New Akademos White Paper provides valuable insights from College CFOs on textbooks, course materials and the future role of the college bookstore

Posted by Ariane Rasmussen on April 25, 2017

The 2017 College CFO Survey report highlights an accelerated rise in students leaving the college bookstore and business administrator concern over the impact of textbook prices on student performance and persistence.

THUMBNAIL 2017 CFO White Paper.jpgToday, Akademos Inc. announced the release of an exclusive new White Paper that highlights the results of their proprietary 2017 College CFO Survey on Course Materials and Bookstore Services. This comprehensive report provides critical insight on today’s top college and university bookstore trends and includes findings on bookstore sales, textbook affordability, student preparedness, and emerging trends in digital course materials, eLearning models and general merchandise sales.

This is the third study surveying CFOs and business administrators in higher institutions across the nation. The previous surveys were conducted in 2013 and 2015.

Critical topics addressed in this complimentary White Paper include:

  • The evolving role of the school-sanctioned bookstore
  • Trends in textbook and course material sales
  • Why students are leaving the school-sanctioned bookstore
  • The impact of course material costs on student success, persistence and retention
  • How bookstores need to adapt to meet the demands for new eLearning materials and models
  • The need for an improved adoption process
  • General merchandise sales trends
  • Campus space optimization and the physical footprint of the campus bookstore in the future

“Survey results show that 93% of respondents think textbook prices have an impact on student retention, persistence and completion, as a growing number of students not only have abandoned the school-sanctioned bookstore, but are foregoing purchasing required course materials altogether due to escalating prices,” said John Squires, Akademos Chief Executive Officer. “It’s important for business and academic leadership to continually adapt and prepare for emerging trends in course materials and bookstore services to ensure they are meeting the needs of their students, faculty and entire campus community.”  

The exclusive 2017 College CFO White Paper provides an instructive look at critical issues higher education institutions face and offers potential solutions for the future that can help your institution lower course material costs and win back your students to the campus bookstore.

The full report summarizes responses to all questions asked in the 2017 CFO Survey, provides analysis of the results, and compares trends from the 2013 and 2015 surveys. This White Paper is available at no charge.

 Request Exclusive White Paper Today


Topics: Company News, Research, Textbook Affordability, Academic Success, Bookstore Services

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

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

Why Students Are Leaving The College Bookstore - New White Paper

Posted by Jonathan Shar on December 2, 2015

Our new white paper, Why Students Are Leaving The College Bookstore, was released today and is now available for download. 

Learn from this exclusive new white paper:

  • What's driving students away from the school-sanctioned bookstore
  • The unique advantages the college bookstore has over non-affiliated third party providers
  • The secret to winning back your students


Click Here to Download the Exclusive White Paper

Find out how other institutions are transforming their college bookstores into a best-in-class student service and seeing significant improvements in textbook affordabilitystudent satisfaction, and bookstore utilization - even as student demands for accessibility, convenience, and affordability accelerate.

Download Why Students Are Leaving The College Bookstore today - available at no charge.

Topics: Bookstore Sales, Research

Research Finds Strong Correlation Between Textbook Affordability Programs and College Student Satisfaction

Posted by Jonathan Shar on July 22, 2015

According to research results highlighted in The 2015 survey of College Presidents, Provosts and CAOs on the Future of Bookstore Services and Textbook Delivery White Papercreating a formalized textbook affordability program is the key to unlocking student and faculty satisfaction. 


One of the most important insights from our 2015 survey of College Presidents, Provosts and CAOs on the Future of Bookstore Services and Textbook Delivery is that having a formal program to help faculty select high-quality, low-cost course materials directly correlates with higher student and faculty satisfaction. However, only 21% of institutions in the survey reported that they have a formal program.

This piece of data should be very actionable for most institutions and does not require a major investment or implementation of complex technology. Our new white paper includes some best practices for textbook affordability programs so that every institution can start the process of implementing a program for their campus. 

