Student Spending on Textbooks Declines to $579 or Less during 2016-2017 Academic Year

Spending on course materials has declined by around 15% over the past decade

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Research from Student Monitor® and the National Association of College Stores (NACS) found that student spending on textbooks and course materials declined for the second year in a row. The Student Watch survey from NACS reported a $23 decline in spending from $602 in the 2015-2016 academic year to $579 in 2016-2017. Student Monitor reported a $64 decline from $607 in 2015-2016 academic year to $543 in 2016-2017. Spending on course materials has declined by around $100 over the past ten years (about 15%) when the average spend was between $672 and $701.

The transition to less expensive digital materials, increasing use of rental options for both print and digital materials, and a competitive retail market are among the factors that have led to the spending decline.

Both studies found the average price per unit (new, used, print, digital, or rented) was $66 during the 2016–2017 academic year. The cost of new print textbooks declined by around 13% from $91 in the 2015–2016 academic year to $80 in the 2016-2017 academic year, according to Student Monitor.

Specific reasons for the spending decline include:

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Hacks on how you can save money on textbooks

One of the biggest expenses when heading back to college is textbooks. Every quarter or semester you have to buy one hundred dollar textbooks for each class and it can prove costly.

Here are a few hacks you can use to try and save money.

  1. First and foremost, buy used- this is the quickest and easiest way to save money. Colleges will normally provide used options of textbooks, but if not, you could buy from a friend or online. Buying used could cut your price in half.
  2. Go electronic- Amazon offers a lot of great deals, including deals on eBooks. If you don’t mind reading off of your computer or tablet eBook could be a cheaper option for you than buying the textbook itself.
  3. Rent your books for the year- renting is probably the cheapest option when it comes to spending money on textbooks. On amazon books are costing more than 200 dollars to buy, but only 20 dollars to rent.

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