Textbooks, most of us had to deal with them. WAIT, what am I saying? ALL of us had to deal with them; and we are proud of our overpriced, loosely fact-checked stack of paper.
My family spends 450$ (400 EUR) on textbooks for me alone, every single year; that might sound like a hefty but necessary purchase, but add another child and that price goes up to almost 1 thousand dollars every year. I’m just in high school, college textbooks cost twice as much (with an average of 1,200 $ a year per student).. could a broke college student afford such a expense?
But don’t worry publishers spare no expenses finding people with the smartest sounding credentials possible and paying them the rights to put their name on shiny cardboard wrapped around their unrelated texts.
Every single copy of those astronomically heavy info binders is full of sheets of paper with freely available knowledge printed on them.
Publishers pay teams to source the information needed from publicly available content, they work for a insignificant amount of money, just imagine how much would cost if they actually hired the smart-ass to write it..
And the problem is that most subjects and disciplines don’t change much from year to year so they just mix the sections up enough to make sure that the used books people bought last year become useless and valueless, and if professors refuse to upgrade their textbooks, the school administration might get mad at them for not being modern enough.
That’s why college textbooks prices have gone up by 945% since 1978; almost four times the increase of the consumer price index (demand) [IN THE USA].
How does this hyped, obsolete, over-priced set of products have such a stranglehold on our education?
The deal is, publishers use their connection with the academic community and a strong legal labour to ruin all potential competitors, they just keep suing websites for plagiarism, can you imagine?
Then why isn’t the market moving to a more technologically advanced solution, like e-books?
Lots of textbooks come already with the e-book version, so why are the school not moving on to that? I would happily spend the same price on a e-book just to get rid of the huge load on my back!!!
So what’s the most valuable lesson we learned from publishers?
Exploitative business practices will exist as long as they make a small group of people earn an obscene amount of money.