Wednesday, August 22, 2012

NACS Study: A Comprehensive Analysis on Textbooks and Course Materials, 2012

An annual study from the National Association of College Stores on student attitudes and perceptions.
Highlights outlined in their press release include (NACS):
  • Students estimate spending $655 (down from $667) on required course materials within the past twelve months. An average of 57% is spent at the college store either in store or online.
  • Prior to the start of the term, the majority of students (47%) go to their physical campus bookstore or to their campus bookstore’s web site to find information about which required course materials they need for class.
  • Approximately 67%--up from 57% of students report regularly (“often” and “always”) comparison shopping for required course materials.
  • Students indicated that the most important factor when deciding if they will purchase required course materials for a class is the price of the course materials. In previous studies the two most important factors were linked to the class itself - the extent to which there are assignments, exams, or in-class work based on the course materials and whether the class falls within their major of study—these have now fallen to the second and third most important factors.
  • Interestingly, given the importance of price, most students rarely or never consider the cost of course materials when deciding on a career, major, or which courses to take.
  • Students rated the confidence they are getting the lowest possible price as the most important factor when considering where to purchase their required course materials.
  • If students decided not to purchase their required course materials, the top three reasons selected were price (22%), didn’t want it/didn’t think they would need it (19%), and already owned the textbook/materials (17%).
  • Of students who say they have purchased required course materials from an online source within the past 12 months, approximately 23% (up from 19%) say they experienced a delay in expected order delivery.
  • Approximately 24% (up from 18%) of students wait until after classes begin to purchase their required course materials. Only 13% of students purchase their required course materials a month or more before classes start.
  • Approximately 20% of students reported renting textbooks for the fall 2011 term.
  • Seventeen percent of students own an eReader device. Of those owners, 39% purchased it for school use.
  • The most common ways students are accessing digital/electronic textbooks include purchasing a pin code or access code at the college or university bookstore (57%—up from 51% in 2010) purchasing an e-text directly from a publisher (42%) and accessing electronically through a course management system or professor web site (e.g., WebCT, Blackboard) (34%--down from 42%).
  • According to students, professors utilizing required course materials continues to decline—to 75% from 79% in 2010, and 81% in 2008.
  • Fifty-six percent of students use a smart phone as their primary mobile phone.
Student WatchTM Student Attitudes and Perceptions:
Linking Course Materials to the Connected College Student A Comprehensive Analysis on Textbooks and Course Materials, 2012
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