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Are Students to Blame for the Rising Cost of Textbooks?

Posted October 27, 2013 12:00 AM by CR4 Guest Author

What's the one thing that every student all over the world, almost without exception, has in common?

Unadulterated shock and horror at the price of textbooks.

According to figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, since 1978, the cost of textbooks has risen by 812%, which is more than the increase in medical services, new home prices, and the Consumer Price Index. Yet, aside from the occasional demonstration (like the Textbook Rebellion at the University of Maryland's College Park campus), students and their parents meekly accept the costs as part of the package.

These days, the average student in the US spends $650 on textbooks per year, and they're not even buying all of the required reading material. In September 2001 Liz Dwyer cited a study by Student Public Interest Research Groups, which showed that seven out of 10 students don't buy all of the required university reading material because the books are just too expensive. She also cited findings from Student Monitor, which reported that students purchase about 77% of the required textbooks; ostensibly also because of costs.

The question is: are the costs justified?

If you're a student (or a parent), the answer is no. If you're a publisher (and possibly an author), the answer is yes.

Factors to consider

There are a lot of reasons why textbooks cost the earth; some people can even make them sound reasonable. Donald Prothero, for example, is a geology lecturer and textbook author with five books (and several revised editions) under his belt. He breaks down the textbook publishing industry for us mere mortals in a fascinating post on SkepticBlog.

To start off with, he emphasises the fact that authors do not get rich from writing textbooks. This is due to small royalty percentages, short runs, and limited demand. He also comes to the defense of booksellers, who are believed to tack on spectacular markups to make spectacular profits. Instead, Prothero says that they have to limit their markup to remain competitive; otherwise students will shop elsewhere, like online.

Which just leaves publishers, doesn't it?

Well, sort of.

It does cost a lot to make a textbook. They are usually printed on different paper to regular books, they're often irregularly sized, and they have all those colour images. Demand is also not that high, especially not in highly specialised fields, so publishers have to recover their costs with fewer sales.

Even in the relatively high-volume market (think all the 101-type textbooks for first year subjects and the books required for technical or vocational education and training), sales are only good for a couple of years, because after that we get to what many people consider the real problem: used textbooks.

Used textbooks are a poor student's lifesaver, but they're the kiss of death for publishers and authors.

So what happens?

We get revised second, third, and fourth, and twenty-fourth editions, with new introductions, addendums, and, sometimes, new material. Prothero says that in some cases, publishers put authors to work on revised editions as soon as the current edition comes off the press. And boy, do students pay for those revised editions.

So what happens?

They share, beg, steal and borrow the revised editions - which are then sold second-hand to next year's crop of new students. And the cycle continues.

Is there a way to stop the madness?

Probably not.

Many people herald ebooks and opensource as cheap (or free) solutions, but others are not convinced. This is because it's difficult to beat the handiness of physical books. For example, one problem with ebooks has to do with notes to the text. If you're working from an actual book, it's easy to flip back and forth between the notes and your place in the chapter. It's easy to quickly check an appendix. There is no flicking with an ebook, however. Sure, you can bookmark pages, but it's not the same.

Another suggestion is that the universities and lecturers themselves take more responsibility for the mess by allocating cheaper textbooks or favouring cheaper publishers. In essence, demand begins and ends with the lecturers, as they are the ones who determine the required reading material. If anyone can put the squeeze on publishers it's them.

Except that publishers often go out of their way to woo influential professors and lecturers, and where one leading academic goes, others soon follow. In this game of egos, students' budgets will come off second best.

It seems that for the time being the cycle is set to continue. Students will continue to buy and sell used textbooks because new textbooks are so expensive … and publishers will continue to release more expensive revised editions to recover the losses caused by used textbooks, with no end in sight.

image source

Editor's Note: Jemima Winslow is a lifelong student, always signing up for this diploma and that honours degree. She frequently laments the cost of textbooks, but she likes to hang on to the ones she's got, so at least she's not perpetuating the cycle.

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#1

Re: Are Students to Blame for the Rising Cost of Textbooks?

10/27/2013 7:02 AM

One of my biggest peeves in college was the end of the semester by back program where the college bought back your $200 mint condition text book for $25 and then seeing it on the used section shelf a week later for $150 with absolutely nothing done to it including never even dumping out my used sticky notes from between the pages.

