Reducing Textbook Costs: The John Jay College Online Bookstore

The John Jay College of Criminal Justice hosted the 13th Annual CUNY IT Conference last week, and we were thrilled to sit in on their panel, Beyond the Physical Bookstore: Realizing the John Jay College Online Bookstore.

During the panel discussion, Robert Pignatello, Senior Vice President of Finance and Administration at John Jay College, discussed the diminishing returns of a brick and mortar school bookstore for both students and for the college itself. A textbook savings committee was formed and extensive research was done to investigate options and uncover student needs. The committee found that 77% of students surveyed stated they might not buy textbooks for one or more of their classes due to the high cost of materials. Pignatello and his team realized that it was “time to do something dramatic to reduce textbook costs.”

In just two short months, John Jay and the CUNY system worked with Akademos to develop an integrated online shopping experience for students. During the summer and fall 2014 terms, the new John Jay Online Bookstore saved students over $150,000 off of publisher list price. Students took advantage of all available purchasing options— new, used, rental, and eBook—and scored deep discounts in the Marketplace. The average cost per Marketplace purchase was less than $20.

This postcard was distributed on campus to build awareness of John Jay’s new online bookstore.

Additional features of the John Jay Online Bookstore include:

Customized course list – students can login to the store with their CUNYfirst credentials to view a personalized list of all courses they are registered for, along with the required materials in various price-saving formats.

Convenient on-campus pick up – exclusive to orders placed through the online bookstore, students may chose to have their materials shipped to campus for secure and convenient retrieval.

Year-round buyback – students can sell their books back on the Marketplace at any time, and can name their own buy-back price.


For more on John Jay’s IT integration, register for our webinar, How to Implement an Online Bookstore and Reduce Textbook Costs featuring John Jay CIO Joseph Laub.


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Webinar: Key Considerations for Transitioning to an Online Bookstore

Update: If you missed this webinar, email us at to view a recorded version of the presentation.

Is an online bookstore the right choice for your school?

In Akademos’ October webinar, Jaye Lynn Bergers, Director of Procurement and Retail Services at Davenport University will share her experience implementing Akademos’ online bookstore ‘marketplace’ model. We hope you can join us.

Key Considerations for Transitioning to an Online Bookstore

Live Webinar: Wednesday, October 22 at 1:00 pm EDT

In this webinar, find out…

  • How to create an effective partnership between online and on campus bookstores
  • Operational considerations for an online bookstore
  • Best practices for faculty adoption
  • Tips for marketing to students
 Featured Speakers:

Jaye Lynn Bergers, Director of Procurement and Retail Services at Davenport University

Kirk Bodick, VP of Sales, Akademos

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Webinar: Supercharge Student Engagement Through Mobile Platforms

Update: If you missed this webinar, email us at to view a recorded version of the presentation.

Akademos is pleased to announce the first in a monthly series of webinars. For our September webinar, we’re partnering with Top Hat to share practical tips on how to leverage current mobile platform trends to improve instruction and student shopping services. We hope you can join us!

Live Webinar: Wednesday, September 24 at 1:00 pm EDT

In this webinar, see how to:

  • Engage students with innovative mobile platforms
  • Meet expectations of the BYOD (“Bring Your Own Device”) generation
  • Explore trends in the changing textbook and bookstore services marketplace
  • Deliver a superior mobile shopping experience for students

Featured speakers: 

John Squires, CEO, Akademos






Mike Silagadze, CEO, Top Hat

Naseem Saloojee,
VP of Business Development, Top Hat

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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

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: 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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