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June 6, 2008, 01:37 PM ET

Facebook May Be Hurting Yearbook Sales

Yearbook sales are down at some institutions, and the dip may be due to Facebook, MySpace, and other online social networks.

A Toledo Blade article notes that yearbook sales at both high schools and colleges have been dropping in recent years, possibly because students are keeping in touch with peers through free social networks like Facebook. At Bowling Green State University, yearbook sales reach just 200 to 400 books per year, down from a peak of 3,600 in 1986. The institution has recently decided to stop publishing a traditional hardbound yearbook, opting instead for a semiannual magazine. It is the fifth college to drop its yearbook this year, the paper reports.

“The problem that yearbooks are facing is that we’re in the business of selling history to people who are still living it,” Lori Brooks, chairman of the yearbook committee for College Media Advisors, told the Blade. “It’s not a new problem.”

Alumni magazines are also struggling to keep pace with the frequent updates alumni have available to them on Facebook, MySpace, and other online sites. Noticing this trend, some universities have started opting for closed, alumni-only social networks in addition to or in place of printed alumni magazines.—Catherine Rampell

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