How can anything have gone up as much as medical? That's astounding.
I'm trying really hard to find ways to *not* assign textbooks to my students--or at least, not anthologies and other really expensive texts--but as an adjunct, my options are pretty limited.
Book price increases accellerated in 1995, when the web became popular. I'll bet that online communications made the used book market much more efficient, cutting into the publishers' profits. I use textbooks for my classes and I've found some of the new bells and whistles to be useful. Online homework is a blessing for me. The students certainly prefer me showing them images from the book rather than the poorly rendered drawings that I'm capable of making.
One of the biggest changes in textbooks were the use of full-colour diagrams for just about everything, even if it's a later edition of one published years before. Colour printing is expensive, so the cost is going to reflect that.I have a copy of "Fundamentals of Physics" by Halliday and Resnick that I bought in 1973 when I began as a freshman. All of its illustrations and photos are in black and white. Apparently, even that now has colour all over the place.I don't understand it myself. Does a sine curve suddenly become more comprehensible if it's in colour than in black and white?
Too bad they didn't include faculty salaries in that chart. That would be truly instructive, especially for those in the comment stream (which I'm finding hard to follow) who seem to assume that colleges or even professors are somehow benefiting from textbook publisher profiteering. I suppose there may be a few professors who truly profit (and perhaps profiteer) from writing their own textbooks, but I'm pretty sure the number is very small compared to the total number of faculty out there. Open access textbook projects (with good editorial oversight and due recognition of authors/contributors come promotion/tenure time) seem like the way to go.