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You're not imagining it: college textbooks prices are out of control

Students going back to college this month know that college textbooks are usually really expensive. And the problem is only getting worse, as this chart from the American Enterprise Institute's Mark Perry shows:

The price of recreational books has fallen, relative to inflation, since 1998. New college textbooks, on the other hand, have increased much faster than inflation. The price of textbooks is increasing even faster than the price of college tuition.

One possible explanation, according to a 2005 report from the federal Government Accountability Office, is that publishers began doing more with college textbooks, such as adding CDs and supplementary sections. But that doesn't explain why prices have continued to skyrocket since 2005.