Will you save on textbooks this spring?

NOTE: The opt out period for this spring is Dec. 11 to Jan. 24, 2024.

It’s no secret that textbooks are expensive, but did you know that textbook prices in the US are increasing at almost 3 times the inflation rate?

The cost of textbooks can present a huge burden to students and families. That’s why in fall 2023, Barnes & Noble Charlotte launched the Niner Course Pack, a textbook rental program to make course materials more affordable for Charlotte students.

The program groups the materials for all your classes into one rental bundle and charges a flat rate based on your credit hours.

Most Charlotte students are automatically enrolled at the start of each semester, but you always have the option to opt out before the deadline. So now you have a choice to make for spring 2024 – do you stay enrolled or opt out?

How do you know if the Niner Course Pack is right for you?

Does it save you money?

Charlotte students enrolled in the Niner Course Pack save an average of 35 to 50 percent off the cost of course materials. How do you find out if you’ll see the same savings?

Let’s do some quick math. No algebra, we promise.

The Niner Course Pack costs a flat rate of $20 per credit hour. Add up all your upcoming spring credit hours and multiply the total by 20. The answer is exactly how much you’ll pay if you stay enrolled.

For example, Charlotte student Morgan is taking five lecture classes and a lab next semester with a total of 16 credit hours.

16 x 20 = 320

That means Morgan will pay just $320 for all her course materials if she stays enrolled in the Niner Course Pack.

Morgan can compare the cost of staying enrolled with the cost of purchasing all her course materials herself. She goes to Find Course Materials, selects “Spring 24 OPT OUT” from the Term dropdown menu and enters her class information.

On the Find Course Materials webpage, select Spring 24 Opt Out from the Term drop-down list, enter the rest of your class details, then select retrieve materials.

She adds up the cost of materials for each course listed and gets the total: $685. This is how much she will spend if she buys her course materials herself.

Course materials prices are listed by each as either digital or print purchase.

For Morgan, staying enrolled in the Niner Course Pack is the clear winner – she saves more than 50 percent on textbooks!

Let’s look at another student, Diego, who is taking five classes next semester for a total of 15 credits. If he stays enrolled, he will pay $300 for the semester.

When he enters his classes on the Find Course Materials page, he sees that the Niner Course Pack doesn’t cover materials for three of his art classes. The Niner Course Pack doesn’t currently cover single-use course materials such as art kits, architecture kits, goggles or lab coats.

The materials for his other two classes add up to $235. Since this is less than he would pay with the Niner Course Pack, he decides to opt out for the semester.

Is the Niner Course Pack Right for You? video overview

Does it save you time?

The Niner Course Pack offers more than just savings – it also provides convenience.

At the beginning of the semester, you might be trying to manage a job, find an apartment, start a club leadership position, or get back in touch with friends after the break. Figuring out what course materials you need to buy and where to get them is another stressor that the Niner Course Pack takes off your shoulders.

Sure, you could research every textbook on your required materials list and find out which one has a copy on hold at the library, which one has last year’s edition at a discount, or which one you could get for free from your brother’s friend’s uncle’s barber who took the class last year.

But do you really have time for all that?

If you don’t have the time, will you risk not getting course materials altogether?

According to the Education Data Initiative, “66% of college students skipped buying or renting course materials such as textbooks at some point in their career.” The cost of textbooks can be prohibitive and the search for discounts exhausting, but not getting your course materials at all could impact your education and your future.

The Niner Course Pack makes getting course materials simple – you know how much you’ll pay ahead of time, the total is billed right to your account, the bookstore bundles up your course materials and you start your classes with everything you need.

If you do have the patience and savvy to find your course materials at a lower cost, by all means – you do you!

You can always opt out of the program – just don’t miss the deadline at the beginning of each semester.

How to opt out

If you’ve weighed the pros and cons, done the math, meditated on your time management skills and decided that the Niner Course Pack is not the right fit for you, you can opt out for the semester.

The opt out period for this spring is Dec. 11 to Jan. 24, 2024.

Please note that this opt out is only for Spring 2024. If you want to opt out again in the future, you’ll have to follow the same steps at the beginning of every semester that you don’t want to participate in the Niner Course Pack.