Originally Posted by Bimble
The real fix would have to start with the faculty - students need to talk to them and get them to either pay more attention to pricing, or to look at textbooks distributed outside traditional publishing venues (like some creative commons textbooks that can be freely downloaded or printed cheaply - there aren't a lot, but there are indeed some like that being used at ivy league schools, written by professors, and that underwent peer review before release).
I strongly agree.
I apologise for my earlier snarkiness. It was unproductive. What I might better have said was:
I'm only now beginning to discover the world of open education, which is enormous, powered by internet technology, and of tremendous potential and sustainability. For those interested in what Bimble is talking about with regard to the CC textbooks, have a look at the Connexions Project
or Baraniuk's TED lecture
(~20 minute video). At the academic, legal, and popular level, there is genuine intellectual discussion, organisation, and action building around the idea that education and its folderol can be pursued and published under schemes that depart from current capitalistic structures---that money does not need to be the currency by which the education industry advances.
I own that piracy, rather than being conceived of as isolated instances of personal ethical failure, is more constructively viewed as a symptom of an obsolete economic model rigidly maintained. In an environment saturated by digital technology, where what was once a discrete physical commodity can now be duplicated and transmitted perfectly and without cost, established notions of property and remuneration, and the ethics with which we discuss them, must be reŽvaluated.
I would also add, for the purposes of clarifying our discussion and with reference to JSWolf's comments above, that I distinguish the sort of piracy he mentioned, in which a product is acquired and then duplicated and sold without authorisation for monetary gain, from that in which a product is duplicated and freely distributed.)