to using smartphones for viewing websites and making purchases - over 62% of our survey respondents provided their information using a mobile device – it’s advisable to ensure your online bookstore is mobile-optimized so students aren’t inconvenienced by an awkward, frustrating user experience.

Request a complimentary copy of our white paper to get more actionable recommendations for improving bookstore sales and view the complete results of our survey. 


Request the White Paper Now


Topics: Bookstore Sales, Research

Study Confirms Colleges Can Improve Student Satisfaction, Bookstore Sales & More by Providing Key Online Services

Posted by Lauren LaFronz on May 10, 2016

It’s abundantly clear that high textbook costs are a critical issue for colleges and their students. What’s not as clear is how to effectively address this highly-complex, multi-faceted problem.

Our new study, available free-of-charge, provides proof that addressing college textbook affordability with specialized online solutions is highly effective and positively impacts student satisfaction, bookstore sales and academic success. The study contains a comparative analysis from two surveys recently conducted on college student course material purchasing and bookstore services.Textbook-Affordability-Study-Thumbnail.jpg

 Request a copy of the study

One survey was administered exclusively to students currently enrolled at Akademos partner schools, and another, identical survey was administered to college students enrolled at a random sample of "non-partner" institutions throughout the country. Several notable differences are revealed in the analysis including:

  • Students at institutions offering an extensive selection of low-priced textbooks are significantly more satisfied with textbook costs than students in the general population

  • Students at institutions providing a peer-to-peer marketplace as part of an online bookstore solution are considerably more likely than students in the general population to purchase all required course materials

  • Students at colleges offering first-rate bookstore websites are much more likely than students in the general population to be prepared for class with all required materials

  • Students at institutions with mobile-optimized, school-sanctioned bookstore websites are significantly more likely to forego purchasing textbooks on Amazon and other third party websites

This comparative analysis follows on the heels of the white paper we released last month containing the results of the survey administered to college students at "non-partner" institutions.

Request the study to read the complete analysis and learn about the specific online services that reduce college textbook costs and improve key metrics including student preparedness, student satisfaction and bookstore utilization.

Request the Comparative Study 

Topics: Bookstore Sales, Research

How to Impact College Student Preparedness

Posted by Lauren LaFronz on April 28, 2016

A recent survey conducted by Akademos on college student textbook purchasing and bookstore services revealed a troubling trend - a large percentage of students wait until on or after the first day of class to order course materials.

Student unpreparedness is an issue with far-reaching consequences. Students who begin courses without the required materials invariably end up trying to play catch-up – and the longer they wait to get their books, the farther behind they’re likely to fall - and the worse they’re likely to perform.

However, the survey results also uncovered that there’s an actionable way to address this issue – which is good news for colleges and universities.

The data reveal that the main reason students don’t have their course materials on the first day of class is insufficient communication. Most students wait to order materials because they want to confirm what materials are absolutely necessary (83%) and because they’re just unaware of what’s required (44%).

On the other hand, 79% of these students stated they would purchase their materials in advance if the professor clearly communicated what’s required and what materials they’re expected to have on the first day of class.


These data points clearly indicate that taking action to improve communication around required materials could have a huge positive impact on student preparedness and ultimately, academic success. Colleges and universities must take a close look at how, what and when they’re communicating course material requirements and take steps to address any shortfalls. Steps to consider include:

  • Implementing a course materials communication plan: This plan should outline when and how course materials should be communicated to students as well as how compliance will be enforced.
  • Setting standards for course-related information: Institutions should consider setting standards for course descriptions, syllabi and other course-related information to ensure they clearly state what materials are required and what students must have on the first day of class.

Request a complimentary copy of our white paper to learn more about the role communication plays in student preparedness and review the full results of our 2016 College and University Student Survey on Course Material Purchasing and Bookstore Services.

