New reports show that openly licensed resources and other cost saving behaviors are making an impact on the high cost of textbooks. Business Wire reported that student spending on textbooks and course materials has declined by approximately 15% over the last decade or $100. In 2016-2017 the average spending on textbooks and course materials was approximately $543. Various reports contribute this decline to more smarter student behaviors rather than a decline in textbook pricing (Business Wire).
According to the National Association of College Stores, while the overwhelming majority of college students purchase new traditionally copyrighted textbooks, 25% of students in spring 2017, and up from 19% in 2016, accessed free course materials.
Source: National Association of College Stores
The increase in the use of free course materials is most likely related to the OER outreach efforts taking place at many colleges and universities. In its 2016-2017 Connect OER Report, SPARC found that among its member institutions of higher education, libraries are the most engaged institutional sources of OER information, and about half of the institutions have a staff or faculty with OER related responsibilities (SPARC, 2017). The survey conducted by SPARC of its members also found that the most common OER program is funded through grants, with most of them beginning in 2016 and 2017 (SPARC, 2017).
Source: Connect OER Annual Report, SPARC, 2016-2017