The Cost of Textbooks: Then and Now
The Cost of Textbooks: Then and Now
(Photo: elibrody/Flickr)

Natalie Morin

MooseRoots used CollegeBoard and the Bureau of Labor Statistics to calculate the cost of a public college student's annual spending on textbooks (historical and inflation-adjusted) in every year since 1967.

The conversation around student debt in the United States tends to focus on the high cost of tuition. But though this expense is significant, it's just one of the many hidden fees that make going to college an exorbitant cost. Room and board, as well as textbooks add up after four years.

With this in mind, MooseRoots, a genealogy site by Graphiq, used data from the CollegeBoard and the Bureau of Labor Statistics to calculate the cost of a public college student's annual spending on textbooks (historical and inflation-adjusted) in every year since 1967. More specifically, the price per year is computed using CollegeBoard's public four-year university student's annual spending on textbooks and the BLS's "textbooks and school supplies" consumer price index.

1967

Historical cost of textbooks: $64.78
Inflation-adjusted cost of textbooks: $472.88

1968

Historical cost of textbooks: $67.93
Inflation-adjusted cost of textbooks: $482.37

1969

Historical cost of textbooks: $72.06
Inflation-adjusted cost of textbooks: $490.77

1970

Historical cost of textbooks: $74.62
Inflation-adjusted cost of textbooks: $481.89

1971

Historical cost of textbooks: $80.13
Inflation-adjusted cost of textbooks: $488.99

1972

Historical cost of textbooks: $85.25
Inflation-adjusted cost of textbooks: $498.78

1973

Historical cost of textbooks: $88.01
Inflation-adjusted cost of textbooks: $498.60

1974

Historical cost of textbooks: $90.37
Inflation-adjusted cost of textbooks: $482.19

1975

Historical cost of textbooks: $96.08
Inflation-adjusted cost of textbooks: $461.64

1976

Historical cost of textbooks: $102.97
Inflation-adjusted cost of textbooks: $453.32

1977

Historical cost of textbooks: $108.68
Inflation-adjusted cost of textbooks: $452.44

1978

Historical cost of textbooks: $117.94
Inflation-adjusted cost of textbooks: $460.99

1979

Historical cost of textbooks: $124.63
Inflation-adjusted cost of textbooks: $452.63

1980

Historical cost of textbooks: $134.67
Inflation-adjusted cost of textbooks: $439.60

1981

Historical cost of textbooks: $149.63
Inflation-adjusted cost of textbooks: $430.15

1982

Historical cost of textbooks: $170.70
Inflation-adjusted cost of textbooks: $444.77

1983

Historical cost of textbooks: $189.01
Inflation-adjusted cost of textbooks: $464.03

1984

Historical cost of textbooks: $206.34
Inflation-adjusted cost of textbooks: $490.81

1985

Historical cost of textbooks: $223.86
Inflation-adjusted cost of textbooks: $510.54

1986

Historical cost of textbooks: $243.94
Inflation-adjusted cost of textbooks: $537.27

1987

Historical cost of textbooks: $263.44
Inflation-adjusted cost of textbooks: $569.38

1988

Historical cost of textbooks: $282.53
Inflation-adjusted cost of textbooks: $589.10

1989

Historical cost of textbooks: $299.66
Inflation-adjusted cost of textbooks: $600.32

1990

Historical cost of textbooks: $328.80
Inflation-adjusted cost of textbooks: $628.35

1991

Historical cost of textbooks: $345.14
Inflation-adjusted cost of textbooks: $625.78

1992

Historical cost of textbooks: $366.41
Inflation-adjusted cost of textbooks: $637.38

1993

Historical cost of textbooks: $382.75
Inflation-adjusted cost of textbooks: $646.22

1994

Historical cost of textbooks: $397.52
Inflation-adjusted cost of textbooks: $651.92

1995

Historical cost of textbooks: $414.05
Inflation-adjusted cost of textbooks: $661.84

1996

Historical cost of textbooks: $437.29
Inflation-adjusted cost of textbooks: $679.87

1997

Historical cost of textbooks: $458.16
Inflation-adjusted cost of textbooks: $692.04

1998

Historical cost of textbooks: $479.82
Inflation-adjusted cost of textbooks: $708.25

1999

Historical cost of textbooks: $506.79
Inflation-adjusted cost of textbooks: $736.65

2000

Historical cost of textbooks: $538.09
Inflation-adjusted cost of textbooks: $765.39

2001

Historical cost of textbooks: $568.22
Inflation-adjusted cost of textbooks: $781.81

2002

Historical cost of textbooks: $596.37
Inflation-adjusted cost of textbooks: $797.97

2003

Historical cost of textbooks: $648.35
Inflation-adjusted cost of textbooks: $853.94

2004

Historical cost of textbooks: $679.26
Inflation-adjusted cost of textbooks: $874.80

2005

Historical cost of textbooks: $701.90
Inflation-adjusted cost of textbooks: $880.36

2006

Historical cost of textbooks: $744.63
Inflation-adjusted cost of textbooks: $903.33

2007

Historical cost of textbooks: $796.31
Inflation-adjusted cost of textbooks: $935.80

2008

Historical cost of textbooks: $858.82
Inflation-adjusted cost of textbooks: $981.29

2009

Historical cost of textbooks: $918.79
Inflation-adjusted cost of textbooks: $1,010.99

2010

Historical cost of textbooks: $980.99
Inflation-adjusted cost of textbooks: $1,083.33

2011

Historical cost of textbooks: $1,021.55
Inflation-adjusted cost of textbooks: $1,109.92

2012

Historical cost of textbooks: $1,071.20
Inflation-adjusted cost of textbooks: $1,128.21

2013

Historical cost of textbooks: $1,147.31
Inflation-adjusted cost of textbooks: $1,183.87

2014

Historical cost of textbooks: $1,175.54
Inflation-adjusted cost of textbooks: $1,195.54

2015

Historical cost of textbooks: $1,252.60
Inflation-adjusted cost of textbooks: $1,253.86

2016

Historical cost of textbooks: $1,298.00
Inflation-adjusted cost of textbooks: $1,298.00

 

"The Cost of Textbooks: Then and Now"