New Survey Suggests Having a Textbook Affordability Program Lowers Textbook Costs and Increases Student and Faculty Satisfaction

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Akademos releases results of college president, provost, and chief academic officer survey on textbook affordability

The latest survey from Akademos, a leading provider of integrated online bookstores and marketplaces for educational institutions, shows that having a textbook affordability program can help lower textbook costs and increase both student and faculty satisfaction with textbook prices. However, only 16% of respondents to the College President, Provost, and Chief Academic Officer Survey on Textbook Delivery and Bookstore Services stated they had a formal program in place to help faculty select high-quality, low-cost texts.

College administrators were in agreement that textbook prices do impact retention and persistence. Student and faculty satisfaction with textbook prices were reported as extremely low, with 81% of students and 44% of faculty estimated as dissatisfied. Survey respondents reported that one-third of students are shopping outside the school bookstore for textbooks.

Key findings

  •     Obstacles to reducing textbook prices included the following: publisher price increases, no one person or department being accountable, and faculty not considering price in selecting course materials. In further exploring faculty’s role in textbook affordability, respondents were split as to whether "academic freedom” poses a challenge to advising faculty on selecting high-quality, low-cost texts.
  •     Tactics that schools reported using to lower textbook costs included: creating a textbook affordability program or committee, consulting with students about textbook affordability, and moving or discussing moving the bookstore exclusively online.
  •     The survey recommends that those colleges and universities looking to improve the affordability of textbooks as well as customer satisfaction with the bookstore formalize a textbook affordability program. A best-practices audit on how to create a textbook affordability program is included in the white paper of the survey findings.
  •     Survey respondents also reported that, on average, 73% of faculty submit textbook adoptions on time. Timely submission of book lists to the bookstore is a key strategy for improving textbook affordability as students who shop earlier for course materials typically find better prices.
  •     The survey also asked presidents, provosts, and chief academic officers when they think digital texts or eBooks would reach mass adoption by students. A majority of respondents (64%) stated that eTextbooks would surpass a 50% adoption rate by students within five years.

“With the rising emphasis on college affordability and student debt, we’re pleased to see that those institutions that take up the question of textbook affordability are having a positive impact on both faculty and students," said John Squires, CEO of Akademos. “We think that every college should be considering how to help faculty select high-quality, lower-cost teaching materials and look into the most efficient means to deliver those products to their students. Establishing a textbook affordability committee is a valuable first step in this commitment.”

To view a copy of the 2013 College President, Provost, and Chief Academic Officer Survey on Textbook Delivery and Bookstore Services, visit the Akademos resources page.

Akademos believes every student should have access to high-quality, low-cost textbooks. To learn more about online bookstore service offerings for educational institutions, visit the Akademos website.

About Akademos
Akademos offers virtual bookstore services, eLearning solutions, and an innovative textbook marketplace to schools. Its comprehensive supply-chain solution and commitment to responsive personal service make Akademos a leader in providing affordable textbooks and digital learning tools for schools. Students can choose from new, used, rental, and eBook options while schools can reduce costs and increase operating efficiency. Faculty can search, discover, and adopt new texts using the Akademos Textbook Adoption Tool at Akademos delivers the right course materials, at affordable prices, on time. Learn more about Akademos' direct-to-students ecommerce platform at and its offerings to partner schools at

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Jen Slemp
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Online Bookstore and Marketplace