Principles of Economics — Introductory Text Book — 900 Pages — Two Hundred Dollars

I have no doubt that this introductory economics textbook for college freshman is one of the best available. It’s 900 pages and a review of the table of contents brought back memories of my own time struggling with Econ 101. That would have been about 40 years ago. This book looks to me that it’s probably much better than the Paul Samuelson book I had. As I remember, it was heavy on the Keynesian perspective, Hayek may as well have not existed and Milton Friedman was hardly mentioned. Fortunately freshmen Econ students were also introduced to Robert Heilbroner and his worldly philosophers.

I don’t remember what that Samuelson book cost but I’m guessing that it was about ten dollars. I base that on my memory of my first year of law school when I was shocked at the price of case books. Twenty dollars! Twice the price of most textbooks for University of Colorado undergraduates in the late sixties and early seventies. The price of those case books and hornbooks made me drive a cab at night while going to law school in the daytime. What would I do now? Cab driving isn’t a job a 23-year old white guy can get anymore. Besides, cab driving wouldn’t begin to pay for the cost of law books these days.

I’m scared to check out the current cost of case books. Especially if they are still twice the cost of introductory economics text books. Professor Mankiw’s Econ 101 textbook costs $202.99 [in the bookstore, $190.87 at Amazon].

I heard a Coffee and Markets podcast the other day that featured Richard Vigilante predicting paper books will be obsolete in 5-10 years, and be entirely replaced by e-books. I wonder what the Kindle edition of Professor Mankiw’s book will cost? Well, if you can get all of your text books on your Kindle or iPad I guess college students will have more room in their backpacks for other stuff.

UPDATE: There’s already a Kindle edition — for $127.86.

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