Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Well, Companies Have to Make Money,

so if what they peddle or how much they charge is a ripoff, so be it.

I really love the part about college textbooks. I always heard the reason they are outrageously high is because of the relatively few copies they sell. That may make sense in a way, but nobody should have to pay 100 bucks or more for a single copy of a book. Used copies are not often all that much cheaper.

An even bigger outrage is when professors require you to purchase THEIR books for a class. Talk about a blatant conflict of interest, but I have experienced this in at least two separate situations.

Although speaking of healthcare, a student trying to pass a class is kind of like a patient trying to make it through surgery. You’re hardly a “consumer” who can shop for the best “products.” You do what your doctor or professor says. Don’t want to buy the book? Then you will not be passing the class.

You may recall buying used books in college or sharing and saving some money that way. But greedy textbook companies have found a way around that. They’ve rigged up access codes in new books that the student must use in order to do things associated with the class, like take an online quiz or turn in a homework assignment. The code can only be used one time, so the book loses a great deal of its usefulness after the semester.

Another trick the industry plays is to pump out new editions of existing books even when they aren’t justified. Or “bundling” various kinds of additional products, like special software, with the book. Kickbacks for professors who use certain textbooks—also known as bribes—have been widely reported.

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