Originally Posted by epiphany
I think it is wrong to suggest that academic publishers are more greedy than any other publishers. This would imply that particularly greedy people gravitate to that segment of the publishing industry or that publishing non-fiction rather than fiction somehow makes someone greedier. The correct question to ask is how are academic publishers able to charge more than other publishers. I think the answer is rather simple: (a) they have a government granted monopoly (copyright) on the product and (b) they have a trapped customer base because students often require the exact textbook to complete their course. Textbooks are usually highly imperfect substitutes because the material is different and lecturers often require students to complete exercises from the book. Thus students are trapped into buying from the one publisher and there is no competition to drive down prices.
Actually, the academic press as you are experiencing it IS the result of a consolidation (led by Springer Verlag and a few others) effectuated precisely to allow the remaining publishers to make more money by raising prices against very limited competition.
Sometimes, even paranoid delusions are accurate.