College textbooks priced at $20 in 2015 $21.89 in 2023

College Textbooks Inflation Calculator

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Prices for College Textbooks, 2015-2023 ($20)

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, prices for college textbooks are 9.47% higher in 2023 versus 2015 (a $1.89 difference in value).

Between 2015 and 2023: College textbooks experienced an average inflation rate of 1.14% per year. In other words, college textbooks costing $20 in the year 2015 would cost $21.89 in 2023 for an equivalent purchase. Compared to the overall inflation rate of 3.13% during this same period, inflation for college textbooks was lower.

In the year 2015: Pricing changed by 5.92%, which is significantly above the average yearly change for college textbooks during the 2015-2023 time period. Compared to inflation for all items in 2015 (0.12%), inflation for college textbooks was much 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%).

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Buying power of $20.00 since 2015

Below are calculations of equivalent buying power for College textbooks, over time, for $20 beginning in 2015. Each of the amounts below is equivalent in terms of what it could buy at the time:

YearUSD ValueInflation Rate
2015$20.005.92%
2016$21.105.51%
2017$21.652.61%
2018$21.860.95%
2019$21.34-2.36%
2020$21.01-1.54%
2021$21.220.98%
2022$22.154.40%
2023$21.89-1.18%*

* 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:

Year20012002200320042005200620072008200920102011201220132014201520162017201820192020202120222023
CPI100.000104.177110.985115.492120.269127.954138.580148.995160.195168.777177.345189.644201.704209.591221.992234.216240.337242.626236.901233.253235.548245.905243.012

Adjust college textbooks prices for inflation

Start with the inflation rate formula:

CPI in 2023 / CPI in 2015 * 2015 USD value = 2023 USD value

Then plug in historical CPI values from above. The CPI for College textbooks was 221.992 in the year 2015 and 243.012 in 2023:

243.012 / 221.992 * $20 = $21.89

Therefore, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, $20 in 2015 has the same "purchasing power" as $21.89 in 2023 (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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