AAP Endorses Conclusions of GAO Study Showing That Changes in Technologies and Student Learning Drive College Textbook Prices Report Pinpoints Market Trends

But Uses Data that Distorts Student Spending



AAP Provides Independent Data that GAO Excluded



    WASHINGTON, Aug. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- The Association of American Publishers
 (AAP) today endorsed the conclusions of a GAO study on college textbooks that
 note textbook prices have been largely driven by publishers' investments in
 additional instructional materials and new technologies.  Those investments
 were made in response to faculty needs and to enhance student success.  AAP
 did, however, express continuing concern that pricing analyses in the study do
 not provide a balanced picture of the actual costs to students, the range of
 materials available to students, or the added value those materials offer to
 faculty and students.
     "Publishers strive to continually develop materials that meet the
 ever-evolving needs of faculty and students," said Patricia Schroeder, AAP's
 president and chief executive officer.  "As GAO noted, there has been a change
 in both the characteristics of postsecondary education and the role of
 publishers.  Just look at the facts: college funding and graduation rates have
 fallen, tuition rates are soaring, and our colleges are being asked to serve
 students with diverse learning styles and a wider range of preparedness and
 skill sets.  The publishers' response has been to work with educators to
 produce new, advanced materials and integrated teaching tools that faculty use
 to tailor their materials for their students."
     "As you read through the report, you will find time and again the
 publishers' primary focus is on meeting the needs of students.  For example,
 publishers have responded to price concerns by greatly expanding the number of
 low-cost texts, including split editions, electronic books, black-and-white
 editions, custom books, abbreviated editions and complete learning packages.
 The market for these products has grown significantly in recent years.
 Publishers are also providing a wider range of instructional supplements,
 including course-management tools for faculty.  Together, these supplements
 and management tools enable faculty to teach more students and achieve better
 results.
     "Our key concern with GAO's report is that they relied on data that do not
 reflect the true cost of books to students.  Two independently derived
 estimates -- based on actual sales data from the National Association of
 College Stores (NACS) and the Association of American Publishers -- confirmed
 that the average full-time equivalent student actually spends about $580 per
 year on textbooks, far less than the $898 figure used repeatedly in GAO's
 report.  GAO's figure for the cost of books and supplies is based on
 unconfirmed estimates of student spending by those college administrators who
 complete the annual IPEDS survey.
     "By combining textbooks and supplies, GAO created an inaccurate picture of
 the actual cost of textbooks to students.  Supplies are not just pencils and
 notebooks; they may include computers, calculators, lab equipment, and other
 materials that represent at least 27 percent of total student spending on
 books and supplies.  My members do not develop or produce supplies.
     "GAO also chose to dismiss reliable survey data from Student Monitor(1)
 showing that average student spending on textbooks increased only about two
 percent annually between 1999 and 2004.  They did not factor in the amounts of
 money students receive when they sell their used textbooks.  And, when
 computing the overall cost of textbooks, the GAO did not factor in the
 increasing use of lower-cost alternatives -- a trend that the Bureau of Labor
 Statistics noted it did not track before 2001 and still may not be accurately
 reflected in its data," Mrs. Schroeder said.
 
     Note:  For further clarification see attached AAP analyses of independent
 data sources. AAP has written a letter to GAO to explain its continuing
 concerns about the report's data and how it is presented. A copy of the letter
 can be found at http://www.publishers.org/highered/topics.cfm?topicid=5
 
     About the Association of American Publishers
     The Association of American Publishers is the national trade association
 of the U.S. book publishing industry.  AAP's approximately three hundred
 members include most of the major commercial book publishers in the United
 States, as well as smaller and nonprofit publishers, university presses, and
 scholarly societies.
     For information on the Association of American Publishers and research and
 data on college textbooks and e-learning technology, please visit
 http://www.publishers.org/highered/index.cfm.
 
     (1) Student Monitor is the only nationally syndicated market research
         study of the college student market, and has been surveying students
         twice a year since 1987.  The company's clients include The New York
         Times, the Pentagon, and more than 100 of the Fortune 500(R)
         corporations.  A 2001 GAO report cited a Student Monitor study as
         drawing on a "statistically valid sample that [is] representative of a
         broad college student population in the United States."  (GAO-01-773,
         Washington, 2001, page 18.)
 
