Ever had to buy ridiculously priced text books?

CK12 Text Books

Assuming they acquire attractive data sources, CK-12’s next challenge will be spreading the word. The education system is not quick to adopt new technologies. I think that finding teachers able to use Internet-born text books will be their biggest challenge. They will have to communicate outside the tech channels that will give them initial buzz.

While the focus is K-12, I have firsthand experience at the beginning of every semester helping college students find their text books. We rarely have them. Way too expensive. Of course there are students who are just trying to avoid paying for those text books but there is another type of student. I’ve known students who struggle to pay for their text books. College text book costs are rising ever higher. Could there be a more cost effective way?

Maybe publishers are slow to offer electronic texts because they think students will just beat any DRM the publisher can install. I know students know who scan their entire text books. One student buys one of the Xnumber of required books and then they all trade scans. (Yes, I know what your thinking about the legality of that action). But, what if publishers offered electronic versions at lower costs than the outrageous prices on the 52nd edition of Introduction to Human Sexuality? Research in other areas like MP3 sales and pay-per-articles prove that people will pay a fair amount for reasonably priced products. But is twice the rate of inflation fair? (Here’s the report via pdfmenot.com). I wonder about the hidden cost this drive for profit Capitalism extracts from all of us -mostly unknowingly.

It’s like going to Canada for prescription drugs: go overseas and you can get your text books for half the cost. Boo that. If there are any (LIS) students/Professors out there want to share thoughts on text book costs -feel free. Just be careful for a backlash if you feel those prices are justified.

TTW Contributor- Lee LeBlanc

One thought on “Ever had to buy ridiculously priced text books?”

  1. I had to buy a textbook for an accounting class this quarter, and the 2008 edition was required. It was only available new and cost about $50. The 2007 edition was available used through online sellers for $0.99. That’s a 98% depreciation after one year. Even cars don’t suffer that badly.

    I bought the 2008 version (I’m so good at following the rules), but compared books with a friend who bought last year’s model. The only difference? The dates on all the sample forms had been changed.

    The textbook monopoly seems like such an obvious abuse of power on the part of universities and publishers. Because of copyright laws, and by extension DRM, any student who wants to fulfill the requirements of a college course is subject to paying whatever fee the textbook company wants to charge. Copyright laws were designed to stimulate creativity, but in this case they mainly seem to be providing financial subsidies to publishing companies.

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