College Textbook Prices Up 186% Since 1986

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College Textbook Prices Up 186% Since 1986

Postby Jack » Wed Jan 23, 2008 12:50 am

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Re: College Textbook Prices Up 186% Since 1986

Postby Carl_Reginstein » Wed Jan 30, 2008 2:39 am

Jack wrote:http://businessshrink.biz/psychologyofbusiness/2008/01/22/college-textbook-prices-up-186-since-1986-enter-revolution/


The out of control and irrational and wholly unjustified rise in prices of textbooks is a national disgrace.

University bookstores and the text publishers are reaping unholy profits several times over from the sale, purchase (for a pittance), and resale of these things. A textbook is worth about $20, but the going price these days is well over $100 for some, and approaching that for all others. All in the name of the almighty dollar, and a direct result of public funding for higher ed diminishing every year vis-a-vis rising operating costs, thus forcing IHE's to seek ever more "creative" ways to slide in fees and revenue streams - from student use facilities to exorbitant text book prices.

The "national disgrace" part is the wholesale abandonment of publicly funded IHE's by their respective state governments and federal funding sources. I guess the legislatures have figured out that students will pay whatever cost to get an education, while they divert more and more funds into the black holes of trying to improve K-12 (what a laugh) and prisons to lock up the uneducated.

When will we ever learn?
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Postby John Bear » Wed Jan 30, 2008 4:25 am

A friend (who is a professor of business at Cal State East Bay) and I were approached by Holt Rinehart, the textbook division of CBS, to write (yet another) introductory computer textbook. The 'standard' contract we were offered required us to produce all the photographs, drawings, charts, and tables at our own expense. It said that we were to submit 25% of the text, and if CBS was not satisfied, the contract would be canceled and we would have to return the advance. Our good and tough agent negotiated a new contract that said CBS would pay for the illustrations, and if the manuscript was rejected, we would not have to return the advance.

We both consulted some textbook-author friends. They told us that it is common procedure for a textbook publisher to sign contracts for the same book with 3 or 4 teams of authors, and then, after the 25% segment is turned in, cancel all contracts but one (and never tell the authors about this approach).

My co-author calculated as follows: the work would require at least 600 hours of his time. If we 'made the cut' and the book was published, at $40, our royalty would be 10% of wholesale, or about $1.00 each. If it sold reasonably well, that might be 20,000 copies, or $20,000 each in royalties, or about $33 an hour. The way he put it was, "So I'm offered a 25% chance of earning $33 an hour if sales are good. My consulting fee is $150 an hour and I have all the work I want. And my university just offered me $25,000 to teach summer school next summer, three half-days a week."

So that was that.

On that $40 book, the wholesalers, distributors, and retailers would get roughly half. Of the $20 remaining, the authors get $2, production is around $5, and the rest goes to pay Katie Couric's salary, and so forth.
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Postby Peter French » Wed Jan 30, 2008 10:07 am

John Bear wrote:A friend (who is a professor of business at Cal State East Bay) and I were approached by Holt Rinehart, the textbook division of CBS, to write (yet another) introductory computer textbook. The 'standard' contract we were offered required us to produce all the photographs, drawings, charts, and tables at our own expense. It said that we were to submit 25% of the text, and if CBS was not satisfied, the contract would be canceled and we would have to return the advance. Our good and tough agent negotiated a new contract that said CBS would pay for the illustrations, and if the manuscript was rejected, we would not have to return the advance.

We both consulted some textbook-author friends. They told us that it is common procedure for a textbook publisher to sign contracts for the same book with 3 or 4 teams of authors, and then, after the 25% segment is turned in, cancel all contracts but one (and never tell the authors about this approach).

My co-author calculated as follows: the work would require at least 600 hours of his time. If we 'made the cut' and the book was published, at $40, our royalty would be 10% of wholesale, or about $1.00 each. If it sold reasonably well, that might be 20,000 copies, or $20,000 each in royalties, or about $33 an hour. The way he put it was, "So I'm offered a 25% chance of earning $33 an hour if sales are good. My consulting fee is $150 an hour and I have all the work I want. And my university just offered me $25,000 to teach summer school next summer, three half-days a week."

So that was that.

On that $40 book, the wholesalers, distributors, and retailers would get roughly half. Of the $20 remaining, the authors get $2, production is around $5, and the rest goes to pay Katie Couric's salary, and so forth.


It is far more critical in Australia as we have 7.5% of your population. The best we can collect is about $3,000 a book and after 8 years and over 30 books for a DE provider, I have made a deal for $6,000 a book to review/update, otherwise I am not interested. At my present University as we have 70% international students in our Masters programs we have opted for US texts as we can then rely on using current material.
Peter French
[Adequately qualified academically and professionally in Accounting, Education, Engineering & Law]
Adelaide Plains South Australia
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