Click here to download the survey results white paper

Topics: Research, Textbook Affordability

The Impact of Textbook Costs on Student Retention (According to College Presidents and Provosts)

Posted by Jonathan Shar on July 20, 2015

In our 2015 survey of College Presidents, Provosts and CAOs on the Future of Bookstore Services and Textbook Delivery, we asked participants to weigh in on how the exorbitant cost of textbooks are affecting student outcomes. 

The majority (91%) of respondents agreed that the high cost of textbooks and course materials is having a negative impact on student retention, persistence, and completion.

retentionCAOSource: Akademos


  • 97% of 2-Year Public Institutions in the survey indicated that textbook costs negatively impacted retention and persistence, including 45% stating “Very Much”
  • 94% of Presidents in the survey indicated that textbook costs negatively impacted retention and persistence, including 37% stating “Very Much”

To learn what tactics higher education leaders are using to address this challenge and to view other key trends and predictions, download the College President, Provost and CAO Survey White Paper on the Future of Bookstore Services and Textbook Delivery today, available free of charge. 

Click here to download the survey results white paper  


Topics: Research, Textbook Affordability

New White Paper: 2015 College President, Provost and CAO Survey on the Future of Bookstore Services and Textbook Delivery

Posted by Jonathan Shar on July 7, 2015

Survey results highlight a significant gap between institutions recognizing the problem of textbook affordability and those taking action to implement change.  

In 2013, Akademos conducted the first comprehensive survey of College and University Presidents, Provosts, and CAOs focusing on textbook delivery, costs, and bookstore services. The just-released 2015 follow up survey reveals a rich set of data points, key trends and insight into the challenges and opportunities facing institutions regarding escalating textbook prices and their impact across all campus stakeholder groups.


Click here to download

Results show that as textbook prices continue to climb, college CAOs have seen the challenges in delivery and bookstore services accelerate, including the following key findings:

  • 91% of administrators reported that high textbook costs negatively impact retention and persistence
  • High textbook prices are driving a significant number (81%) of students to shop for books outside of the school-sanctioned store
  • Student and faculty satisfaction with textbook prices remain extremely low
  • 85% of respondents reported that they were involved in a textbook affordability strategy at their institution, but only 21% reported having a formal program to help faculty select high quality, low cost course materials, which is a driver of higher student and faculty satisfaction. 

Administrators are being forced to take a critical look at their current bookstore model in an effort to keep up with the demands required to serve student needs and improve student outcomes. Institutions that have formal textbook affordability programs report significantly higher levels of student and faculty satisfaction with regard to textbook costs.


We believe this data should be very actionable for most institutions and that the time to act is now.  It is encouraging to see that institutions with active textbook affordability programs have seen positive results. We hope this White Paper will spur institutions across the country to critically evaluate their textbook and delivery services for the future.

Click here to download the survey results white paper

The White Paper is available at no charge.  After reviewing, if you have any questions about the survey results we would be delighted to discuss in further detail.  

Topics: Research, Textbook Affordability

2015 CFO Survey on Bookstore Services: Exclusive White Paper Report Now Available for Download

Posted by Jonathan Shar on June 17, 2015

Textbook delivery and bookstore services have become a prominent issue for college and university CFOs, likely due in part to increasing attention to the rising cost of textbooks from students, their families, accreditation committees, and state governments.

The question remains, can the competitive and technical challenges of serving student needs and improving student outcomes be met by the current on-campus bookstore model, particularly in an increasingly online world? 

To better understand the scope of this issue, we are excited to release the results of our 2015 College CFO Survey on Textbook Delivery and Bookstore Services in this exclusive report.

Click here to download

Highlights of the survey include CFOs reporting that:

  • Students are increasingly turning away from campus-based bookstores in favor of third-party providers (93% confirmed this trend).
  • Access to high-quality, low-cost textbooks is the most important service institutions can provide regarding the sale of textbooks.
  • 96% stated that textbook costs are impacting student retention and persistence 
  • Nearly all respondents indicated that textbook sales have been flat or down over the past three years.
  • Plus, much more

For a copy of the 2015 College CFO Survey on Textbook Delivery and Bookstore Services White Paper, go to http://info.akademos.com/cfo-survey-white-paper-2015 or click the button below. This White Paper is available at no charge.

Download Exclusive White Paper Now

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.

Topics: Research