August 19, 2015 | by Nicole Cimo | in Commentary

The Need For a New Approach in College Textbook Services

Since 1978, college textbook prices have grown 945%, increasing 3.5X times faster than the Consumer Price Index. 


Administrators, faculty, and students are increasingly concerned about the escalating cost of textbooks. Colleges are now searching for new solutions to lower costs and support their core mission of educating students.

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

According to Naomi Baron, Executive Director of the Center for Teaching, Research, and Learning at American University, faculty members and students are in a predicament over how to handle high textbook costs. In her recent article, A Smarter Approach to College Textbooks, she goes deep into this concern, as well as spotlights how students are opting to do away with purchasing or renting textbooks all together.

The article also makes interesting suggestions on how to start addressing these issues, and the need for collaboration across faculty, students, administrators, and textbook publishers. We also think that the college bookstore service should play a key role in driving this collaboration across all campus stakeholders, and facilitating a win-win solution for each institution.

The good news for students is that many institutions across the country have acknowledged that solving the challenge of providing affordable textbooks is a key priority. In fact, a growing number of institutions have already taken action and are starting to see positive results in saving students money, improving bookstore utilization, and increasing student satisfaction.