College CFOs Confirm Students are Shopping Outside the College Bookstore Looking for More Competitive Textbook Pricing

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Akademos Releases Results from College CFO Survey on Textbook and Bookstore Services

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College CFOs are increasingly understanding that they must focus on both the quality and the value of the services their bookstores provide—especially given that textbook costs have a significant impact on student performance.

A majority of college CFOs (89%) confirm that students are increasingly turning away from campus-based bookstores in favor of online, third-party providers that offer textbooks at lower prices, according to a new survey from Akademos, Inc., a leading provider of integrated online bookstores and marketplaces for educational institutions.

Respondents to the 2012-2013 CFO Survey on Textbook Delivery and Bookstore Services, consisting primarily of college CFOs and VPs of Finance, shared information about their current bookstore practices as well as intentions for the future. The topics included online vs. brick-and-mortar bookstores, college bookstore revenue trends, and predictions for the future of textbook sales as part of the college store business model. The survey was open to all executive-level business officers at colleges or universities in the United States and responses were received from approximately 8% of that population.

The business officers surveyed indicated that price is the dominant reason why students bypass the college bookstore (78%), with the belief that students are more inclined to purchase online a distant second (12%). On average, textbooks account for 68% of bookstore sales at the schools that responded. Of those textbook sales, approximately half were new books and one-third were used books, while rentals comprised 14% and eBooks 4%. Survey respondents indicated that more than half (56%) of textbook sales are transacted with financial aid.

Eighty-eight percent of business officers reported that they believe textbook costs impact retention and persistence. Providing students with access to high-quality, low-cost textbooks was ranked by respondents as the most important service institutions can provide regarding the sale of textbooks, followed by ensuring that all students get required textbooks in a timely manner, and providing choices in textbook formats (such as digital, rental, used, etc.).

How are college bookstore textbook sales trending given the tumultuous performance of the general book industry in recent years, including the closings of brick-and-mortar stores and sales declines? Eighty-two percent of respondents indicated textbook sales have been flat or down over the past three years. When asked to make predictions for the future of textbooks as a component of the college bookstore business model, 18% stated they believe textbooks will be sold exclusively in their school's online bookstore, and 80% believe their school will utilize both an online and brick-and-mortar store.

"Frankly, we’re surprised that only 18% of respondents predict their textbooks will be provided exclusively in an online bookstore in the future. We believe this percentage will increase in the coming years as administrators realize the cost of providing textbooks through brick-and-mortar stores is not sustainable without passing increased financial burdens onto students," said John Squires, CEO of Akademos. "College CFOs are increasingly understanding that they must focus on both the quality and the value of the services their bookstores provide—especially given that textbook costs have a significant impact on student performance."

To view a copy of the 2012-2013 College CFO 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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