Course Materials Affordability at Bronco Bookstore 2011-2012

As we head into a new academic year, Bronco Bookstore is once again ready to offer our Cal Poly Pomona students a range of affordable options for accessing the textbooks and course materials they need to learn and succeed in their coursework. We understand the strain that textbook prices can put on student resources already stretched thin by rising fees and a troubled economy, and we want students to be able to afford and use their materials. Used books, rental books, customized books, alternate bindings or print versions, CourseSmart and CengageBrain ebooks are all available through our store and on our website, and we encourage faculty to make thoughtful choices about affordable materials.

Used Books:
Used books continue to make up 45% of our total textbook sales/rentals, and we forecast the same for the coming year. Used books typically save students 25% vs. the new purchase price, and depending on the buyback value of a given book at the end of the quarter, the total net cost of purchasing a used book may end up being just 25-40% of the new book.

Renting a used book from our store saves students the most compared to a new book, so our efforts to provide as many used copies as possible are also crucial to the ongoing success of our rental program.

Rental Books:
Since we debuted our new rental program in Fall 2010, Bronco Bookstore’s rental textbooks have saved CPP students hundreds of thousands of dollars while maintaining textbook margins that are sustainable for the store. Our rental textbooks save students 30-65% compared to purchasing a new book, depending on whether the rented copy is new or used.

For 2011-2012 we are working to expand our rental offerings to a greater percentage of adopted titles and available books:

  Total rentable titles available Total rentable copies available Total Rented Rentable titles/adopted titles Books rented/total books sold and/or rented
Fall 2010 445 12,225 3576 23% 7%
Fall 2011 goals 700 20,000+ 7000+ 40% 15-20%


Alternate Format Options & Customization:
Several publishers now offer 'value' versions of their texts – often briefer or printed with less color – that can cost up to 70% less than the full color hardback text marketed nationally. We encourage faculty to adopt "value" textbooks wherever appropriate.

Even when a 'regular' text is adopted, many are now offered in less expensive formats, i.e. looseleaf or 'binder ready' that retain the exact same content and pagination but cost students 20-30% less than the bound version. In those cases we carry the looseleaf version along side the regular version to give students the power to decide between the two.

Another affordable option we encourage faculty to consider is customizing published texts to use just the material covered in the course. Depending on the agreement with the publisher this can reduce textbook costs from 20-30%. We will even buy back custom books and sell used copies if they are re-adopted and in saleable condition.

Custom Publishing On Campus
Our in-house custom publishing service is another cost-saving solution for faculty who can author their own materials rather than adopting published textbooks. We take care of all required copyright clearances for course-packs, and make all the arrangements for Graphics to produce faculty materials for sale here at the store. Where a nationally produced and marketed hardback textbook may cost between $100-$200 depending on the discipline, our most expensive faculty authored title sells for less than $40.

Digital Materials
Bronco Bookstore started selling Jumpbook digital textbooks in Winter 2007. Initially there were very few titles available in digital format – only 10 the first quarter we offered them. Over the years that's grown as the catalog was added to the Jumpbooks program – now we offer hundreds of titles a quarter. To date, students only buy 100-200 e-books a quarter, but they now have more choices than ever before.

Interactive courseware/learning management (MyLab/Connect/WileyPlus) sites designed to accompany specific texts have grown much faster than pure e-books. Access codes for these sites can range from $35-$100, but because they often include an embedded e-book the access code may be all a student needs to purchase even if there is a textbook/code bundle. We always make standalone codes available for purchase individually as well as the adopted bundles, and for some courses we may sell several hundred codes a quarter.

CourseSmart/Jumpbook e-book titles available for Fall 2011 through our POS system: 277
Cengage Brain e-book titles: 80
Interactive courseware access codes available: 60

Report prepared by: Suzanne Donnelly, Associate Director, Bronco Bookstore