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Thread: Students pay for "Custom Books"

  1. #1
    New Member jen's Avatar
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    Oct 2008
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    Thumbs down Students pay for "Custom Books"

    College students, already struggling with soaring tuition bills and expenses, are encountering yet another financial hit: Publishers and schools are working together to produce "custom" textbooks that can limit students' use of the money-saving trade in used books. And in a controversial twist, some academic departments are sharing in the profits from these texts.

    The University of Alabama, for instance, requires freshman composition students at its main campus to buy a $59.35 writing textbook titled "A Writer's Reference," by Diana Hacker.

    The spiral-bound book is nearly identical to the same "A Writer's Reference" that goes for $30 in the used-book market and costs about $54 new.

    Custom textbooks like this one are proliferating on U.S. college campuses, guaranteeing hefty sales for publishers -- and payments to colleges that are generally undisclosed to students. The publisher of the Alabama book -- Bedford/St. Martin's, based in Boston -- pays the Tuscaloosa school's English department a $3 royalty on each of the 4,000 copies sold each year. And though the prohibition on selling the book used can't be legally enforced, the college bookstore won't buy the books back, making it more difficult for students to find used copies.

    what do ya think? isn't it bad to force students to buy custom books so that colleges make money out of it?

    The custom-textbook business has become the fastest-growing segment of the $3.5 billion market for U.S. new college texts, comprising 12% of sales for 2006, the latest year for which data is available. Royalty deals generate tens of thousands of dollars for some big academic departments. The arrangements have drawn little attention, despite increasing legislative and regulatory scrutiny of the spiraling price of textbooks, which have been rising at twice the rate of inflation over the past two decades.

  2. #2

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    Well, its up to your school. Maybe the reason they ask you to pay is that, you are paying royalty to those who made the content of the book. The material itself is really not expensive but you are paying the worth of the content? Maybe you should check that out too. thanks.

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