College Textbook Prices are Rising at Three Times the Rate of Inflation

By Jason Priestas on August 18, 2014 at 9:45a
The Economist charts the rising cost of college textbooks.
Chart via The Economist

If you're a student or you've ever attended college, you no doubt have an unfavorable opinion of textbook publishers. After all, where else can you shell out over a grand for book on the history of early film, only to get a fraction of what you paid for it three months later?

Thanks to this chart from The Economist, we can see just how much the prices of textbooks have risen relative to other consumer prices over the last 45 years and it's depressing. Three times the rate of inflation depressing.

Students can learn a lot about economics when they buy Greg Mankiw's "Principles of Economics"--even if they don't read it. Like many popular textbooks, it is horribly expensive: $292.17 on Amazon. Indeed, the nominal price of textbooks has risen more than fifteenfold since 1970, three times the rate of inflation.


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