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Textbooks are produced according to the demands of educational institutions. The history of textbooks dates back to civilizations of ancient history. The modern textbook has its roots in the standardization made possible by the printing press. The new technology of writing meant stories no longer needed to be memorized, a development Socrates feared would weaken the Greeks’ mental capacities for memorizing and retelling. The next revolution for books came with the 15th-century invention of printing with changeable type. Gutenberg’s invention made mass production of texts possible for the first time.
Although the Gutenberg Bible itself was expensive, printed books began to spread widely over European trade routes during the next 50 years, and by the 16th century, printed books had become more widely accessible and less costly. Europe led to the printing of many standardized texts for children. Textbooks have become the primary teaching instrument for most children since the 19th century. Technological advances change the way people interact with textbooks. Online and digital materials are making it increasingly easy for students to access materials other than the traditional print textbook. Students now have access to electronic and PDF books, online tutoring systems and video lectures.
The textbook market does not operate in the same manner as most consumer markets. But the price of the textbook still isn’t typically taken into account when this occurs and isn’t part of the perception of the product. This fundamental difference in the market is often cited as the primary reason that prices are high. The term “broken market” first appeared in the economist James Koch’s analysis of the market commissioned by the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance. This situation is exacerbated by the lack of competition in the textbook market.