Akademos Awards Nine Textbook Scholarships

Akademos, Inc., has recognized nine students at colleges across the country for their creativity in this year’s Akademos/TextbookX Textbook Scholarship Contest. The first place winner, two runner-up winners, and six honorable mention winners all received a textbook scholarship to apply towards course materials for fall 2014.

To participate in the contest, students posed with their favorite book and submitted their self-taken photos with a creative caption to the TextbookX Facebook page.  After uploading their#BookShelfie —a play on the word “bookshelf” and the social media “selfie” trend— students encouraged friends and family to vote for their entry.

The scholarship contest winners were announced on August 12th, during what Akademos has designated as “Textbook Affordability Week.”  Textbook Affordability Week was developed to educate students about the benefits of shopping for textbooks early in the back to school shopping season, when prices are the most competitive.

After most college Spring terms end and right before fall term begins, the market is flooded with used books that students have sold back into circulation as part of textbook buy-back initiatives, thereby increasing inventory and decreasing book costs. College students who buy earlier in the summer are more likely to find discounts on textbooks.

The Akademos / TextbookX Textbook Scholarship winners are listed below:

  •     Grand Prize Winner ($500 Textbook Scholarship)– Faizan Haque, University of California Irvine
  •     Runner Up ($250 Textbook Scholarship) – Chrissi Lopez, Fort Myers Institute of Technology
  •     Runner Up ($250 Textbook Scholarship) – Michelle Stock, Millikin University

Our honorable mention winners, awarded with a $25 textbook scholarship, were:

  •     Honorable Mention – Holly Tidwell, Union College of Kentucky
  •     Honorable Mention – Tori Thoutt, University of Northern Colorado
  •     Honorable Mention – Tiffany Latshaw, Central College
  •     Honorable Mention – Katie Perry, Columbia International University
  •     Honorable Mention – Breanna Berry, Hamline University
  •     Honorable Mention – Joy Law, Columbia International University

To view the entries, visit http://textbookx.com/scholarship.

Akademos / TextbookX would like to thank all students for entering their fall 2014 Textbook Scholarship Photo Contest. To stay updated on TextbookX Scholarship opportunities, like TextbookX on Facebook.

 

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New Additions to the Akademos Sales Team

In order to help us accommodate our rapid sales growth, I am pleased to announce the addition of two new Senior Regional Sales Managers, Leslie Sands and Shana Neely to the Akademos team.

With over 35 years of collective education sales experience, Leslie and Shana are well positioned to work with the increasing number of prospective institutions seeking to partner with Akademos to provide innovative online bookstore solutions.

Both our new team members come to us from the Pearson Learning Solutions Strategic Partnerships Group. In their previous roles as Executive Directors, they worked with Presidents, Chancellors, Provosts and other Academic leadership to develop cutting edge content solutions for large Universities, Colleges and System Offices such as the Kentucky Community & Technical College System, Tennessee Board of Regents and West Virginia University at Parkersburg.

In addition, during their education sales careers they have created partnerships with major Higher Education institutions such as the Louisiana Community and Technical College System (LCTCS), Community College of the District of Columbia (CCDC), Pennsylvania Department of Education and The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE), delivering online learning programs for universities, community colleges and adult education.

Leslie is based out of Virginia and will be covering the Mid-Atlantic States while Shana will cover the South out of her Mississippi home base.

With these new additions to our existing stellar sales team, we are well positioned to continue and accelerate our engagements with major Higher Ed institutions.

Please join me in welcoming Leslie and Shana to Akademos!

Visit our careers page to learn more about job opportunities with Akademos.

 

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In Case You Missed It: NACUBO Session Wrap-Up

On Tuesday, we lead a NACUBO discussion with an audience of college CFOs regarding the future of online college bookstores.

Jaye Lynn Bergers, Director of Bookstores and Merchandising Operations at Davenport University, joined us to share her experience with implementing a “marketplace model” to deliver cost savings and a seamless online shopping experience for students.

In just five months after launching an online bookstore, Davenport students have saved close to $1,000,000 on textbooks and course materials. How did they achieve this success?

