Due, in part, to a lack of attention to prices from colleges our text books have become far too overpriced.
Usually when pitching a textbook to a college the publisher fails to mention the price and the colleges never really ask up front. I am all for worrying more about content, but the price still needs to be looked at for the student’s sake. There are enough reasons why student loan default rates are on the rise, incredibly pricey books shouldn’t have to be a factor.
Another reason that the prices are kept so high is that the market seems to be working counter intuitively. More and more publishers feel the need to create these books and to compete in the market resulting in fewer and fewer individual sales for any one publisher causing an increase in price to keep themselves profitable. Obviously this is not a productive competitive market and it is we the students that are the captive buyers that have to suffer for it.
Another factor in the market is that the used text book market has done such a marvelous job of undercutting new books thus thinning the market further. Ever wonder the real reason why they are constantly shoving sometimes mandatory new editions down are throats every year? The major reason isn’t educational at all, it’s good old fashioned greed. If they make a new edition every year that we have to use, then we can’t go and get the previous edition for half the price online and they keep on making that cash.
The problem here is that when compared to really any other books of similar size it becomes clear that to cover production costs for a book that size and compensation monies, a book should never be over around fifty bucks and still make profit. The used books are the same price that the new books should be in the first place.
If they would just drop the price and compete like a market should with the best product and most reasonable price selling the most than I really wouldn’t mind so much if they pumped out the new edition every year and I could get it without breaking the bank.
Recently we had a column titled Where’s the gold?, I feel I can answer that question. It’s in Blum, just across the hall from the restrooms.