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Average academic book price increase below inflation

The latest figures from LISU on the trends in prices of academic books show that UK sourced titles have increased in price by an average of £1 in the latest academic year, to June 2007, to £46.26. Over the last five years, since 2001-02, UK academic book prices have risen by an average of 14.9%, compared to the general inflation rate of 16.3%.

USA academic book prices had been increasing rather more rapidly than those from the UK. However, the rise was just 1.5% in the most recent year, giving an average price of $76.66. Over the last five years, the increase in the average USA academic book price has been 29%, although the recent high level of the dollar-sterling exchange rate has mitigated the effects of this rise for UK librarians. Using Bank of England figures for the exchange rate on the last day of December to convert prices to sterling leads to a fall in the average sterling equivalent price of 1.9% over five years, with a substantial drop in average price of 14.6% over the last year, to a sterling equivalent of £39.17.

LISU estimates that academic libraries typically purchase UK and USA titles in the ratio of 2:1. On this basis, the composite average book price for 2006-07 is £44.36; a fall of 2% over last year's figure of £45.30, and an increase of 14% over the last five years.

The broad figures, which are based on just under 13,000 UK sourced titles and almost 41,000 US sourced titles, conceal a wide variation between subjects, both in average prices and rates of increase. The LISU reports give figures for eight broad subject areas, with average UK prices in 2006-07 ranging from £40.27 in computer sciences to £65.47 in technology subjects. In the US, humanities titles had the lowest average price, at $68.46, with biological sciences the highest, at $124.42. Data are also given for 64 narrower sub-categories to enable libraries to match price changes with their own collections.

Average prices of British academic books Jan-June 2007 – paper copy: ISBN 978 1905499 243; ISSN 0261 0302; price £17.50; CD-ROM: ISBN 978 1905499 267; price £20 + VAT; paper copy and CD‑ROM price £25 + VAT.

Average prices of USA academic Books Jan-June 2007 – paper copy: ISBN 978 1905499 250; ISSN 0951 8975; price £17.50; CD-ROM: ISBN 978 1905499 280; price £20 + VAT; paper copy and CD‑ROM price £25 + VAT.

Available from LISU • Loughborough University • Loughborough • Leics • LE11 3TU
Tel: 01509 635680, Fax: 01509 625699, Email: and through TeleOrdering.


Note to Editors

For further information contact
Claire Creaser, Director, LISU, Holywell Park, Loughborough University, Loughborough Leics. LE11 3TU. Tel: 01509 635682, email:

About LISU
LISU is a national research and consultancy centre which promotes good management practice in information, cultural and academic services, through publishing appropriate material, providing independent advice and support for advocacy, and for performance evaluation and enhancement. It is based in the Research School of Informatics and the Department of Information Science at Loughborough University.

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