 
               Note: AAP analyses using independent data sources
  demonstrate that student spending on textbooks and supplemental educational
                   materials was approximately $580 in 2003.
 
       Chart 1: Estimated per capita spending on course materials, 2003,
              based on National Association of College Stores Data
 
      Line  Statistic                           Value        Source
      1     Course Materials purchases,
             US college stores            $6,230,000,000     NACS
      2     Online purchases of
             textbooks                      $261,000,000     Student Monitor
      3     Total spending on textbooks
             and course materials         $6,491,000,000     Line 1 + Line 2
 
      4     Full-time students, 2003 est.      8,874,000     Dept of Education
      5     Part-time students, 2003 est.      5,584,000     Dept of Education
      6     Head-count enrollment             14,458,000     Line 4 + Line 5
      7     FTE enrollment (full-time
             + 1/3 part time)                 11,056,330     Line 4 +
                                                             (Line 5/3)
 
      8     Spending on course
             materials per student                  $449     Line 3/Line 6
      9     Spending on course
             materials per FTE student              $587     Line 3/Line 7
 
 
     Source: The National Association of College Stores (NACS) surveys college
 stores annually and collects data on actual sales of course materials.
 "Course materials" are mainly textbooks, but also include locally-produced
 "course packs" of readings assigned by professors for individual courses.  For
 2003-04, NACS estimated that U.S. college stores sold about $6.2 billion worth
 of course materials.
 
     -- Student Monitor, an independent research firm, surveys college students
        twice a year, and estimates that students purchased $260 million worth
        of textbooks online in 2003.
 
     -- Adding $6.2 billion sold in stores and $260 million spent online yields
        an estimate of $6.5 billion, or $587 per full-time equivalent (FTE)
        student.
 
     The table summarizes the statistics used to derive the estimate.
 
 
           Chart 2: Estimated per capita spending on textbooks, 2003,
                based on Association of American Publishers Data
 
      Line  Statistic                              Value       Source
      1     New textbook sales (wholesale)    $3,007,600,000   AAP
      2     Average margin on new books                   23%  NACS
      3     Average markup on new books                   30%  Line 2/1-Line 2
      4     Total spending on new books (est.)
             at bookstores                    $4,289,000,000   Line 1/
                                                                1-Line 3
      5     % used books (retail)                       29.8%  Bowker (MIR)
      6     Total spending on textbooks at
             bookstores, including used books $6,110,000,000   Line 4/1-Line 5
      7     Online purchases                    $261,000,000   Student Monitor
      8     Total spending on textbooks       $6,371,000,000   Line 6 + Line 7
 
      9     Full-time students, 2003 est.          8,874,000   Dept of
                                                                Education
     10     Part-time students, 2003 est.          5,584,000   Dept of
                                                                Education
     11     Head-count enrollment                 14,458,000   Line 9 + Line 10
     12     FTE enrollment (full-time +
             1/3 part time)                       11,056,330   Line 9 +
                                                               (Line 10/3)
     13     Spending on textbooks per student           $441   Line 8/Line 11
     14     Spending on textbooks per
             FTE student                                $576   Line 8/Line 12
 
 
     Source:  The Association of American Publishers (AAP) reports its members'
 total actual sales by subject area.  In 2003, U.S. publishers sold
 approximately $3.0 billion worth of new higher education books, primarily
 textbooks sold to college bookstores.  According to NACS, college stores'
 average profit margin for new college textbooks is 23%, equivalent to an
 average markup of 30%.  A 30% average markup on $3.0 billion implies a retail
 market of $4.3 billion for new textbooks.
 
     -- R.R. Bowker, through its MIR division, reports data on actual retail
        textbook sales at college stores representing about half the U.S.
        market.  In 2003, used textbooks represented 29.8% of textbook sales at
        college stores.   If the new textbook market is $4.3 billion at retail,
        and used books represent 29.8% of all sales of textbook at college
        stores, total sales of textbooks through college stores are $4.3
        billion / 70.2%, or $6.1 billion.
 
     -- Student Monitor, an independent research firm, surveys college students
        twice a year, and estimates that students purchased $260 million worth
        of textbooks online in 2003.
 
     -- Adding $6.1 billion sold in stores and $260 million spent online yields
        an estimate of $6.4 billion, or $576 per full-time equivalent (FTE)
        student.
 
        The table summarizes the statistics used to derive the estimate.
 
 

SOURCE Association of American Publishers

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