OER, Rental and Subscriptions Push College Textbooks’ Business to a Further Decline


IBL News | New York

College students are increasingly taking advantage of the lower-cost digital textbooks, rental and subscription programs, and OER (open educational resources).

As a result of it, the average student spending on textbooks and course materials continued to decline during the fall semester of 2019, dropping 23 percent compared to the same term last year, according to research firm Student Monitor.

The average learner spent $205 to buy or rent course materials during the fall term, a decrease from $265 for the previous fall term in 2018.

Spending on learning materials has consistently declined over the past five years. A recent report from Student Watch (funded by the National Association of College Stores) showed a drop of 35 percent. The new data is part of a multi-year trend.

Student Watch’s methodology involved a survey of more than 20,000 students across 42 institutions.

“When it comes to acquiring course materials students have more choice – and more affordable alternatives – than ever, including rental options for both print and digital materials, loose-leaf versions and creative new distribution models such as inclusive access and subscription services,” explained Kelly Denson, Senior Director, Education Policy and Programs at AAP (Associations of American Publishers)