Press J to jump to the feed. Press question mark to learn the rest of the keyboard shortcuts

Prices of Latest vs. Previous Editions of Textbooks [OC]

81% Upvoted
This thread is archived
New comments cannot be posted and votes cannot be cast
Flair Bot
Moderator of r/dataisbeautiful, speaking officiallyScore hidden · 6 months ago · Stickied comment

Thank you for your Original Content, /u/NoNewTexts! I've added your flair as gratitude. Here is some important information about this post:

I hope this sticky assists you in having an informed discussion in this thread, or inspires you to remix this data. For more information, please read this Wiki page.

OC: 1
Original Poster2 points · 6 months ago

Tools: R, ggplot2. Source: Online retailer prices.

The college textbook industry is a scam. Every few years publishers release a new edition of a textbook. This makes the used copies obsolete and allows them extort students of hundreds of dollars for a new textbook. And while most students have a sense that new editions are more expensive, to our knowledge, there isn’t much data available quantifying just how much this industry tactic ends up costing students.

Leveraging the wide availability of online prices, we set about answering this question by collecting prices on the latest and previous editions of 10,000 different sets of textbooks. You can read up on our full methodology and analysis [here] ( But if you’re a student looking to save by buying an older edition, you might have second thoughts. Even while new editions rarely have substantive changes, sections and problems may be re-arranged making it difficult to follow along with your course. And publishers know this.

Here, at NoNewTexts, we’re using data to call out the textbook industry on their greed. Developing OCR and text analysis algorithms, we've systematically reviewed hundreds of textbooks to meticulously document changes between different editions. We’ve analyzed tens of thousands of pages and matched hundreds of thousands of problems to help you find the right edition for your course. Consider buying older editions of textbooks to find new savings. We’re here to help.

As a business school instructor, I applaud anyone who helps students avoid the clutches of predatory textbook publishers. I've seen 'new' editions that were word-for-word identical to previous editions -only the graphics and pictures were changed.

Community Details





A place for visual representations of data: Graphs, charts, maps, etc. DataIsBeautiful is for visualizations that effectively convey information. **Aesthetics are an important part of information visualization, but pretty pictures are not the aim of this subreddit.**

Create Post
Best Of DataIsBeautiful
Posting Rules
  1. A post must be a data visualization.

  2. Directly link to the original source article of the visualization (not an image file) or tag the post as [OC] if you made the visualization.

  3. [OC] posts must state the data source and tool(s) used in a comment. Only tag a post as [OC] if you made it yourself

  4. Requests and questions must include a visualization. More info.

  5. No infographics or other unautomated diagrams. Infographic vs. Visualization.

  6. Compilations are not allowed.

  7. Post titles must describe the data plainly without using sensationalized headlines. Clickbait posts will be removed.

  8. Posts regarding American Politics, or contentious topics in American media, are only permissible on Thursdays (ET).

Please read through our posting guidelines if you are new to posting on DataIsBeautiful.

Commenting Rules
  • Comments should be constructive and related to the visual presented. Special attention is given to root-level comments.
  • Short comments and low effort replies are automatically removed.
  • Hate Speech and dogwhistling are not tolerated and will result in an immediate ban.
  • Personal attacks and rabble-rousing will be removed.
  • Moderators reserve discretion when issuing bans for inappropriate comments.
User Flair

Do you like contributing sharp-looking graphs? Are you an official practitioner or researcher? Read about what kind of flair is right for you!


Data from Star Trek? Data ARE? How do I make one? Read the FAQ

How do I make a good post? Read the guide

Related Subreddits

If you want to post something related to data visualization but it doesn't fit the criteria above, consider posting to one of the following subreddits.

  • Data_IRL: Feeling the need to be hilarious? Go here. Data.

  • SampleSize: Conduct and share surveys

  • Datasets: Request and share data sets

  • DataVizRequests: Request a visualization to be made from a dataset.

  • Visualization: Discuss and critique the design and construction of information visualizations

  • MapPorn: Share maps, map visualizations, etc.

  • Infographics: Share infographics and other unautomated diagrams

  • WordCloud: Specifically for sharing word clouds

  • Tableau: Share and discuss visualizations made with Tableau software

  • FunnyCharts: Share funny graphs and charts

  • U.S. Data is Beautiful: for those of us who simply can't wait for Thursdays

  • MathPics: Share pictures and visualizations of mathematical concepts

  • RedactedCharts: Try to guess what a chart is about without the labels

  • Statistics: For all questions and articles related to statistics


Get the day's top posts on Twitter!

Sister subreddit: InternetIsBeautiful

Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services or clicking I agree, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.