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.

Historical & Inflation Adjusted Cost of College Texbooks since 1967

Year Historical Cost Adjusted Cost
1967$64.78$472.88
1968$67.93$482.37
1969$72.06$490.77
1970$74.62$481.89
1971$80.13$488.99
1972$85.25$498.78
1973$88.01$498.60
1974$90.37$482.19
1975$96.08$461.64
1976$102.97$453.32
1977$108.68$452.44
1978$117.94$460.99
1979$124.63$452.63
1980$134.67$439.60
1981$149.63$430.15
1982$170.70$444.77
1983$189.01$464.03
1984$206.34$490.81
1985$223.86$510.54
1986$243.94$537.27
1987$263.44$569.38
1988$282.53$589.10
1989$299.66$600.32
1990$328.80$628.35
1991$345.14$625.78
1992$366.41$637.38
1993$382.75$646.22
1994$397.52$651.92
1995$414.05$661.84
1996$437.29$679.87
1997$458.16$692.04
1998$479.82$708.25
1999$506.79$736.65
2000$538.09$765.39
2001$568.22$781.81
2002$596.37$797.97
2003$648.35$853.94
2004$679.26$874.80
2005$701.90$880.36
2006$744.63$903.33
2007$796.31$935.80
2008$858.82$981.29
2009$918.79$1,010.99
2010$980.99$1,083.33
2011$1,021.55$1,109.92
2012$1,071.20$1,128.21
2013$1,147.31$1,183.87
2014$1,175.54$1,195.54
2015$1,252.60$1,253.86
2016$1,298.00$1,298.00

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