Cost of Textbooks Has Soared Over Past 12 Years

Cost of Textbooks - IllustrationAccording to Bloomberg's "Chart of the Day", the cost of college textbooks has more than doubled since the end of 2001.

According to, the cost of college textbooks has risen by 102% since December of 2001. The cost of recreational books, on the other hand, has dropped by 1.5% over the same time period. The consumer price index, which is used to measure inflation, has risen by 35% since the end of 2001.

Despite the presence of online used textbook stores and the introduction of digital books, the cost of college textbooks has continued to soar. This is not good news for college students, who are already feeling the pinch of rising tuition costs and higher living expenses.

Textbooks are one of the many "hidden" costs that can help to increase a student's debt load. College students usually can't even rely on purchasing used text books, as newer editions are often released. Any college student can attest to hearing their professors say things like "You'll need the buy the 12th edition of this text book, as it will contain information that will be on your final exam that can not be found in previous editions." Or, even worse, a college professor insisting that his/her self-published text book be purchased for many hundreds of dollars. Any college student can attest to these frustrations.


It is not a very good time to be a college student.

The national employment situation is still weak for the most part, despite the fact that the national unemployment rate is falling. Students in many fields are finding that there are just not that many jobs waiting for them once they graduate.

Tuition costs are rising at many schools, thanks, in large part, to shrinking state education budgets.

Many American households have had their savings depleted over the past 6-7 years, thanks to the "Great Recession". The Bank of Mom and Dad is closed for business in many households, which means that many students have had to take out more loans than they would have hoped.

The rising costs of food and gasoline have conspired to deplete the wallets of many students across the nation as well. Any student that has to commute to school by car has seen their gas costs soar over the past couple of years.

Lastly, those students who hope to defray some of their costs by finding a summer job have found it much harder to find work. The jobs that have been typically occupied by students (retail sales, etc) are increasingly being taken by experienced workers who are unable to find jobs elsewhere.


It's not hard to see why the average student debt load has increased dramatically over the past decade, and soaring textbooks costs aren't helping the situation.

Source: - Textbook Case of Inflation Hammering Students: Chart of the Day

Filed under: General Knowledge

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