For that reason, I suggest you trust this report only as far as you can throw me.
I am calling BS on this report because for example, it says more students are buying more course materials from college bookstores than ever before, while at the same time buying less from Amazon:
And another section said that Amazon’s share of the money spent on course materials did not increase over the past year:
While there’s a chance this is true, the data contradicts other trends we have observed in the college retail market, and elsewhere.
Sure, those trends refer to broader college retail while this survey focuses on just the sale of course materials, so both could be true. But even if that is the case the NACS is still guilty of lying with statistics. Focusing on a small niche where the news is good and ignoring the broader market trends presents a distorted view of the market. At the very least it is a lie of omission.
But TBH I don’t think it is a lie of omission; instead I think the entire report is suspect because of the source:
Data from the Student Watch survey was collected by OnCampus Research, the research arm of indiCo, a subsidiary of the National Association of College Stores. More than 41,000 responses were collected for the two-wave study. The margin of error is <1.0 at the 95% confidence level.
This survey report from NACS is as suspect as the report from late last year which claimed that books were getting longer, but for different reasons.
In that earlier case the source of the data was in it for the publicity, but in the case of this report on student buying habits we have what appears to be an industry trade group telling its members what they want to hear.
For that reason, you can’t trust the data.
image by visual.dichotomy