Friday, May 26, 2006

Textbook Manufacturers

Well, I guess I've all ready broken the Compact. Sort of. I went to get my summer textbooks. I'm only taking two classes, and I was able to get one of the books used. (I always did that anyway, back in school; textbook prices are outrageous.) They only had new books on the shelf, and there was a note saying they weren't buying them back because they would have a new book in the fall. I went to find a clerk and asked her if they had any used copies in the back. The conversation went something like this:
"Oh no. That's a brand new edition. It just came out."
"But it says over there that the textbook for fall is going to be new."
"Yes, they're switching it again in the fall."
"So there's a new textbook every semester now?"
She shrugged. "At least every year. They change it when they want, and the profs have to keep up."

So I checked into it, and sure enough, the book I bought is new and they're discontinuing the old one. And this happens with just about every subject now. I thought it was bad the first time around! But it's gotten a lot worse. I know why, of course. The manufacturers only make profit off the sales of new books, so its in their best interests to change them often. Even if they don't change them that much. And the professors are obligated to follow through with it. They're required to use the new books.
Yet another example of corporate greed. Let's just cut down more virgin forests every year to make new textbooks that are only a bit different than the old so we can charge poor college kids a hundred bucks each for them to make ourselves more money.

I had a prof once that outsmarted them. A long time ago, my very first semester of college. He got around them by the 'simple' expedient of writing his own textbook, and publishing it through a local independent printer. The price of that textbook? $15. And it was printed on recycled, as opposed to virgin fiber.

4 Comments:

Blogger Old Junk, New Art said...

Hey, this is a great post. You know, I never thought about how professors can really help by printing there own textbooks. This DOES make sense. I guess I always thought that maybe professors were themselves trying to be greedy -- somehow -- by making you buy their text on the subject. Trying to make money of all their students. But it makes sense, actually. Especially if they are only charging 15 dollars.

Hey, I'm going to post your post in the forum of my website

http://www.textbookpower.com/forum/forum.php

If that's okay?

If you want you can check out the homepage. Let me know what you think or if you can think of othert ways the site could be useful -- or other information you think I should add.

Best,

R. Kennedy

5/26/2006 10:38 AM  
Blogger Old Junk, New Art said...

Here, you can check out what the site is about here. Seriously, send me an email from the comments section and let me know what you think.

TextbookPOWER.com

5/26/2006 10:45 AM  
Blogger RAS said...

I couldn't find a way to send you a message, so I just decided to post a follow-up message.

I don't mind if post my message on your site. I haven't looked through it in depth, but it looks like a good resource.

Keep in mind though the textbook my prof wrote wasn't big and fancy like the ones that come from the publishing companies. It had what it needed to have, though, which is the important thing!

5/26/2006 10:55 AM  
Blogger Chelee said...

I am just finishing up the school year so I have first hand experience of what you speak...

It's totally lame.

FYI, when/if you do have the opportunity to buy a used book, smell it first. This last qtr I got a student smoker's old book and I get a headache every time I read.):

5/26/2006 1:13 PM  

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