• In 2004, according the US Government Accounting Office, students spent an average of $900 per year on textbooks.

  • In 2010, according to the California Student Aid Commission  (PDF) , the yearly costs of "books and supplies" are estimated at $1,620 for each student who will take up to four classes per semester, for two semesters

  • According to the National Association of College Stores, textbook margins (difference between cost and retail price, reflecting work required to bring products to market) nationwide is about 26.9%.

  • Our Bookstore's margin is 20%. This means that if it costs our Bookstore $100 to have the book available, the retail price to students would be $125. All proceeds from the margin directly support services within Student Activities and the operations of the Campus Center. (See bookstore audit by Vavrinek, Trine, Day & Co. LLP, dated March 2010).

  • In compliance with HEOA regulations, our Bookstore provides information on all course materials adopted for use on campus through the store website westvalley.bncollege.com. Information includes author, title, ISBN, publisher, edition, new and used purchase price and new and used rental price.

How Textbooks Are Priced

Textbook Cost


How West Valley College is Keeping Textbook Costs Low

  • In cooperation with the Campus Bookstore, the College has adopted many of the recommendations provided by the State Chancellor's Office of California Community Colleges.

  • The Campus Center proceeds and support will rely on a 20% margin. The 20% margin is well below the national average.

  • The College has a "book loan" program administered through A&R where students are loaned money to purchase their textbooks and then repay that loan. Since 2007, the College has loaned more than $77,500 in loans.

2007 2008 2009 2010 (Fall)
$18,358.30 $21,751.01 $22,581.22 $14,872.28


  • Every semester, Bookstore staff assist faculty with ensuring book orders are made early enough to leverage orders among the used textbook and rental textbook market. The most cost effective types of book sales for students are used textbooks, sold at 25% of the new retail price. Students can sell their books back to the Bookstore at the end of each term for up to 50% of the purchase price. Our Bookstore also offers approximately 65% of its adopted textbook titles, new and used, for rental each term at a considerable cost savings to students. Rental books are returned to the bookstore at the end of each term.

  • Faculty are experimenting with different modes of providing access to print and online material for their courses. For example, they are working with textbook publishers to hold down costs by creating course-specific texts that include only select content (or chapters), less "bells and whistles," and less color and graphics.

  • We have the grassroots Books for Food program which represents a partnership between our students, many of our faculty, the library, and the bookstore to loan out books in exchange for food for those less fortunate.

  • The College created an Advancement Foundation endowment to help with textbook and scholarship grants. Awards are made through the college's financial aid office.

last published: 3/21/18