What are some steps your school can take to go beyond the brick and mortar bookstore?

View the step by step guide from our NACUBO presentation:

Key Considerations for Implementing an Online Bookstore

 

 

 

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Coming Soon to NACUBO: How to Implement a Bookstore ‘Marketplace’ Model

The Akademos team is on the road again. This time, we’re headed to present a breakout session and exhibit at  NACUBO 2014 in Seattle. Be sure to stop by booth #1100 or set up a custom demo.

We hope you can join us for our presentation Implementing a Bookstore ‘Marketplace’ Model on Tuesday, July 22 at 9:45 AM.

Session Overview: 

We have all witnessed how third-party retail web sites have changed the way students shop for textbooks. Marketplaces, made popular by e-commerce sites such as Amazon, connect third-party sellers with consumers, usually at a lower cost to the consumer. Institutions that can implement this model, including processing financial aid payments, can gain a competitive edge in the textbook business without passing increasing costs on to their students.

In this session, you will learn practical steps to leverage the marketplace shopping trend, and ultimately, how to drive traffic back to your school-sanctioned bookstore. Discover how two institutions applied the ‘marketplace’ model to their bookstores with the goals of improving student satisfaction and recapturing lost consumers.

Featured Speakers:

 Joining us will be representatives from two of our partner schools: JayeLynn Bergers, Director of  Bookstores and Merchandising Operations at Davenport University and Labouré College’s CFO Mark Virello.

Mark your Calendar!

Registered for NACUBO?  Don’t forget to add this session to your virtual agenda. See you in Seattle!

 

 

 

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TextbookX Launches Second Annual Scholarship Contest

 

TextbookX, the Akademos direct-to-student ecommerce platform, is pleased to announce its second annual textbook scholarship photo contest.

To enter for a chance to win, students are encouraged to upload a #BookShelfie (defined as a “selfie” with his/her favorite book) to the TextbookX Scholarship Contest Page today through August 8th.

The entry with the most votes at the end of the contest period will win! Both the Grand Prize Winner (who will receive a $500 textbook scholarship) and Runner-Up Winner(s) (who will receive a $250 textbook scholarship) will be announced during the week of August 11th.

 

The TextbookX Mission:  TextbookX.com is dedicated to finding students the lowest price for their books. TextbookX offers new, used, eBook and rental options to customers nationwide from a variety of sellers on the TextbookX Marketplace. The average savings on marketplace books is 60% off list price. TextbookX also offers students a year-round buyback program where they earn up to two times more than standard buyback prices.

 

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Laboure College’s use of Akademos Virtual Bookstore Featured in Business Officer Magazine

A recently published article in the May issue of Business Officer Magazine (“Livening Up the Shelves,” by Apryl Motley) profiles three institutions who have found innovative content delivery methods— online and on campus— to stock their bookstore shelves:

  • Labouré College, Massachusetts: Six years ago, they partnered with Akademos and became “early adopters” of the online bookstore.  Today, they have managed to buck the textbook inflation trend. Labouré CFO Mark Virello reports average book costs have remained flat—a big win for students.
  • Broward College, Florida:  Across its six bookstores, they have adopted several alternative low-cost textbook options including rentals, eBooks, and customized content. George G. Masforroll, associate vice president for auxiliary services, believes superior customer service is the key to staying competitive with outside sellers.
  • University of Colorado, Boulder: In conjunction with the disability services office, CU-Boulder has implemented a new tool to meet the growing demand for textbooks and course materials in alternative formats.

Similar to what we’ve seen in our own surveys, the article confirms that price is top of mind for many students shopping for course materials. Our partner schools can attest to two trends mentioned here: the price of education is on the rise and students are becoming savvier shoppers. Many students today are leaving the bookstore to shop for cheaper textbook alternatives, if they are looking to purchase or rent their course materials at all.  In order to keep up, institutions nationwide must find a way to compete in the market.

For the full article, click here.

To learn more about the Labouré College virtual bookstore, visit the Akademos Partner Schools page.

