Jordan Weissmann, writing at The Atlantic:
You thought the rising cost of college tuition was bad? Then check out the rising cost of college textbooks. The American Enterprise Institute’s Mark Perry has put together this nifty chart showing the egregious, 812 percent rise in the cost of course materials since 1978, as captured in the Bureau of Labor Statistics’s consumer price index data.
As an adult student, I can speak to how much this absolutely sucks. If you’re in the same boat, check out Amazon Rentals. It’ll save you a ton of cash.
Academic Publishers will tell you that creating modern textbooks is an expensive, labor-intensive process that demands charging high prices. But as Kevin Carey noted in a recent Slate piece, the industry also shares some of the dysfunctions that help drive up the cost of healthcare spending. Just as doctors prescribe prescription drugs they’ll never have to pay for, college professors often assign titles with little consideration of cost.
Spot on again. I’ve pleaded with scores of professors to be more considerate of costs to no avail. I have no idea about the cost to produce these books, but my assumption is that there is some serious profit there. Rentals and used – while risky in terms of condition – is the way to go.