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[TRC Rant] Of textbooks and uni students

March 9, 2009

Wow, this subject just pisses me off incredibly, so I apologize in advance if anyone is offended by the language that I am about to use in this article. I don’t usually like to do a rant, but this is something I just have to talk about. For every single university student out there, starting a new semester usually means the pain of losing a few thousand dollars to fees, and yet another few hundred dollars to, you guessed it, textbooks.

Now, being a business student, I probably shouldn’t criticize the way other businesses are run, but am I the only who think it unfair that a textbook that we’re only gonna use for ONE SEMESTER (or more if it’s used for 2 courses… or you’re just unlucky…) should cost $100?! If you go around a bookshop like Borders, I doubt you’d find any book that will cost close to $100. In fact, I’d be  complaining if it cost > $50. And I’m sure the things that they write about are no less important than what’s in textbooks. So, why are textbooks so damn special?

OK, maybe it’s fair to charge that much for them. The authors do have to take a lot of time to research their information, compile it into a nice, easily readable form and sent it off for publishing. So, for the time and effort that they have to spend, they should get some decent money out of their books, right?

WRONG. I’ve known some of my lecturers who also write textbooks, and they say that they don’t really get much money out of it, if any at all. Hence, the bulk of the money is going to the publishers, who really aren’t doing much other than printing what’s written. And anyone who’s had to send a lot of stuff off for printing would know that it doesn’t cost that much to print stuff, probably even less when you take economies of scale into account. Therefore, publishers are earning, what, 60-70% profit margins?! That’s a hell of a lot for any business, except maybe luxury goods (we know their profit margins are at least 3 figures…)

The other thing that really pisses me off a lot is changing editions. Information does get outdated after a while, so what’s wrong with that, you ask? Nothing… unless it’s done EVERY F**KIN’ YEAR. Which means that 1) once you use them, they become damn near impossible to sell off, especially if said course is only offered once a year and 2) bad luck for anyone who has to repeat the course. What REALLY bugs me is that most of the time, there’s not a lot of differences between editions, so the old ones are still perfectly usable. Except, lecturers LOVE to press the point that students MUST have the latest edition of the text. WTF.

One last point to make before my head explodes. Publishers, we are in the middle of a GODDAMN DEPRESSION. All of us are trying to SPEND LESS MONEY. Also, a lot of us uni students are quite poor people trying to make ends meet. And yet, you guys are not helping us out at all. So, if you will please sacrifice a few of those first-class plane tickets, fancy holidays, shiny sports cars and REDUCE PRICES, the entire university population would be eternally grateful.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Nocturnal Melody permalink
    March 9, 2009 11:11 PM

    You know exactly how I feel about this subject, as we have ranted about this before. So I guess there is no reason for me to unleash a series of profanities to demonstrate my rage, which would be unpleasant for everyone.

    But seriously, LOWER THE DAMN PRICE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And stop making NEW EDITIONS!!!!!!

    I am going broke just with text books alone, and the damn tuitions aren’t exactly cheap either.

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