Archive for April 19th, 2015

Engineering Book Costs

Clearing off the shelves produced a book I haven’t opened in a loooong time:

Vector Mechanics for Engineers - cover

Vector Mechanics for Engineers – cover

The price sticker shows that textbooks have always been expensive:

Vector Mechanics for Engineers - price tag

Vector Mechanics for Engineers – price tag

The first line looks like a date and, indeed, I took “Principles of Mechanics” in Spring 1974, so that book would cost $88.08 in 2015 dollars, based on the official CPI calculator.

It’s harder to figure college costs, but the old rule of thumb says it’s a factor of two higher than the CPI. A bit of successive approximation with a compound interest calculator suggests an annual inflation of 3.9% and 7.8% says the book would cost $403 today.

Which, it turns out, isn’t all that much higher than what our Larval Engineer has been paying for the fatter textbooks in her engineering courses.

Even using today’s worthless dollars, that’s still a chunk o’ change…

Memo to Self: As the bumper sticker puts it, “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.”