Request the Exclusive White Paper

Topics: Research

Akademos & Sweet Briar College Partner to Provide Students with Substantial Textbook Savings

Posted by Lauren LaFronz on April 21, 2016

The Akademos online bookstore and marketplace will offer Sweet Briar students significant savings on course materials while providing the unmatched convenience of anytime, anywhere ordering

Akademos, Inc., a leading provider of college bookstore solutions and integrated online marketplaces for educational institutions, announced today that Sweet Briar College (sbc.edu) , a private, not-for-profit college for women, has joined its fast-growing list of partner schools. Sweet Briar College, located in central Virginia, was named one of the Top 10 Best Private Colleges in the South and one of the Top 10 Best Women’s Colleges by Forbes. It is the fourth Council of Independent Colleges in Virginia (CICV) member institution to adopt the Akademos online bookstore solution – the others include Bridgewater College, Mary Baldwin College and Roanoke College.

Starting Fall Term 2016, Sweet Briar students can shop for textbooks in new, used, rental and eBook formats on any device using a custom-branded version of the mobile-optimized Akademos online bookstore. Students will save an average of 60% off the list price of their course materials using Akademos’ exclusive marketplace of over 100 million new and used textbooks.

The next-generation Akademos online shopping platform will be fully integrated with Sweet Briar’s student information system (SIS), enabling students to automatically see the textbooks required for their courses and order books for an entire term in less than five minutes. Students will also be able to seamlessly apply financial aid to their course material purchases.sweet-briar-college-logo.jpg

In addition, Sweet Briar faculty and administrators will be able to take advantage of the state-of-the-art Akademos Adoption & Analytics Portal to streamline the textbook adoption process. The portal provides easy access to course adoption history and visibility into course material pricing to help instructors select books that are both high quality and affordable.

“When our students struggle financially to purchase the materials they need for academic success it jeopardizes our mission to create a supportive educational environment,” said Pamela DeWeese, dean of the faculty and vice president for academic affairs, Sweet Briar College. “Partnering with Akademos helps fulfill this important part of our mission by enabling us to offer students high-quality textbooks at the lowest possible price, and by giving our faculty powerful tools for assessing book costs.”

“By providing significant textbook savings, our unique e-commerce platform and marketplace will enable Sweet Briar students to focus less on how they’re going to afford their textbooks and more on their studies,” said John Squires, chief executive officer, Akademos. “We’re looking forward to working with Sweet Briar to launch a state-of-the-art online bookstore with a highly personalized, intuitive and expeditious book-buying experience.”

Learn more about how Akademos can help your institution significantly reduce textbook costs for students.


Topics: Company News, Textbook Affordability

College Student Survey Provides Important Insights into Textbook Purchasing & Bookstore Services

Posted by Lauren LaFronz on April 14, 2016

The results of our first comprehensive college student survey are now available in a new white
. This white paper, available free-of-charge, provides valuable insights on why many college students don't purchase their required course materials and are turning away from the school-sanctioned bookstore.  Other issues explored in this new resource include:

  • The cost students pay academically for high textbook prices

  • How poor communication about course material requirements is affecting student success

  • How key factors such as convenience are causing students to abandon school-sanctioned bookstores


Request a copy of the white paper

The survey results reveal important statistics that indicate institutions should take a close look at their own students’ attitudes and behaviors related to textbook costs and bookstore services:

  • 40% of students surveyed only purchase some or none of their required course materials

  • 39% of students surveyed have taken a course without the required materials because they’re too expensive. 60% of them think they would have performed better if they’d had the materials.

  • 49% of students surveyed always or usually purchase textbooks from Amazon

  • 44% hardly or never purchase from the on campus bookstore.

  • 37% of students surveyed wait until on or after the first day of class to acquire their materials

In addition, the white paper delivers actionable recommendations administrators and campus shop operators can use to reduce textbook costs, improve student satisfaction with bookstore services and increase bookstore sales.

Click Here to Download the Exclusive White Paper



Topics: Research