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Old 09-23-2005, 08:14 AM   #1
Colin Dunstan
Is papyrophobic!
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Why should students pay $150 for one textbook?

If you're a college student and don't have the luxury of charging your purchases to daddy's credit card, you probably know the sudden onset of depression upon entering a campus bookstore. The price of textbooks is just out of hand. According to this sobering government report (PDF), over the past two decades, "college textbook prices have risen at double the rate of inflation."

Yale Law School professor Ian Ayres notes in a recent NYT article that professors receive royalties for textbooks that they author and then assign to their students. In addition, he draws an analogy to prescription drugs:

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Indeed, the pricing problems with textbooks are eerily analogous to those affecting prescription drugs. In both cases you have doctors (Ph.D.'s or M.D.'s) prescribing products. In neither case does the doctor pay for the product prescribed - in many cases, he or she doesn't even know what it costs. And the clincher is that in both cases, the manufacturers sell the same product at substantially reduced prices abroad.
So it's easy to understand why publishers have been hesitant to release electronic textbooks at substantially lower prices than regular textbooks. As long as students have no choice in the textbooks they buy, publishers won't see a need to offer lower-priced alternatives that could potentially cannibalize their lucrative monopolistic market.
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Old 09-23-2005, 12:20 PM   #2
Alslayer
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Yea it really sucks. I will be long out of college when they finally switch to cheaper digital books.
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