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The Rise of Textbook Prices Compared to Other Goods and Services

Posted January 8th, 2013 in News by Alexander

Mark J. Perry, a professor of economics at the The University of Michigan Flint Campus, has written an article for the American Enterprise Institute emphasizing the rising costs of textbooks. For the article, he created a chart to compare Consumer Price Index (CPI) numbers from 1978 to 2012, using the “Educational Books and Supplies”, “Medical Services”, “New Home Prices”, and “All Items” series of CPI data.

According to the CPI data, college textbooks have seen a price increase of 812% since 1978, while medical services have only increased by 575% and home prices by 325%. The price increase of textbooks is even more absurd when compared to the average rising cost for all goods and services, which only comes in at 250%. In other words, college textbooks prices have increased three times more than the average price increase for all items.

Perry concluded that there will be a textbook bubble similar to the unsustainable housing bubble of the last decade. He cites expensive $200-300 textbooks and the growing number of low-priced and open educational resources as evidence that the textbook bubble is already showing signs of instability.

If you would like to read the full article and see Perry’s chart, visit:
http://www.aei-ideas.org/2012/12/the-college-textbook-bubble-and-how-the-open-educational-resources-movement-is-going-up-against-the-textbook-cartel/

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