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#3
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Re: Are Students to Blame for the Rising Cost of Textbooks?

10/27/2013 9:32 AM

You should have taken business courses and advertised your mint used books for $100 in the school paper.

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#4
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Re: Are Students to Blame for the Rising Cost of Textbooks?

10/27/2013 2:18 PM

You don't get those classes that until third or fourth year.

If they taught students financial management and the like the first semester of the first year it could cost them millions in undeserved revenue every year.

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Re: Are Students to Blame for the Rising Cost of Textbooks?

10/27/2013 7:57 AM

I remember reading something about this, that basically said that the entire thing is a scam. Textbooks are now revised almost yearly, (for very minor or insignificant changes), which keeps the money train rolling, and renders perfectly good books, obsolete.

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Re: Are Students to Blame for the Rising Cost of Textbooks?

10/27/2013 6:56 PM

Actually government 'student' loans are the ultimate cause. The increased cost of textbooks has merely followed the huge increases in college tuition costs - which in tern have been driven by the widespread availability of loans for college. Colleges have been able to jack-up tuition rates - with little or no complaint from students or their parents - because the added costs were just rolled in to the loans - to be paid back at some far-off time.

As a similar example - I remember when the costs for eyeglasses suddenly zoomed skyward when employer-paid insurance plans began including 'vision insurance'. The costs of glasses grew by leaps and bounds - but since the insurance was picking up 80% of the tab, I didn't protest. Suddenly optometrists were the latest members of the Porche / BMW / Mercedes clubs.

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#6

Re: Are Students to Blame for the Rising Cost of Textbooks?

10/27/2013 10:04 PM

There's a price for education, not for book collecting. That's what LIBRARIES are for, to READ what's already been published.

It's been said that you can basically obtain a degree in any field by reading about fifty different books on a single subject...for diversity and breadth of knowledge of the subject. And, checking-out those 50 books from the library is far LESS expensive than BUYING those 50 books.

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#19
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Re: Are Students to Blame for the Rising Cost of Textbooks?

10/28/2013 10:22 AM

Actually, once you've gotten your basic courses out of the way, you can get by with reading about 8 books in a particular subject.

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#20
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Re: Are Students to Blame for the Rising Cost of Textbooks?

10/28/2013 10:28 AM

There is something that stuck with me, and I believe it holes true.

My Calculus professor said in class, if you want to be an expert and it does not matter what field.

All you have to do is study an extra (2) hours a day on that field, and and at the end of two years, you would be very knowledgeable which actually does make sense.

AS far as Books, as said prior, once you have your general ed requirements done, there are not that many books required after that, and you use them on multi courses.

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#32
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Re: Are Students to Blame for the Rising Cost of Textbooks?

10/28/2013 3:12 PM

holes true or holds true?

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Re: Are Students to Blame for the Rising Cost of Textbooks?

10/28/2013 3:16 PM

"holds", and thanks

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#23
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Re: Are Students to Blame for the Rising Cost of Textbooks?

10/28/2013 11:19 AM

It's been said that you can basically obtain a degree in any field by reading about fifty different books on a single subject...for diversity and breadth of knowledge of the subject.

You may obtain the knowledge equivalent to a degree by doing that, but I don't think you will not obtain a meaningful degree without enrolling in the courses and demonstrating knowledge of the material at an accredited school.

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Re: Are Students to Blame for the Rising Cost of Textbooks?

10/28/2013 11:37 AM

I have to agree, that it is pretty hard to beat structured education.

On a side issue, but may be still on topic it's the digital learning process. (books and classes over the internet)

I have some very mixed feelings about this.

Having done both, classes over the internet are not easy, I feel that not only is it more difficult, I get a very uneasy feeling, that I do not walk away with what I could have learned in the class room.

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#35
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Re: Are Students to Blame for the Rising Cost of Textbooks?

10/28/2013 6:12 PM

The Degree is just a screening tool. It's no guarantee that a person with a degree is going to do better than someone without a degree that just walks through the door.

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#36
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Re: Are Students to Blame for the Rising Cost of Textbooks?

