Over the last several years, the cost of college textbooks has steadily increased, leading some experts to believe the textbook market bubble is the next to burst.

According to the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), textbook prices have risen by more than 142%, while general consumer prices have only increased by 44% from January 1998 to July 2013. After adjusting for inflation, the AEI reports that textbook prices have increased 100% and recreational books have decreased by more than 40%. This trend is being driven by increasing overall college costs, says AEI.

“We are past peak book prices,” says Richard Baraniuk, Rice University professor and director of OpenStax College (a nonprofit organization that develops open access textbooks), “and if you look at recent surveys, nearly seven in 10 students are no longer purchasing college textbooks, and that means the marketplace is starting to turn away from that price model.”

The textbook bubble has created movements for more open access content; students are adapting to newer technologies that may pull them away from the publisher’s traditional textbook model. Dr. Baranuik states that new models will begin emerging based on how students use their textbooks and publishers will have to adjust to stay competitive.

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