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Old 07-01-2008, 12:41 PM   #1
Alexander Turcic
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How publishers aim to tackle textbook piracy

Filthy pirates, watch out, new measures to tackle the growing menace of textbook piracy are on their way. It's not a secret that lawyers are constantly scouring the Net for illegally offered content. In fact, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education, the Association of American Publishers has recently hired a law firm to go specifically against P2P sites and document-sharing sites like Scribd where infringing textbook material could be found.

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"In any given two-week period we found from 60,000 files all the way up to 250,000 files," said Edward McCoyd, director of digital policy for the publishing association. Mr. McCoyd, who leads the Online Piracy Working Group, said the group has been performing periodic scans for piracy since 2001, and that it has seen a gradual increase in the number of titles available.
Remember the music industry? It doesn't take a genius to work out that this legal strategy will not stop piracy. If anything, it only creates an adversarial relationship between the industry and its audience. So what to do? Albert N. Greco, a professor at Fordham University's Graduate School of Business, came up with this ingenious idea:

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He [Greco] said that if the problem worsens, publishers may have to take other steps to prevent piracy, such as releasing a new version of most textbooks every semester. The versions could include slight modifications that could be changed easily—such as altering the numbers in math problems.
So let's churn out new editions of textbooks every year with superficial changes, preventing debt-ridden students, a) from being able to purchase used, older editions, and b) from reselling the newly bought, overpriced book to the next semester student. I am sure this sensitive suggestion will eliminate book piracy forever. Just like expiring e-textbooks.

[via P2P Blog]
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Old 07-01-2008, 01:20 PM   #2
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This kind of thing is not new. My college professors some 40 years ago would supplement their salary by writing text books that were required purchases in the class. To avoid the students being able to use and purchase used books they would frequently revise the text. Students learned that you did not buy your books until after the first day of class since some teachers didn't even need the book but it was listed on the syllabus because the department dean wrote it.

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Old 07-01-2008, 02:21 PM   #3
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I have never heard of that Textbook Torrents site before. While they don't provide a link, given the name, it's easy to Google for it.

Interesting current note on their page:

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On Friday, we received a request from Pearson Education, one of the bigger textbook publishers, listing 78 torrents that they wanted disabled. While they are acting on extremely shaky legal ground, we are not in a position to fight a legal battle with the organization. As a result, in the interest of allowing the continued existence of this place, I have acceded to their request and disabled access to the listed torrents. Because of the batch process I used, uploaders will not receive the usual notification associated with a disabled torrent.

This is not a happy day, but I want to take the opportunity to make a few comments. First, I swear to you that I will do everything in my power to prevent the server's logs from falling into the hands of those that might use them against you. If that means bankrupting myself in the process, so be it. I would prefer that it not come to that, but I have drawn a line which I will not cross no matter the cost.
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Old 07-01-2008, 04:46 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alexander Turcic View Post
So let's churn out new editions of textbooks every year with superficial changes, preventing debt-ridden students, a) from being able to purchase used, older editions, and b) from reselling the newly bought, overpriced book to the next semester student.
Well, hopefully the ultimate result of e-textbooks will be lower-priced textbooks, mitigating the damage done to students' wallets. Of course, we all know that won't happen soon enough.
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Old 07-07-2008, 07:35 PM   #5
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I don't think it is easy to tackle the text book piracy. Maybe we can draw on paper, but when it comes to action. It is hard.
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Old 07-24-2008, 11:05 AM   #6
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This Textbook Torrents site is gone.

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Site Temporarily Unavailable
We apologize for the inconvenience. Please contact the webmaster/ tech support immediately to have them rectify this.