10/28/2013 8:07 PM

I always felt that a degree just opens a door a little wider....... It's still up to the person to close the deal. I know a few highly educated people the were virtually useless

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Re: Are Students to Blame for the Rising Cost of Textbooks?

10/27/2013 10:44 PM

If school authorities & charities buy used textbooks & sell to poor students at reduced rate or free of cost cost of publishing in great numbers will reduce

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Re: Are Students to Blame for the Rising Cost of Textbooks?

10/27/2013 10:52 PM

E-bay is an easy way to sell used text books.

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Re: Are Students to Blame for the Rising Cost of Textbooks?

10/28/2013 12:28 AM

I wrote four text books in my checkered carreer. They were all cerlox bound, and cost about twenty dollars each. Two were military text books still in use...still printed in short runs by the on base printer. Two were my trade. Copies are available in all libraries in Ottawa, and are often taken out.

One is spiral bound. Cost...ten bucks on my web site. Staples or Kinko's seem to like the business. The other is too embarassing to sell, and I can't be arsed to re-write it.

But back in the day, it also sold for ten bucks.

If education is the goal...then they would do that. Clearly education is NOT the goal if you don't do that. Why make a text book "sexy" with odd sizes and colour pictures?

Follow the money. See where it goes. That will answer your questions.

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#10
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Re: Are Students to Blame for the Rising Cost of Textbooks?

10/28/2013 6:25 AM

Does one really need text books when CR4 can answer all queries, questions and homework, with real life experiences and knowledge. It is FREE to air on CR4. No need to buy text books at all. Perhaps Internet is partially to blame!!!!

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Re: Are Students to Blame for the Rising Cost of Textbooks?

10/28/2013 6:40 AM

Not free!

You pay for it in verbal abuse.

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Re: Are Students to Blame for the Rising Cost of Textbooks?

10/28/2013 7:22 AM

The verbal abuse just adds to the real world experience.

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Re: Are Students to Blame for the Rising Cost of Textbooks?

10/28/2013 7:37 AM

That is a revelation. There is a real world?

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#14
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Re: Are Students to Blame for the Rising Cost of Textbooks?

10/28/2013 7:59 AM

There must be. I read about it in an expensive text book once.

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Re: Are Students to Blame for the Rising Cost of Textbooks?

10/28/2013 8:03 AM

Yeah...it's the world that comes after textbooks. The world with crappy, demeaning managers and low pay.

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Re: Are Students to Blame for the Rising Cost of Textbooks?

10/28/2013 8:57 AM

Oh! Is that where I live. The text books described something nicer and I believed it as it was a very expensive book, with colourful pictures and big words. I shall sell it now on eBay or swap for a proper book. I had better redo my homework assignment now.

Can I use Google Maps and Where Is, to to help me in my homework. I need to locate myself? (This question is for 15 points)

Will the recent solar flares change the colour of my goldfish? (Also worth 15 points).

If I put my head in a cupboard will I see? (Also 15 points). 45 Is a pass mark. 10 Points for spelling my name correctly.

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Re: Are Students to Blame for the Rising Cost of Textbooks?

10/28/2013 5:22 PM

quote...does one really need text books when CR4 can answer all queries...

Well....i doze havf a homeworek questun for ya....

(dives from the flying bricks from Lyn and others)

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Re: Are Students to Blame for the Rising Cost of Textbooks?

10/29/2013 10:48 AM

From what I've seen, when someone asks a question, people rise up and tell them we're not here to do their homework for them.

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#17

Re: Are Students to Blame for the Rising Cost of Textbooks?

10/28/2013 9:02 AM

The definition should be defined........

Your general ed courses in sociology, psychology communications..... that is one thing.

still have my technical communications books because I need it at times........

But my machinery's handbook, Perry's Chemical Engineers Handbook, Marks Standard Hand Book for Engineers plus a small library of various technical books........ I felt was well worth the investment...... though I don't use them as often now as I did in the beginning of my career.

You have to put a value on these, but do it smartly.

Of course I purchased some of these when I went to college because it was a requirement....... But for my career, I save the pertinent ones, and added to them as I tackled more challenging tasks as my career went forward.

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#18

Re: Are Students to Blame for the Rising Cost of Textbooks?

