The Declining Trend in College Textbook Sales

Posted by Jonathan Shar on April 24, 2015

In the begining of 2013, Akademos published the first comprehensive survey of college CFOs regarding the future of college bookstore services.  One question participants were asked was to estimate the trend line in their bookstore's textbook sales over the past 3 years and 83% of respondents indicated that textbook sales have been flat or down per the chart below.


See how the opinion of CFOs throughout the country has now changed when Akademos reveals its first look at the recently completed follow-up study on the trends and future of textbook services during our live webinar.

Learn what leading college CFOs think about the evolving bookstore model and hear from one such leader, Robert Pignatello, on how John Jay College reimagined the college bookstore for the 21st century. This special webinar will prove helpful to college administrators across the country facing these and other related challenges.

Click here to request webinar materials

 The discussion, lead by John Squires, CEO of Akademos along with Robert Pignatello, SVP Finance and Administration at CUNY’s John Jay College provides insightful commentary on the key findings.




Topics: Bookstore Sales

Seven Factors Impacting Campus Bookstore Sales

Posted by Jonathan Shar on April 10, 2015

Adapted from our white paper, Reducing Textbook Costs through Transitioning to an Online Bookstore. Click here to download a free copy. 

Recent studies have shown that many college students are opting not to buy any or all textbooks for at least one of their courses due to high prices, leading to students being less prepared for class and negatively impacting their academic performance.  In addition, studies show that many students are selecting courses based upon the cost of the textbooks. Left unchecked, these factors may undermine the fundamental mission of many colleges and universities.

If your college or university is experiencing this trend, it’s important to consider the factors that might be contributing to poor student utilization of your bookstore service.


As a first step, undertake an audit of your current service and consider all the elements that might be contributing to either high material costs or low student satisfaction. Some areas to consider:

  1. Does your bookstore have enough access to low cost used books and rentals?

  2. What percentage of your courses have used books and what is their relative cost versus the used peer-to-peer marketplace (check out textbookx.com for helpful comparisons)

  3. What percentage of your students are using your current bookstore? (Read our blog post, “Is Your Campus Bookstore Missing Textbook Sales?”)

  4. Are high commissions and guarantees impacting the cost of your textbooks?

  5. Is space at a premium on your campus? When evaluating the performance of your bookstore, do you factor in the opportunity cost of the space you allocate for textbooks?

  6. Do your faculty have access to adoption tools that show them the real cost of book ownership and provide high-quality alternatives?

  7. Is the online site that supports your bookstore the best in class?

For more information on these questions and other key best practices in driving textbook affordability and bookstore utilization, download our free white paper Reducing Textbook Costs through Transitioning to an Online Bookstore.

Click here to download the White Paper

Topics: Bookstore Sales

Webinar Recap: Win Back Students and Recapture Book Sales - Materials Available for Download

Posted by Jonathan Shar on February 11, 2015

Yesterday, we were joined by Jaye Lynn Bergers from Davenport University for a lively and informative Webinar, “How Your Bookstore Can Reduce Textbook Costs and Win Back Students.” If you were unable to join this Webinar, we wanted to make the presentation and recording of the session available for you to download free by clicking here.


The feedback from attendees has been extremely positive. Most found hearing how other institutions are quickly implementing solutions that prioritize the success of its students by driving down the cost of textbooks to be extremely relevant and informative.

In this Webinar, we took a behind-the-scenes look at Davenport University's approach to winning back students and recapturing sales. Topics covered included:

  • How Davenport increased its bookstore utilization, optimized the physical store footprint, and dramatically increased student satisfaction
  • Different bookstore solutions researched and the selection criteria    
  • How the solution was quickly implemented and integrated  
  • Key outcomes and results (including students saving over $1.8 million

To learn more about expanding affordable textbook options for your students and solutions that could work for your school, we would be happy to set-up a personalized 1:1 consultation today.

Topics: Webinars & Events, Bookstore Sales

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

How College Bookstores Can Stop Losing Students

Posted by Jonathan Shar on January 7, 2015

Can your students easily shop your college bookstore from their smartphones and tablets?

This is the question that every college and university should be asking today. If not there’s a good chance that the number of students finding alternative outlets for buying their class materials, or worse, not purchasing their textbooks at all will grow dramatically over the next couple of years.

2014 was a clear tipping point in mobile commerce as seen through both daily observation and supported by data through many trustworthy sources.

For example, according to ComScore, consumers now spend more time with online retail on mobile devices (smartphone and tablets) than desktop and laptop computers.

From a commerce perspective, an eMarketer study estimates that in 2014:

  • Almost 20% of US Retail eCommerce will have come from purchases made on mobile devices, up 37% versus 2013
  • This growth is expected to rise at double digital rates for the next 4 years
  • Physical goods comprise the bulk of US Retail eCommerce dollars (85% in 2014)
  • 66% of US Mobile Commerce Sales are from Tablets and 32% from Smartphones

While this data doesn’t split out the higher education student population, the trends no doubt are even stronger for this tech savvy demographic.

According to a Nielsen 2014 smartphone study, 85% of the US population 18-24 are smart phone users, (versus 71% of everyone 18+).

As a company that focuses on both driving affordable textbooks options for students and providing them best-in-class user experiences and services for textbook shopping, we have a few recommendations when thinking about your bookstore’s online access:

  1. Make it easy for mobile users to browse the bookstore and seamlessly discover all their course materials in one place
  2. Your bookstore website should be optimized for mobile with easy to use commerce functionally
  3. The user interface should be built and optimized for touch navigation
  4. The website should have a responsive design that resizes automatically across smartphones, tablets, desktops and laptops

Here at Akademos we launched a new online bookstore solution in 2014 with a fully responsive design and optimized for mobile browsing and commerce.  The response from students, faculty and administrators to this new site has been outstanding. Almost 90% of all students surveyed rated Akademos powered sites both Easy to Use and a Good Online Shopping Experience. In addition, course material sales from mobile devices grew 4x versus 2013.

For more specific information on how commerce and mobile trends are affecting your bookstore and student experience, register here for a personalized 1:1 consultation with our team.



Topics: Bookstore Sales