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Davenport students cut shopping time and save $550,000 in first term

Last year Davenport University came to us with a problem–their students were complaining about high textbook costs. Davenport had made the transition to an online bookstore for its 12 campuses in 2010, but the growth of online buying options was putting continual pressure on the school to find a better way to lower the cost of course materials in order to satisfy their students.

Akademos worked with Davenport to develop a new shopping experience for students, integrating course information and financial aid to give Davenport students a unique, personalized store. The new store dramatically reduced student shopping time and the integrated marketplace provided highly competitive pricing for students. Store utilization and overall student satisfaction have both improved since the launch of the new DU Online Bookstore.

 

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New Student PIRGs Survey Confirms High Textbook Costs Impact Course Selection and Student Success

If you’re not aware of the work of the U.S. PIRG Education Fund & The Student PIRGs (Public Interest Research Groups), you should be.  Among other initiatives, they focus efforts on making higher education more affordable.

They’ve recently released a new study on the textbook market and the rising impact of cost to students.

I’ve included a link to their study below, but here are a few of the items in the report that jumped out to me:

  • The cost of textbook and course materials continues to rise; the average student today spends up to $1,200 per year.
  • High textbook costs impact a student’s decision on whether or not to purchase textbooks for a course. Sixty-five percent of all students decide to not to buy a textbook for at least one of their courses.  This decision will also play into their academic preparedness and success.
  • Just as troubling, nearly 50% of the students surveyed indicated that textbook costs influence which and how many courses they take.
  • Used textbook and rental purchases help mitigate costs, but the proliferation of new editions drive up pricing for these solutions as well.
  • There continues to be strong student interest in utilizing Open Education Resources/Textbooks for their courses via electronic access with optional print purchase, as they can potentially save a student $100 per course.  In an effort to make OER materials more widespread, the study includes a call to action for faculty to consider the use of OERs for their courses.

These are just some of the key findings in the recent Student PIRGs report.  I urge you to read it for yourself and share your thoughts with me. The full report can be found at: http://studentpirgs.org/reports/sp/fixing-broken-textbook-market

You can also check out our recent survey of college presidents, provosts, and chief academic officers to see how institutional textbook affordability initiatives positively impact student retention, persistence and satisfaction. This report can be found under White Papers on our Resources page.

 

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Saint Leo University has mastered textbook affordablity

President Dr. Arthur F. Kirk, Jr. provides some excellent tips in this article on how the university has made its textbooks more affordable.  Check out his tips on how they accomplished this here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-arthur-f-kirk-jr/textbooks-costs-continue-_b_4612606.html.  This is exactly the kind of advice we offered in our recent survey of Presidents, Provosts and CAOs.  For the complete report see:  http://www.akademos.com/blog/2013/12/learn-how-to-lower-textbook-costs-while-increasing-student-and-faculty-satisfaction-at-your-school/.

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Learn how to lower textbook costs while increasing student and faculty satisfaction at your school

We are pleased to announce that our college President, Provost, and CAO survey on textbook trends is now complete!

What did we find? Schools with textbook affordability programs report lower textbook costs, as well as higher student and faculty satisfaction with textbook costs.

The bad news? Only 16% of schools surveyed reported having a formal textbook affordability program.

The good news? Our report includes some simple tips for starting and/or optimizing a textbook affordability program at your school.

Below are some additional key findings:

  • 93% of respondents agree that textbook costs impact retention and persistence/completion.
  • The majority of faculty and students are dissatisfied with textbook prices.
  • Obstacles to reducing textbook costs included the perception that publisher prices are increasing, that no one person or department is accountable, and that faculty don’t consider price in selecting appropriate texts.

As you may recall, in our CFO Survey on Textbook Delivery and Bookstore Services, 89% of respondents confirmed that students were leaving the campus-based bookstore to shop elsewhere.  High cost is the leading factor that’s driving students away.

A big thank you to our 500 participants for their time and feedback- we couldn’t have done it without you. If you were unable to participate in our last survey – email us! We’d love to hear your opinion on textbook delivery and the future of bookstore services.

You can download the executive summary white paper from our Resources page.

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