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09:44 AM on 01/08/2013
This madness...for what college itself costs, the books should be included. Somebody somewhere is getting rich off people trying to better themselves. Shame on them!!!
02:35 AM on 01/08/2013
The cost of college and texbooks is way too high. Maybe Congress can quit submitting bills to stop Obamacare and submit bills to make these costs affordable.
11:17 AM on 03/24/2013
Oh so your response is for healthcare to be and stay expensive so textbooks aren't so high for you? How about both books and healthcare be affordable instead of one over the other?
10:35 PM on 01/07/2013
It's time to occupy the publishers.
03:03 PM on 01/07/2013
I worked for college textbook publishers for 12 years. A lot of the cost was for simple greed and expensive compenstation packages for management. Every year we had 2 very expensive sales meetings at resorts with lavish accomodations and free spending. I've seen sales representative run up huge bills on alcohol and food at these meetings and of course it was all expensed back to the company and then passed along to the students. In our meetings we plotted how to drive up the costs, not how to provide value. We tried every trick you could imagine to make books more expensive and have less shelf life. The cost to print the books was a tiny fraction of what was charged. Most of the money went to corporate executives and their lavish bonuses and trips. I remember one time our CEO came to work with me and he reserved an entire floor of a major hotel to stay at for a week. He worked with me for one day and stayed in the hotel for a whole week living like a king. If you eliminated the greed and excess from the industry books would cost a fraction of what they cost now. It was shameful the way we opperated.
03:16 PM on 01/07/2013
I also need to add that we quite often bought the business from professors. It was common practice to buy computers or give lab grants for software to departments if they used our books. We also loved to create "custom" books for Universities. These books were generally a standard textbook with added material from the department. These books could only be sold at one school so it would eliminate the ability of students to sell the book at the end of the semester. We would pay the department a commision on these books because they had added their own material. It was basically a method to bribe departments into using our products. Most Universities are usually in need of money and often the department heads were forced to look for deals like this to make ends meet. We would also often pay for faculty to attend conferences if they used our books. It was a very shady business with all of the major publishers using similar tactics. Anyone who has ever worked in the industry can tell you similar stories. Our goal was to bleed the students for every dime possible, if we could have created books that self destructed at the end of the semester I believe that we would have.
09:46 AM on 01/08/2013
Amazing. What a racket.
06:50 PM on 01/08/2013
I was also in the industry for over 20 years. When I started out (in the late 1980's) I worked for a small, independent publisher full of people who really cared about helping students, but the companies kept consolidating and consolidating until there were only three big ones left Things became very corporate and it was about profits and growth more than anything else.

We flew coach to our sales meetings, but once we arrived, things got lavish. We would go to the Boca Resort and Club and dance to have live bands (once we had Jimmy Buffet!)

The business was so mature (saturated) that growth in revenues sufficient to attract stock market investors (7-10 percent annual gains) could not be obtained through increased sales. Think of it from your own vantage point. Imagine that you are choosing which companies to put your investment money into. Would you invest in a company that doesn't produce gains higher than the bond markets? Why take the risk if you're not going to get the reward? So in order to grow enough to attract investors the companies had no choice but to come out with new editions and raise prices annually by double digits.

And the price elasticity of demand curves for textbooks were very interesting: we could raise and raise and raise prices without seeing a huge dropoff in demand.

It must have been fun for the bigshots while it lasted, but it's coming rapidly to an end.
10:51 AM on 01/07/2013
I always loved buying a $200 brand new textbook and then trying to sell it back to the bookstore at the end of the semester and only being offered $10, or "there is a new addition now, we can't accept your copy". Now, I use, rent books, or one of my personal favorites (especially for textbooks that have been out a while) is finding the PDF version of the book online (100% free). These publishers are scamming people. Thankfully, one day textbooks will become a thing of the past when they become digitalized.
James I Kirkland
State Paleontologist Utah
10:23 AM on 01/07/2013
25 years ago; I was working hard to find inexpensive textbooks for my students. I no longer teach.
I know professors now, that have put spectacular power point courses online for their students and share them. Publishers are going to see a a revolt among faculty soon.
07:00 AM on 01/07/2013
As a current student, I would like to say the book should not cost more than the class. Example: Spanish class approximately $150; the book is $215. When I got my first degree, the college rented books to students each semester. Now that I have to procure new books for each class, every semester, it seems ridiculous. If there is a major update to course material, reprinting a 300-page book may not be necessary. If the publisher still needs to bleed students of every last penny, provide the 'new' info on a supplemental CD or download. I'm sure the human body has not change enough to warrant students getting a different, new A&P book every fall semester.
In honor of Trayvon Martin
06:13 AM on 01/07/2013
It's ridiculous.
12:59 AM on 01/07/2013
I don't know how they are calculating the price of the university. But Yale and Washington University tuition is higher than all of them.
Sisters and Brothers of America!
08:35 PM on 01/06/2013
Students should write their own textbooks and give exams to the teachers.
06:55 PM on 01/06/2013
So exactly what are the educational alternative resources? Should everything just be available online? How do professors then protect their own work?
Texan by birth ; Californian by choice
05:31 PM on 01/06/2013
At my community college, my students often pay more for their textbooks than for course tuition, which, of course, is rather modest, compared to the CSU or UC systems.....There are several generous financial aid programs for those with established needs, but, still, the costs for texts are outrageous.....
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11:06 PM on 01/17/2013
"At my community college, my students often pay more for their textbooks than for course tuition..."
Same thing at my community college
01:39 PM on 01/06/2013
What fails to be said is that Vassar College and Columbia University both are ranked as having the best financial aid in the country. It's not like most students actually pay that price you see above. They don't. Only the ones who can afford it can.
Paul Kearney
I am not a republican, nor do I play one on here.
11:17 AM on 01/06/2013
Another glaring inequality, and proof that the field is not level. How can someone who has parents making minimum wage ever hope to actually just go to school? Anyone who wants a higher education should have that option, without having to work 40+ hours week to do so. The higher average salaries would create a higher average tax rate, which would in turn pay for itself, and then some. Appalachian students start in such a hole that college is almost an impossibility, with some of the most mundane problems to the rest of the nation, either greatly delaying graduation, or making it an impossibility.
frank day
Obama cares about all of U.S.
10:16 AM on 01/06/2013
It isn't just College textbooks.

K-12 is also ridiculous.