A Textbook Example of International Price Discrimination
21 Pages Posted: 28 Sep 2005 Last revised: 7 Aug 2008
Date Written: September 2005
We investigate differences in book prices between the United States and other countries. We find that general audience books are similarly priced internationally, but textbooks are substantially more expensive in the United States (often more than double the price). This disparity is much more pronounced for commercial publishers than for university presses. We argue that supply-side factors like cost and market structure can not explain this phenomenon. We discuss several demand-side explanations; our preferred theory is that higher US textbook prices reflect the unique status of the textbook as a centerpiece of US college instruction.
Keywords: International price discrimination, book industry, textbooks
JEL Classification: L15, L83
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation