Why Textbook Rentals Are On The Rise

Posted by Jonathan Shar on May 11, 2015

Two years ago, Akademos published the first comprehensive survey of College CFOs regarding the future of college bookstore and textbook services and in an exclusive webinar held on April 29, released the preliminary findings of the 2015 follow-up study.

In both, participants were asked to estimate the breakdown of their bookstore's textbook sales.

The latest survey found that on average, new books still represent the largest % of textbook sales; however in just two years this percentage has declined significantly (now 38%, down from 52%) - with Rentals growing by more than 60% (from 14% to 23% in 2015).

rental_compSource: CFO Survey on Textbook Delivery and Bookstore Services. Akademos, 2015. 

In addition, in another survey question when asked about the importance various services to the "Future of your Bookstore"; 73% rated Rentals as "Very Important," up 26% from the 2013 study.

Textbook Rentals are clearly on the rise, but why and is it the most cost-conscious choice for students? Robert Pignatello, SVP of finance and Administration at CUNY’s John Jay college and Akademos CEO John Squires addressed this topic during the webinar.

“The net ownership cost of textbooks is a key consideration,” commented Squires.“Often, rentals have a lower up-front cost to the student but can be more expensive long term.”

Pignatello agreed, saying “we [college administrators] have an obligation to look at the total cost of ownership, and to help our students make the right choice. Often times, buying a used book and selling it will cost less than renting.” 

To learn more about key trends and predictions on the future of textbook sales and campus bookstore services, the full presentation and recording of our "2015 College CFO Survey on Textbook Affordability and Bookstore Services” webinar session is now available for free download. 

Click here to request webinar materials

Topics: Bookstore Sales, Research