The two most important factors that are reshaping the textbook market are economics and technology. The expensive price tag on textbooks is motivating students to find alternatives on the internet or to all together forgo required textbooks.
According to the National Survey of Student Engagement, approximately one out of four freshman don’t buy required textbooks because of their price. When they asked seniors about buying textbooks, they discovered that only one out of three bought their textbooks and the trend may be growing.
The internet has been a major disruption to the textbook market, introducing retailers such as Amazon and eBay. Students no longer feel forced to buy their textbooks from campus stores and they have found out that they usually get better deals online, whether it is through buying, renting, sharing, or illegal copying.
The Chronicle recently conducted focus groups with undergraduates at Foothill College and the University of California at Berkely to identify the different ways that students are buying their textbooks. Over a dozen students participated at each university, covering a range of majors.
Check out The Chronicle’s article to see how these students are getting their textbooks: