Spending on college textbooks is up slightly

July 24, 2013
Survey of students says they spend $662 a year on required course materials, compared with $655 a year ago.

College students estimate they spend $662 annually on required course materials, according to the latest study conducted by OnCampus Research, a division of the National Association of College Stores.

Spending is up slightly from the $655 reported a year ago, but it is less than the $702 reported five years ago.

“While any increase is tough for students, who continue to be pressured by the higher cost of attending college, it demonstrates that the money-saving strategies college stores have implemented continue to have an impact,” says Charles Schmidt, director of public relations for the association.

College stores routinely offer students the option of renting a hard copy textbook – the format preferred by 77 percent of college students. Rental programs can save a student between 45 percent 66 percent off the price of a new print textbook, the association says.

In addition, college stores have increased their stock of used textbooks, a 25 percent savings for students. In some cases, digital versions of textbooks are available; the association says that can save students 40 percent off the price of a new hard-copy version.

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