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COVID-19 Severely Impacts Back To School Textbook Industry Reports

July 30, 2020 GMT

SAN DIEGO, July 30, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The college textbook industry is shifting as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Prices and new textbook purchases are increasing while rentals and used book sales are declining reports new data from, the leading textbook price comparison website that tracks over eight million college textbooks.

  • REMOTE LEARNING IMPACTS BOOK SALES: College students are preparing for online and remote learning before many schools and bookstores make official decisions about re-opening.
    • The site reports a 125% increase in searches in June over the previous year, a trend that started to appear in April, the early days of the pandemic. In April there was a 50% increase in online searches from the previous year.
    • Online book sales are rising and are expected to increase as students stay out of physical bookstores and remain home.
  • PRICE INCREASES: In June, average prices were up 27% year over year, meaning that textbook companies are aware of the opportunity to reach remote learners and are capitalizing on it.
  • NEW TEXTBOOK PURCHASES LINKED TO COVID FEARS: In April, new textbook purchases accounted for approximately 47% of market share and were up 30% from the previous year. Used textbooks and rentals, previously on the rise, have dipped significantly, down 30% and are likely attributed to fears about contamination of pre-used books.
    • Textbook prices will continue to rise or stabilize, reversing the price decreases of the last couple of years, and new textbooks will take a larger share of the market as remote learning kicks into high gear leaving students with fewer choices for where to get supplies.
    • Online sales will surge through summer and early fall especially if students stay home or have fears about entering crowded bookstores, or if more universities switch to remote learning.
    • Used textbooks and rental sales will continue to decrease in the short term or for as long as the virus is disruptive.


“The pandemic has disrupted almost every business and the textbook industry is no different. Especially as the anxiety around ‘back to school’ continues to rise. Students are taking matters into their own hands and buying books now in anticipation of remote learning,” said Alex Neal, CEO and founder of “It’s caused a drastic shift in trends – moving away from used textbooks and rentals and an increase in new books and more online sales. Campus bookstores as we know them may be a thing of the past.”


The data is based on’s textbook sales and searches in 2019 and 2020. During that time over 1.4 million students visited CampusBooks to research and compare prices about textbook options. Overall, is registering strong traffic that continues to increase since the lockdown began across the country.

ABOUT CAMPUSBOOKS carries over eight million new and used college textbooks in one convenient location. The online resource searches thousands of sellers and compares prices on new and used books, rentals and eBooks for students. For more information, visit

Paramount Public Relations, Inc.
Jessica Prah, 312-953-3257,

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