College Course Materials Providers Take Aim at Costs

Press Release
Dec 5, 2018
Stamford, CT, December 5, 2018 – That college students have been spending less on college course materials in recent years has been well documented.

What is less recognized is how much college publishers are contributing to the reduced spending.

“By 2017, it became more obvious that publishers were beginning to adjust their strategies relative to the issue of affordability,” said Kathy Mickey, senior analyst and managing editor of the Education Group at Simba Information. “For years, publishers had stressed the value of their products to students and to instructors. By 2017, they began in earnest to address the issue of cost. That focus continued in 2018 and is moving into 2019, as well.”

Publishers are addressing the cost factor in two potentially market-changing ways: driving digital uptake through inclusive access programs and accommodating a lingering print preference through print textbook rental programs.

The newly released State of College Course Materials 2017-2018 from Simba Information examines the rise of inclusive access and textbook rentals in the estimated $3.3 billion higher education new course materials market.

Inclusive access—where publishers partner with instructors, departments or institutions to provide digital course materials on the first day of classes—is not a new concept, but in 2017 it became newly popular with publishers and institutions looking to address issues of costs facing students.

Publishers also are looking for ways to tie into the growth of open educational resources, something students also increasingly are embracing because of the low cost or free nature of the resources. OER in an online format most frequently can be accessed at no cost.

The State of College Course Materials 2017-2018 examines the changing dynamics of the higher education market, how the changes impact the course materials industry, and how the industry is responding to the changes. Among the other impacts addressed in the report are:

  • Growth in the appeal of distance learning for college students;
  • Tepid state fiscal support for higher education;
  • Breakdown of the college course material market by segments (new course materials, print textbooks, etextbooks, digital media, used textbooks and total market) for 2016, 2017 with 2018 projections;
  • Declining enrollment; and
  • A competitive analysis of four leading course materials providers.

For more information on Simba’s new report, State of College Course Materials 2017-2018, visit: or call (US): 888.297.4622 (Int): +1.240.747.3091

About Simba Information

Simba Information is widely recognized as the leading authority for market intelligence in the media and publishing industry. Simba's extensive information network delivers top quality, independent perspective on the people, events and alliances shaping the media and information industry. Simba publishes newsletters and research reports that provide key decision-makers at more than 15,000 client companies.

Int'l: +1.240.747.3091
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