Working With, Not Against, Publishers to Safeguard Bookstore Revenue

Working With, Not Against, Publishers to Safeguard Bookstore Revenue

As more college campuses adopt online education and digital course materials, campus stores face several common challenges.

  • Disconnection from the sales process of digital materials
  • Risks posed to student data and privacy
  • Continual vetting and comparing of publishers in hopes to increase store revenue

As programs like inclusive access and equitable access grow across campuses in North America, campus stores need new solutions for managing every process — from acquisition to sales to distribution. With the ever-changing purchase options introduced by content publishers, stores also need reliable, secure software that can not only adopt new integrations but also effectively deliver student course materials on day one of class.

How can your campus store work with publishers to ensure optimal revenue and affordable student access? Here are some considerations for both safeguarding and success.

Establish Relationships With the Right Publishers

No matter what publishers or third-party content providers you partner with, establishing the right relationships is crucial. Typically, more than 60% of funds from college textbook sales go to the publisher, with the remainder distributed between the author and the campus store for profit.

With the rise of digital access, many campuses partner with third-party distributors that offer lower costs for course materials. However, working with only one third-party distributor can sometimes limit instructors in the course material options. This can ultimately hinder academic freedom to select the best learning materials for their class.

Collaborate With Faculty During Course Material Selections

Another way you can safeguard your bookstore revenue is to collaborate with faculty and education departments during course material selections. According to the 2021 NACS Faculty Report, help from campus stores is essential for faculty to better understand course material affordability. 

Typical course material selections take place among faculty and learning department committees. During a course material selection process, faculty may be in contact with publisher representatives to determine which textbook editions are most appropriate for specific courses. Relevancy, quality, and reputability are often top factors that influence material selections. Price can be left as an afterthought, which can leave instructors, students, and campus store operators wondering if selected materials are truly the best option. 

While quality and relevancy of learning content are top priorities, it’s important to educate those who oversee course materials selection. Course materials that are too expensive result in wasted dollars. On the other hand, materials that are too affordable leave campus stores at a loss. 

Bottom line: student affordability and campus store revenue should both be assessed earlier in this process. Communicate between instructors, financial aid counselors, and campus departments to consider students’ needs as well as campus store projections. This can encourage wiser material selections, resulting in better outcomes for the campus, students, and publishers.

Prioritize Inclusive Access and Equitable Access

To provide an affordable solution for students, campuses continue to implement inclusive access (IA) and equitable access (EA) programs. When done properly, prioritizing these course material delivery models can enhance your connection with publishers, safeguard your campus sales, and promote more equitable student learning outcomes. 

Instead of students turning to a buffet of outside retailers to shop for lower-priced course materials, campuses provide more convenient, affordable options through IA and EA. Inclusive access presents the option to include the cost of course materials in students’ tuition and fees — all at prices lower than the market average. Equitable access ensures low cost, campus-wide, day one course material delivery, no matter a student’s academic plan or financial standing. 

Because the cost of textbooks increased by more than 40% in recent years, colleges are quickly opting for accessible, digitally-savvy options like inclusive and equitable access. This means students get the lowest price for course materials, and your campus store benefits from centralized sales. 

Adopt an All-in-One Technology Solution for Digital Course Materials

The most important way to safeguard your campus store — from operations to student success to revenue — is to adopt the right technology that allows all of the above considerations. 

Today, higher education institutions rely on multiple learning management systems (LMS) to connect students and instructors to the course content and insights required for success. Instead of pulling from multiple publishers or a limited third-party distributor, you can implement a technology that manages all these providers at once. 

Willo Labs offers a single campus connection so your store can centralize all courseware options in one place. Students experience better IA and EA delivery, instructors choose from a wide selection of course content, and your campus benefits from a seamlessly integrated platform with any LMS — all enabled to scale with your campus operations. No access codes are required. 

To learn more about the latest technology solutions for your campus store, contact Willo Labs, the first and only platform for total digital learning access.