10/28/2013 10:06 AM

First step, IMO, would be for schools to forbid academics from personally profiting from the sale of the text books they REQUIRE for their classes.

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#21
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Re: Are Students to Blame for the Rising Cost of Textbooks?

10/28/2013 10:48 AM

Bit rash. But it is OK for the school to resell and profit from this. Kind of absurd! But I am sure you have a rational reason for your thought and opinion.

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Re: Are Students to Blame for the Rising Cost of Textbooks?

10/28/2013 11:17 AM

Yep, just from 3 points below extracted from the article. If there's anyway for the system to gouge those who have no choice in the matter, they'll find it if they're willing to loosen their morality. IMO, education should not be a for profit business.

Hooker

"...publishers put authors to work on revised editions as soon as the current edition comes off the press. And boy, do students pay for those revised editions.'

"Another suggestion is that the universities and lecturers themselves take more responsibility for the mess by allocating cheaper textbooks or favouring cheaper publishers. In essence, demand begins and ends with the lecturers, as they are the ones who determine the required reading material. If anyone can put the squeeze on publishers it's them."

"Except that publishers often go out of their way to woo influential professors and lecturers, and where one leading academic goes, others soon follow. In this game of egos, students' budgets will come off second best."

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#27
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Re: Are Students to Blame for the Rising Cost of Textbooks?

10/28/2013 1:11 PM

Are you kidding? If they gave everyone the required material for their own classes for free do you have any idea how bad that would cut into budgets for all the free stuff and free ride scholarships the sports programs need to survive?

Good lord that could very well put a almost perceivable fraction of most colleges frivolous sports programs out of of commission.

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#28
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Re: Are Students to Blame for the Rising Cost of Textbooks?

10/28/2013 1:27 PM

Put it open the open market,

If they would give a list of the required books, then go through a book exchange sometimes set up at the local colleges or used books at Amazon.

But that is the reason they would revise books so often, by stating you need the latest revision, where the difference between the last two revisions, is basically unnoticeable.

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Re: Are Students to Blame for the Rising Cost of Textbooks?

10/28/2013 2:58 PM

For the record, I never said "free", just "not for profit".

And, for the non-academic endeavours, let the alumni fund it (if they have any interest, that is).

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#25

Re: Are Students to Blame for the Rising Cost of Textbooks?

10/28/2013 11:53 AM

"It does cost a lot to make a textbook. They are usually printed on different paper to regular books, they're often irregularly sized, and they have all those colour images."

Why the different paper (to make the book last longer? if so, then added value)

Why is the size irregular? If that adds to cost, then why not use regular sized paper to keep the cost down?

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Re: Are Students to Blame for the Rising Cost of Textbooks?

10/28/2013 12:58 PM

Different size,

My Machinery's handbook is about 5" x approx.8" x about 3" think..

My complaint with this is that the writing is too small for me to read, BUT, initially, this was a less cumbersome size instead of a size 8"x 12" size, especially on a layout table.........

Paper play a big roll, with basically the quality of the material, You may have less acid in it or it treated, where the shelf life is longer. And the paper my be higher quality with the materials it self.

As well as a higher quality of bindings......... I notice that some of my books the bindings do show wear and tear and are beginning to gave away.

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Re: Are Students to Blame for the Rising Cost of Textbooks?

10/28/2013 2:41 PM

they're often irregularly sized,

The bigger books were a ply of the bookcase manufacturers to stay in business. The regular size fitted on the bookcase easily. Bigger books made you buy a bigger bookcase. It is a ploy I say,

A small fact; the biggest book is in a museum in Stockholm, it is called the Devils bible (The Codex Gigas) and it is 1m tall, 165lbs heavy and is not bedtime reading.

The editors note reads: See fine print.

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#30

Re: Are Students to Blame for the Rising Cost of Textbooks?

10/28/2013 2:53 PM

In the "For what it's worth" catagory.

Back in the Dark Ages when I was in college ('72-'76) we were allowed to rent our textbooks from the college. Cost was $10 per quarter. There were some additional books (for English, Econ, etc.) that we had to purchase but they were readily available at any book store and most if not all were <$12. At the end of the quarter you returned the text book in a reasonably good condition. If you wanted to have a copy to keep, you initially looked for one in good condition that had been rented several times, as the cost to buy the book at the end of the quarter was based on the numbers of times it was rented. If you did not return it or it was badly defaced, you paid the cost of the replacement book.