error id: "bad_httpd_conf"
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Old 07-24-2008, 07:34 PM   #7
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Jut because they come out with new editions doesn't mean schools are going to require them. If I was teaching a course, there would be no need to switch to a new book unless the content matter was updated sufficiently as to warrant a change. In the case of math, since the way to work problems hasn't really evolved to radically, there'd be no need to update except every 3 years or so; i.e., same book for Calc 1, 2, and 3. Who they really need to hit are the third-world countries who actually reprint these texts and sell on eBay and the rest of the Internet, I don't see downloaded texts being such an issue until portable reader evolve a bit more.
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Old 07-24-2008, 10:19 PM   #8
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Knowing broke college students, this will barely slow them down. Adios, internet, hello sneakernet.... (Student buys book, cracks copyprotect, sell cheap copies to fellow classmates to get his money back. Or swaps this class's book for another class's book. No trail, no way to track....)
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Old 08-14-2008, 07:34 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaleDe View Post
This kind of thing is not new. My college professors some 40 years ago would supplement their salary by writing text books that were required purchases in the class. To avoid the students being able to use and purchase used books they would frequently revise the text. Students learned that you did not buy your books until after the first day of class since some teachers didn't even need the book but it was listed on the syllabus because the department dean wrote it.
Dale
That is so sad. I have confronted teachers a lot of times, asking why they recommend a book that costs 500-700 Skr -> approx 80 - 110 USD. even though only 1-3 chapters in the whole book is used. It's rotten.
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Old 08-14-2008, 09:10 AM   #10
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I'm going to suggest it again, and let the chips fall where they may: Replacing student revenue with advertising or patronage revenue might be the answer.

It is probably not a good idea to simply allow ad money to select which books are used, so it would likely be an involved process of:
  1. Previewing texts by teachers,
  2. Selecting texts to use,
  3. THEN selling ad/patron/grant space for revenue.

Strict rules of the type and format of ads would also have to be applied.

Go ahead and say it: No one likes ads.

But who likes paying $500 a year for textbooks?
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Old 08-14-2008, 10:11 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Gianfranco View Post
That is so sad. I have confronted teachers a lot of times, asking why they recommend a book that costs 500-700 Skr -> approx 80 - 110 USD. even though only 1-3 chapters in the whole book is used. It's rotten.
Having taught part time as well as discussing with department heads, the real reason is "politics". Most likely the teacher was not even allowed to provide input.
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Old 08-14-2008, 12:05 PM   #12
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I have several times suggested that the teacher in question (who surely knows a good deal about available texts / free papers) should compose a compendium of selected texts which could be printed at the university and sold cheaply to the students. A lot of courses have used this system since the dawn of time, but still a lot of teachers seem to refuse this.

So, should you as a student gather the papers you found during the course, and generate a free compendium composed of your findings? Yes you should!
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Old 08-14-2008, 12:18 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Steve Jordan View Post
I'm going to suggest it again, and let the chips fall where they may: Replacing student revenue with advertising or patronage revenue might be the answer.

It is probably not a good idea to simply allow ad money to select which books are used, so it would likely be an involved process of:
  1. Previewing texts by teachers,
  2. Selecting texts to use,
  3. THEN selling ad/patron/grant space for revenue.

Strict rules of the type and format of ads would also have to be applied.

Go ahead and say it: No one likes ads.

But who likes paying $500 a year for textbooks?
People that take course like this. "A History of Erotic Narrative (LTCS2014)"
http://72.14.205.104/search?q=cache:...lnk&cd=2&gl=ca

Of course they probably wouldn't mind the advertising either.

I'm sorry was the rhetorical?


Seriously is it only $500 a year for textbooks? That's what I had to pay in the dark ages and then I had an instructor that handed out Xeroxed magazine articles all year because the textbook was out of date.

I think the best solution is to include the textbook cost in the course fees.
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Old 08-14-2008, 12:31 PM   #14
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People that take course like this. "A History of Erotic Narrative (LTCS2014)"
http://72.14.205.104/search?q=cache:...lnk&cd=2&gl=ca

"Assessment methods Final essay, class presentation (oral, in groups)"

Hmmm, oral.
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Old 08-14-2008, 12:38 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barcey View Post
Seriously is it only $500 a year for textbooks? That's what I had to pay in the dark ages and then I had an instructor that handed out Xeroxed magazine articles all year because the textbook was out of date.
I just picked the number out of the air... having been a few decades since I've been in school, I'm hardly the one to ask about up-to-date costs. I could have as easily said a thousand.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Barcey View Post
I think the best solution is to include the textbook cost in the course fees.
But then the class fees will just be too high.

I wasn't being rhetorical at all... I believe in the sponsor/patron revenue system for e-books, and I'm driving everyone crazy mentioning it everywhere! (Don't believe me? Just check acidzebra's blood pressure... I'll bet he needs a sit-down!)
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