Industrial Insight

College books… | January 2, 2013

The college textbook bubble and how the “open educational resources” movement is going up against the textbook cartel

Mark J. Perry | December 24, 2012, 7:12 pm

The chart shows the percent changes since 1978 for the CPI series “Educational Books and Supplies” (which is mostly college textbooks), the CPI series “Medical Services,” the median price for new homes from the Census Bureau, and the CPI series “All Items.” The 812% increase in the price of college textbooks since 1978 makes the run-up in house prices and housing bubble (and subsequent crash) in the 2000s seem rather inconsequential, and the nine-fold increase in textbook prices also dwarfs the increase in the cost of medical services over the last three decades. Compared to the 250% increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) over the last 34 years, college textbooks have risen more than three times the amount of the average increase for all goods and services.

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I'm the executive vice president for a steel casting trade association, the Steel Founders' Society of America. I've got a crazy wife, five crazy children, three crazy people that married into the family, and two crazy fun little grandsons.

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