15 years later when I returned for Graduate school, every text book was purchased and the cost was $75-200.

Guessing they could not make enough off of the rentals.

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#39
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Re: Are Students to Blame for the Rising Cost of Textbooks?

10/29/2013 10:58 AM

That was back in the day when education was for the betterment of the world. Now in this country, education is just to line someone else's pockets.

Under Gaddafi in Libya. When he took power, literacy was at about 24%, when they destroyed him, literacy was at 83%. Education all the way through college was free. Not such a bad leader after all, was he?

And to go along with that. When you completed your education, you were paid by the State $2300/mo until you found a job that went with your education.

On top of that, if you wanted to be a farmer, they gave you a plot of land, they gave you equipment necessary for the crops you wanted to farm and supplied you with enough seed to get you started.

Not such a bad leader now is he?

And his country had enough money surplus, that he was wanting to have is oil purchased with gold and to create a Gold Dinar currency. The world bank couldn't allow that now could they?

He was doing something right.

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Re: Are Students to Blame for the Rising Cost of Textbooks?

10/30/2013 12:37 AM

Students in Quebec were "striking" go get free tuition. I don't believe in free education...because I believe that if somebody gets something for free, they think it is worthless.

Case in point...I offered my blacksmith shop and an entire course on how to do decorative metalwork to all my friends. Set aside Fridays during the summer months. Sort of a "give back" for all the help they have given me during my illness. I expected a hundred kids to drop in and take advantage. The place stayed empty for the entire summer...while I continued to pound out my stuff.

Then, after the summer, I announced that the summer special offer was over, and the price was a mere 120 bucks a day (friend's price...I usually end up buying us all supper with it.) A bit more for off the street sign ups. I have not had an empty Friday since. Or not many.

That is what I found, and why I do not believe in Free Education. When people see "free", they think it is worth nothing. Or they look for the catch. Or they get the lowest quality the person offering the education can give and still make money, or the students think they do.

And yes, my textbook is still ten bucks. They cost me eight to print them at Staples or Kinkos. I like the extra couple of bucks to cover gas, and I get them in VERY short print runs of thirty or forty at a time. So the short print run excuse does not fly. (I have sold more than a thousand of that text book in the last eleven years. Hmmmm...that means I made two grand on a book which I typed out on my break times back when I worked for a living.

Perhaps they think a hundred bucks for a textbook validates the information being taught in much the same way as my hundred dollar courses validates the information being taught?

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#44
In reply to #39

Re: Are Students to Blame for the Rising Cost of Textbooks?

11/01/2013 5:31 PM

The FED and government work together so you can sign your life away for a $200K 'education'...student loans are easy and non forgivable....the banks are stealing your future if you buy into this system as it's presented today.

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#45
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Re: Are Students to Blame for the Rising Cost of Textbooks?

11/01/2013 6:06 PM

You don't buy into the loan, you buy into the education.... And if you chose an unsustainable degree, that is on you as a student and you alone.

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#46
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Re: Are Students to Blame for the Rising Cost of Textbooks?

11/11/2013 10:37 AM

I agree with you Phoenix.

My gripe is the price. I paid $485/unit just so I can get my degree at home and on my own schedule. I got a BSBA. Paying that much was a gamble that so far is biting me in the ass, rather than being a benefit.

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#47
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Re: Are Students to Blame for the Rising Cost of Textbooks?

11/11/2013 11:02 AM

I paid about the same,...Started at $500.00/ credit for my BsC, but it dropped when I found out others were paying $485.00 (Fortunately, my credit from my other degrees (BSET Accredited) transferred.... so I only needed to go from (2) years ... because the school (for profit) offered what I was looking for...... I didn't care for online, but I took some GE courses.....They did have online (Econ, Culture.....)..... maybe just me, I didn't think I was gaining as much with out interaction like for economic..... But still I gain knowledge..............

Been out for 16 months...... Started paying back the loan last year, but even with that........at the rate I'm paying back should take another year......

