Suggestions for Reducing the Cost of Textbooks
- Early and on-time textbook requisitions allow for increased availability of used versions. The earlier the bookstore knows what needs to be ordered, the earlier it can seek used copies from wholesale vendors. Additionally, textbooks are only added to the internal buyback list once official requisitions are completed. Increasing the availability of used copies is the easiest way to help students save.
- Be aware of the "bundle impact." Limiting the number of components in a bundle can reduce costs, limit the time it takes a publisher to process an order, and facilitate end of the semester buyback. Please include only those study guides/aids, web access codes, and additional materials that your students will utilize and will add truly needed value to your course.
- Encourage publishers to "guarantee" the availability of an edition for a specific period of time (e.g., 3-5 years). Discourage publishers from making unnecessary new editions and mid-year edition changes. The bookstore can offer "guaranteed buyback" status when all parties sign off on using an edition for 3 or more years.
Consider customized editions at reduced costs. "No frills/readers digest" text options can significantly reduce prices (soft cover, no color, etc.). Also, many publishers allow unutilized chapters to be deleted from a text as a means to slightly reduce costs. It is crucial that price and availability guarantees are obtained in these situations. Note: the return privileges on custom texts are strictly limited by publishers (your enrollment estimates are crucial).
Carefully identify which texts are required and which texts are optional. Students rely on the required/optional information supplied by the bookstore (which is taken from the faculty requisition form). This helps guarantee the students initially utilize their financial resources to buy their required texts.
Where two or more options from different publishers are equivalent, congruent with the course needs and factually sound, the less expensive text should be strongly considered.
Where it makes sense, attempt to use texts for two or more courses in a series. The net cost per course is reduced and the buyback potential is increased.
Be aware of the impact of ordering unnecessary, complimentary examination copies. Although publishers offer copies at no charge, they often incorporate those costs into the student text prices. Consider donating unneeded copies toward student gift certificates.
Have publisher representatives provide a "cost to the bookstore" price quote. Communicate the quoted price to the bookstore to ensure accuracy. If issues arise, concerns should be directed to your vendor representative and the bookstore.
Consider placing a copy of your textbook on reserve in the library. The bookstore and library can assist in this process.
The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges
National Association of College Stores / California Association of College Stores