Need to Buy College Textbooks? Not So Fast.

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College students report 1 in 7 times textbooks never used.

“As a social learning company, we believe this is critical insight for our students and their academic needs."

Koofers, Inc., a leading social learning company, released data today showing that college students frequently do not use the textbooks required for their classes. Data collected from 76,757 course reviews (completed by students at 357 universities) reveals that 14 percent of the time students never use the textbook for their class at any point during the semester. The college textbook market is estimated to exceed $10 billion annually, so this data suggests that as much as $1.4 billion is being wasted every year through the sale of textbooks that students never use.

Koofers added a question about textbook usage to its course rating system after students raised concerns about unused textbooks. As an advocate for improving student learning, Koofers evaluates study habits to better understand the online resources that can be provided to college students to help them achieve their academic objectives.

“We are surprised at how high this number is,” said Glynn LoPresti, CEO of Koofers. “As a social learning company, we believe this is critical insight for our students and their academic needs. Our service,, assists students with many facets of their college experience. If textbooks go unused this frequently, that’s something students really deserve to know.”

This is, of course, also an issue for the academic community and the textbook industry to examine. Over the past few years, textbook publishers and retailers have introduced less expensive methods for students to acquire their books, such as textbook rental services and electronic books. And new devices, such as the iPad from Apple and the Kindle from Amazon, also promise to revolutionize the way students buy their books. “We think these new purchase methods and devices are great for students,” continues LoPresti, “but we also wonder… will they really cause students to use their textbooks more?”

The collected data also indicated that 25 percent of the time textbooks are only used “a little,” while 28 percent of the time they are used “a good amount”, and 32 percent of the time they are used “a lot.” (Six percent of responses were not applicable.)

Koofers enables college students across the country to enhance their academic knowledge through collaboration with other students. The services provided on include: an online library of course materials, study guides, flashcards, and practice exams; professor ratings and grading histories; a visual class scheduler and course planning tools; a question and answer forum; and a textbook price comparison tool.

About Koofers, Inc.
Koofers, Inc. is a social learning company transforming higher education through student-driven, intercollegiate collaboration. Founded in 2008, Koofers empowers students to help each other learn by providing open and free access to: course materials, class and professor ratings, study aids and more. For additional information visit us online:,, and

About Koofers’ data
This data was aggregated from 76,757 course reviews submitted by users to Koofers from 2007-2010. Koofers gathers data by compiling user’s feedback provided on our services. Our analytics team uses the information provided to examine and compare user trends. Responder information is confidential and used solely for educational research into our user’s needs and preferences.


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Monica Lins
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