College textbooks priced at $20 in 2004 $40.90 in 2024

College Textbooks Inflation Calculator

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Prices for College Textbooks, 2004-2024 ($20)

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, prices for college textbooks are 104.50% higher in 2024 versus 2004 (a $20.90 difference in value).

Between 2004 and 2024: College textbooks experienced an average inflation rate of 3.64% per year. This rate of change indicates significant inflation. In other words, college textbooks costing $20 in the year 2004 would cost $40.90 in 2024 for an equivalent purchase. Compared to the overall inflation rate of 2.54% during this same period, inflation for college textbooks was higher.

In the year 2004: Pricing changed by 4.06%, which is above the average yearly change for college textbooks during the 2004-2024 time period. Compared to inflation for all items in 2004 (2.68%), inflation for college textbooks was higher.

Price Inflation for College textbooks since 2001

Consumer Price Index, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Years with the largest changes in pricing: 2007 (8.31%), 2009 (7.52%), and 2008 (7.52%).

View price changes for other categories
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Buying power of $20.00 since 2004

Below are calculations of equivalent buying power for College textbooks, over time, for $20 beginning in 2004. Each of the amounts below is equivalent in terms of what it could buy at the time:

YearUSD ValueInflation Rate
2004$20.004.06%
2005$20.834.14%
2006$22.166.39%
2007$24.008.31%
2008$25.807.52%
2009$27.747.52%
2010$29.235.36%
2011$30.715.08%
2012$32.846.94%
2013$34.936.36%
2014$36.303.91%
2015$38.445.92%
2016$40.565.51%
2017$41.622.61%
2018$42.020.95%
2019$41.02-2.36%
2020$40.39-1.54%
2021$40.790.98%
2022$42.584.40%
2023$41.65-2.20%
2024$40.90-1.79%*

* Not final. See inflation summary for latest details.
** Extended periods of 0% inflation usually indicate incomplete underlying data. This can manifest as a sharp increase in inflation later on.


Raw Consumer Price Index data from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for College textbooks:

Year200120022003200420052006200720082009201020112012201320142015201620172018201920202021202220232024
CPI100.000104.177110.985115.492120.269127.954138.580148.995160.195168.777177.345189.644201.704209.591221.992234.216240.337242.626236.901233.253235.548245.905240.493236.178

Adjust college textbooks prices for inflation

Start with the inflation rate formula:

CPI in 2024 / CPI in 2004 * 2004 USD value = 2024 USD value

Then plug in historical CPI values from above. The CPI for College textbooks was 115.492 in the year 2004 and 236.178 in 2024:

236.178 / 115.492 * $20 = $40.90

Therefore, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, $20 in 2004 has the same "purchasing power" as $40.90 in 2024 (in the CPI category of College textbooks).


Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics began tracking the Consumer Price Index for College textbooks in 2001. In addition to college textbooks, the index produces monthly data on changes in prices paid by urban consumers for a variety of goods and services.

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