The reason for this, is that, I had health issues about 8 years ago that fiscally destroyed me and my credit. Just paid one unsubsidized student loan off, two more to go, then Two more subsidized loans.

And my credit score just this month shot up 50 points.. (It was way down) .... Good solid job, pay check and benefits. (I think my credit score was hard on me)

Can't say the same for all the students........ they had choose a degree that was already satiated.

One being Criminal Justice (CJ) .

The last weeks there, they had alumi return (of course they were all successful), and one current CJ student in the audience said she was having trouble finding work in her feild and asked a question about it....

They literally and figuratively blew smoke up her, as well as not answering her question......... That got me upset and I challenger the speaker........... and asked for hard quanitive data on the graduates like the other colleges in the area have.

The speakers response was, "Well students can lie".

I said professional don't lie about their academics. And you should not be addressing these alumi's as liars. And that you should be able to answer the Student's question about Placement under C.J.

The faculty speakers that were there cut in, but I did make my point .......

But I always felt that education is what you make of it,......... and with this for profit........ there were too many students there that never should have made it past the entrance exam.

But for me......I'm happy about my degree........ but I paid through the nose for it.

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#48
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Re: Are Students to Blame for the Rising Cost of Textbooks?

11/11/2013 11:37 AM

Mine was in Project Management so it is a flexible degree. Some of the required classes were useless, they were for setting up LAN's and I'm not working in the IT fields. But the Total Quality Management and the Contracts and Procurement courses work nicely for what I do.

My major handicap is I live in a high unemployment rated area in California about 14%, and completed my degree just before the economy dumped. So I've been working for my original employer and they don't want to pay anything. I had to walk away from my home.

I had 37 college units already prior to getting this degree but didn't use them. They would only have been used as elective credits.

Now that I'm 51, the prospect of changing employers is kind of hard and I'm reluctant to do it. I may not be getting paid very much but I do have seniority and good vacation time. Who wants to start as the new guy?

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#49
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Re: Are Students to Blame for the Rising Cost of Textbooks?

11/11/2013 12:37 PM

wow, we walked the same path....... Just turned 53, My degree was in Project Management also........ at ITT Technical. The Project Management degree was also transferable to The UW-Wisconsin system........... for a Masters in PM........ which for ITT degrees go, is a rarity.

Fortunately I had a degree in Mechanical also. But ITT was changing the PM degree where we currently studied Construction, IT and Engineering in the course........ now they broke it up separately and its specialized.

In Wisconsin, this is huge, and companies are really looking for people with a base technical degree with a PM degree or PMP certifications....... and if you have a this PMP certs...... which I believe I have all the intentions to getting. then your sitting pretty good.

An example...... I'm getting calls from firms, I did not contact for 3-4 years.

But I have to say........ the students that I graduated with, the ones that only had the PM degree is having a hard time of securing a job.

Now I'm going to gripe. One of which I'll call one of the instructors we had......... I had it out with him, because on a technical project, that requires expertise....... I felt the project manager should have some type of technical back ground to actually understand the project......

He told me straight out..... I don't care if you were a engineer, welder or fabricator before...... now you are a Project Manager, that all you have to know..... he went on to say, if you need a technical expert, you bring that technical expert in. (Industry is looking for multiple disciplined people), I had PM experience, but, I felt I needed more education and tools in this area.

Well, he was popping his mouth off because he had just received his PMP certification and was just hired as a Project Manager at Marinette Marine on the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) contract.

I had a background working in the shipyard with military contracts, so I told him, if your going in there only armed with your Project Management degree and PMP certification and no knowledge of shipbuilding, they're going to eat you alive because you do not know wtf your doing.. Needless to say, I receive a D+ in that class of Costing and Budgeting, and it wasn't that I was an idiot........

Later on in the class, he was talking about a mediating problems, and was using a problems at his work as an example....... before the semester was over..... he was looking for a job, because Marinette Marine left him go.

ITT taught you the tools, but you have to have a background on how to apply them.

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#50
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Re: Are Students to Blame for the Rising Cost of Textbooks?

11/11/2013 2:47 PM

hmmm!!!!

anom. poster post was removed,.............. no wonder I could not post my reply....

had some good points and had a decent reply too..........

