Study: Spending on Course Materials Continues to Drop

July 22, 2015

College students spent less on textbooks in fall 2014 than they did in 2009, even though they bought just as many course materials, according to a study released by the National Association of College Stores. That development is fueled by a number of factors, including the rise of open educational resources, the growth of the rental textbook market and growing faculty awareness of the cost of course materials. Overall student spending on course materials continued its steady decline last academic year. The average student spent $563, a 20 percent drop compared to the 2007-08 academic year.

College bookstores remain the No. 1 destination for course materials, with 66 percent of respondents saying that's where they make their purchases. Amazon is drawing closer, however, with 42 percent of respondents naming the retailer as their go-to outlet for textbooks and other course materials. In the rental market, both Amazon and campus bookstores hold smaller shares -- 28 percent and 45 percent, respectively, while textbook and student services provider Chegg takes 19 percent. The full report is available for purchase from the NACS.

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