A Textbook Case of Inflation for College Students

By Megan Zogby – Re-Blogged From Headline Wealth

As college textbook prices have increased 88 percent since 2006, education reformers wonder how universities can make books more affordable. One simple thing they could do is to stop selling textbooks with absurdly high mark-ups, the difference between the cost incurred by the bookstore for textbooks and the price at which they’re sold. While some progress has been made within the UNC system, much room for improvement remains.

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, for example, signed a contract with Barnes and Noble in 2009 to merge its university bookstore with Barnes and Noble. That conjunction promised students lower book prices, bringing down the mark-up from 23 percent to 18 percent. However, merging the bookstore has meant that students still pay higher prices than they would if they bought books from an online competitor or the book publisher. The rationale for the merger may have been affordability, but textbooks remain expensive for students who trust UNC-Charlotte’s bookstore to offer the best price.

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