Paul L. Caron

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Report Blasts Publishers for High Textbook Prices

The Student Public Interest Research Groups has issued Required Reading: A Look at the Worst Publishing Tactics at Work, claiming that textbook publishers inflate the cost of new textbooks through six techniques:

  1. Increased Prices, Same Product
  2. Costly Bundles
  3. New Covers, Old Content, Zero Used Books
  4. Modern Bundles: Resell Sabotage
  5. “Low Cost” Options that are Anything but Low Cost
  6. Customized to Limit the Used Book Market

The PIRG effort is part of the Make Textbooks campaign.  The Association of American Publishers has issued a rejoinder, Why PIRG Is Wrong: Myths and Facts About College Textbooks.  For coverage of the issue, see:

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Throughout my law school career, my casebooks have cost an average of $100. I have paid an average of about $35 for them. I got most for $25. and both allow me to easily buy the used version of any book I want. I imagine these have also greatly reduced the effective cost of these books (and cut into publisher's profits.)

It's true though that you can't buy the used version of a brand new printing, but it only takes one semester to get over this hurdle.

Posted by: AM | Nov 1, 2006 11:42:17 AM