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Re: Are Students to Blame for the Rising Cost of Textbooks?

11/11/2013 3:14 PM

I was going to reply to him as well but it wasn't letting me. I was going to tell him, when he's going to point out errors to someone else's grammar and give examples, that he should write them out as "your" and "you're" with the quotation marks.

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#52
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Re: Are Students to Blame for the Rising Cost of Textbooks?

11/11/2013 3:37 PM

Must have been the same anom..., caught me before...... in his/her defense, he/she did have a point about gramm'r

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#53
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Re: Are Students to Blame for the Rising Cost of Textbooks?

11/11/2013 4:09 PM

Well, my Gramm'r always told me to not belittle others.

I didn't listen though.

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#37

Re: Are Students to Blame for the Rising Cost of Textbooks?

10/28/2013 8:31 PM

The bookstore wouldn't buy back our Economics textbooks. they were using the same book Summer Quarter. On the first day of class I walked into the room, held up my book, and said, "What am I bid?" I got $50.

It's funny how books are priced. "Pocket Neighborhoods" costs 29.95. "Prefabulous+Almost Off the Grid" costs 24.95. both of these books have color plates on almost every page. "Living Streets" costs $85 new. It's all monochrome. But there are used copies showing up in the 25 dollar range. Then you can download the "Model Street Design Manual for Living Streets" for free. It's a 385 page PDF document produced by the City of LA and given away. You could print it out yourself buts that's a lot of printing. And it's not the same as the book.

Another workaround is Worldcat, the online library catalog. I've found I can preview most of "Living Streets" but it's not the same as having a hard copy. I've also been trying to get the local library to buy a copy. In the meantime I've been hammering interlibrary loan to keep one in my posession. Ironically both the city and county libraries have "Pocket Neighborhoods" in stock.

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#41

Re: Are Students to Blame for the Rising Cost of Textbooks?

10/30/2013 1:03 AM

The problem for publisher's point of view is that, students go for Xerox copying of entire book and leave no scope for the pulisher.

If books are sent for review for purchase, librariyans photo copy the same and return back the original innocently

Such is the plight of books & publications.

Books are more precious possessions than xeroxed copy book.

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#42

Re: Are Students to Blame for the Rising Cost of Textbooks?

10/30/2013 7:30 AM

Are Students to Blame for the Rising Cost of Textbooks?

Yes, of course they are. If there were no students there would be no need of text books. It's basic supply and demand. As the demand increases, the suppliers can charge a higher price for what they supply.

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#43

Re: Are Students to Blame for the Rising Cost of Textbooks?

10/31/2013 2:36 PM

These people set a used refrigerator on the curb with a free sign on it.It just sat there. They put a price tag on it. It disappeared that night.

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#54

Re: Are Students to Blame for the Rising Cost of Textbooks?

11/13/2013 8:23 AM

I saw this on LinkedIn about Forgiving Student Loans.

Can't make it out whether this is an advertisement or what. But an excerpt of it:

"The service hopes to help the nation's 37 million student loan borrowers throw off the shackles of servitude binding them from pursuing the lives they deserve."

37 Million??????. That's over 10% of the population……. Sounds like graduates of the last 10 years.

Figure conservatively, each person has $10,000 debt...... that $370 Billion. where is that coming from....... Oh wait, come to think about it.........we may print it here, but the money is actually is Made in China...

There was a time, where when you made a mistake, you get yourself out.

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#55

Re: Are Students to Blame for the Rising Cost of Textbooks?

12/03/2013 10:46 AM

Blaming your customers for your failures is a sure way to destroy your business.

It's not students' faults that textbooks cost so much. The publishers' cost points are valid, but they should be looking for ways to trim those costs. Due to the limited market for a textbook one can expect them to remain relatively expensive. But modern methods of delivery, such as e-book, can trim those costs dramatically.

It's pretty easy to self-publish today so textbook authors may begin skipping the traditional publishers entirely. Then prices would probably go down and royalties would probably go up. Many textbook authors are university professors who get their universities to specify their textbook for courses - ensuring at least some market. For many of these authors the rewards are not so much in royalties as they are in associated stature and tenure.

I like physical books, but I foresee the publishing industry following the same decline as the record industry.

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