College Stores Provide Students Many Ways To Save This Fall
OBERLIN, OH — It's a common misperception that the college store gouges students on textbook sales; nothing could be further from the truth. The more than 3,000 members of the National Association of College Stores explore and offer a variety of options to help students save.
College stores have implemented a number of programs in order to help students save time, anxiety, and most of all, money, when obtaining textbooks, course materials and supplies. Here are just a few of the initiatives occurring at college stores across the country this fall to help control course material costs:
- Expanding the number of rental programs. This fall textbook rental programs are now available at nearly all college stores with expanded selections of books that are available to be rented, making this a good choice for students who want to save money up front and don't wish to retain the book for future reference.
- Expanding the availability of digital options. Much more content in higher education is available digitally and most typically sold as an access code. College stores strive to provide a variety of formats and a range of price options through new and used textbooks, e-books, access codes and rentals. As for students saving money, this is dependent on what the faculty has adopted for required use in the class. Some professors and publishers rightfully claim that access to this content may not be less expensive — the access code is often packaged with a print textbook — but it is of greater value. While data from NACS’ OnCampus Research suggests that today's students still prefer the traditional print model for their textbooks, signs point to an increasing use of digital formats for course materials.
- Sourcing lower-cost textbooks. College stores are no longer limited in the number of sources they have to obtain new, used and rental course materials. Hundreds of stores have implemented sophisticated technology that helps the store locate and acquire textbooks from several trading partners, enabling them to lower the prices to students. Other software monitors market place pricing and helps dynamically adjust prices to ensure students get the most favorable price from the college store.
- Use of web-based price comparison tools. Many college stores utilize price comparison software and apps to help students see prices and order from not only the store but also several other online sellers. These tools help students make smart choices and unlike other similar price comparison websites have the local price options and show shipping and handling estimates for more accurate comparison shopping. And when students use these tools, 80 percent of the time they end up buying their books from the college store as a trusted and reliable source offering a competitive price. As college stores work to offer competitive prices to match or beat the online market, students benefit from buying the books locally (saving the environment, the hassle of shipping) and have greater confidence they are buying the right books.
- Reducing the cost of print copies of popular OpenStax College textbooks. NACS subsidiary NACSCORP recently entered into a distribution partnership with OpenStax, one of the nation's fastest-growing no cost/low cost college textbook publishers that will allow the nonprofit publisher to drop prices this school year on all its print textbooks for students and distribute them to more than 3,000 college stores.
About the National Association of College Stores
Headquartered in Oberlin, Ohio, the National Association of College Stores (NACS) is the professional trade association representing the $10 billion collegiate retailing industry. NACS represents nearly 3,000 collegiate retailers and approximately 1,000 associate members who supply books and other products to college stores. NACS member stores serve America's college students while supporting the academic missions of higher education institutions everywhere. Additional information on NACS can be found online at www.nacs.org.