Originally Posted by borisb
why do publishers feel compelled to self-destruct their e-texts when the paper equivalent they've been selling for decades remain useable indefinitely?
I believe that most textbook manufacturers do not have any issue with the resale of texts (paper or e-text). The issue arises with duplication and subsequent resale of the copy. Individuals are challenged with reproducing and selling high quality print versions since commercial outlets will not undertake this activity without permission from the copyright holder. E-texts, however, are copyable in high quality formats on a personal basis and as such this abuse of ownership has a much higher likelihood of occurring. Texts (both paper band electronic) that are linked through to online subscriptions are much less likely to have this issue since publishers can provide much higher quality and more interactive learning experiences to the user while the subscription is valid. The relationship is the same between a black and white vs colour textbooks. The same information is in each version but the colour one provides a higher potential for learning due to the additional sensory perceptions.
Again, I cannot address the base costs for producing learning materials beyond those that we experience. I do believe that there is some instances of the gasoline company mentality which may go along the lines of "We are all competing vigorously for a limited student dollar but have agreed informally that our competition begins at a baseline of $150 per technical textbook.