Digital Course Materials Are at a Tipping Point

students with tablet and computerTipping points can be defined by a series of changes, often small ones, that become critical enough to bring about an unstoppable change. The use of digital course materials in colleges and universities is already at its tipping point.

The Proof is in the Numbers

Aggregate data across all Akademos partner institutions for the Fall Term 2017 highlights that 15% of all course material unit sales were exclusively digital (i.e., eBooks or digital courseware). That’s almost double the data obtained from the prior year.  In addition, another 10% to 15% were bundles with a digital component (for example, a loose-leaf textbook coupled with digital courseware). In the future, those sales could easily shift to pure digital units. Whereas in 2015 the overall digital penetration was less than 10%, by the end of 2017, digital unit usage was close to 30%.

But our data isn’t the only proof. Consider the findings of the National Association of College Stores (NACS) which has been a long-time thought leader in the areas of course materials and bookstore services. NACS found that during the Fall Term 2016, nearly a quarter (23%) of all students who purchased at least one course material obtained a digital unit. That’s an increase of 53% from the previous year.

 Meanwhile, in the spring 2017 edition of Student Monitor’s twice annual LIFESTYLE & MEDIA survey, the organization shared that 26% of students claim to have purchased an eTextbook (combining unlimited and limited use). Student Monitor is a nationally recognized, leading research service that specifically targets the college student market.

How to Prepare for an Increasingly Digital Future

With all of this evidence at hand, it’s easy to see: The use of digital course materials and online bookstore services is rising steadily. To effectively plan for the future, colleges and universities need to think outside of the concept of a traditional bookstore and, instead, offer a more forward-thinking solution. 

A comprehensive Course Materials Platform (CMP) ™ is a  complete educational platform that provides students with a variety of ways to obtain both print materials (new, used, and rental) and digital content  (from static to fully immersive, the use of access codes and more). It allows institutions to manage the ordering, delivery and tracking of course materials use through an online platform that is designed to address current needs and trends, while planning for the needs of an increasingly digital future.

This not only prepares an institution for an increasingly digital future, it also provides students with a wider variety of course materials at lower prices than standard textbooks, and provides institutions with one thing a traditional bookstore can’t – valuable, immediate data about student purchasing and use behavior. Armed with this data, colleges and universities can make more informed decisions about course materials adoptions in the future, thus ensuring student success and that of the institution.  

To learn more about digital course materials trends, and how utilizing a Course Materials Platform can benefit your institution, request our eBook, The Future of Course Materials is Now  or contact us for more information.

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