Column: Time to fight book-publishing mafia

Column: Time to fight book-publishing mafia

كيف يتم بيع وشراء الاسهم We can all agree that college textbooks cost too much. What’s up for debate is what to do about it. Some politicians think they have the answer, but the remedy to this problem is a long way away. The cost of books here has been beaten to death, but it’s not a mundane complaint. This isn’t about the choice between tacos or chicken at the student center or the lack of espresso machines on campus. Students are practically hemorrhaging money on textbooks and since none of the higher-ups feel like doing anything about it, the state legislature is stepping in.

here Rep. Steven Lynch (D-Lynn) is sponsoring legislation that, if passed, will attempt to curb book prices and make them more affordable for college students. It proposes to “unbundle” the textbooks so students won’t need to buy useless CD-ROMs or workbooks. It will also require publishers to, among other things, list the difference between editions and provide a free copy to professors to put them on reserve in campus libraries. It also “encourages” professors and universities to work with the publishers to be cost-effective. That word “encourage” shows up so many times in the legislation it should be called the “Pretty Please” bill. If books somehow become cheaper, the publishers and faculty members should all get lollipops and smiley face stickers. If book prices continue to rise, well, the politicians can say they tried, Publisher X can buy his fifth summer home and Student Y can question the existence of God.

go site The forces of good – the Jedi Council, if you will – are up against an Evil Empire of scurrilous book publishers and their puppet regimes at the university level. Maybe a more apt analogy would be the mob or La Cosa Nostra. We’ll call it “La Costa Mucho.” At the top is the boss. The Don Corleone or Tony Soprano of this family is some mysterious man who probably resembles Dr. Claw from Inspector Gadget. He makes all the decisions. For example, he decides that the laws of physics changed so much from 2005-2006 that a 75th edition of the physics book was necessary. Maybe gravity took a year’s vacation or Isaac Newton got a new idea from the grave. He also makes sure that the book comes with a handy workbook (maybe a coloring book!) and a CD-ROM of “Bill Nye the Science Guy.”

الخيارات الثنائية استراتيجية العشوائية At the next level sit the capos, aka the universities. They report directly to Dr. Claw. They make sure the bookstore is well protected, hence a police presence that would make the Secret Service blush. After that, you have the made men. Professors get made (tenured), giving each a lifetime pass to assign gaudy collections of paper for the poor masses to buy.

go Lastly, there are the hit men – the bookstore employees. It’s not their fault. They are just carrying out orders. They kill not you, but your wallet.

here While this bill is a good first step, there are countless ways for La Costa Mucho to slime their way past it. They can argue that the bill is a Draconian measure to stifle free markets, and they would have a point. The government does not normally step in to limit the costs of products unless they are essential in nature, like medicine or shelter. They will never pass a measure to limit the ridiculous costs of movie tickets and theater concessions. They will never do anything about $7 beer at Fenway. They can try helping our wallets out under the guise of education, but it may not work. Making publishers justify new editions does not do nearly enough, either. They can cook up some phony list that promises improvements like some lame CBS teaser. “Up-to-date information! New pie charts! Shiny pages! Free Tootsie Roll Pops!” This could conceivably justify the new edition. Either way, the publishers will always be a step ahead.

source Students can dodge these costly pitfalls by ordering books online or buying no books at all. (Don’t even think about the book buyback program. I might as well buy stock in Rob Schneider movies.) The fact remains that book prices are escalating out of control along with tuition. In 20 years, only the landed aristocracy and feudal lords will be able to afford sending their children to school.

follow url We just don’t have the allies in the right places to really change things. No one who has any say in the matter cares. Professors? Some do, but a large number do not. I find it hard to believe that Dr. Claw and his minions are shedding crocodile tears over our money troubles. They like making money. As for the public realm, politicians and parents alike have consistently decried the rising costs of higher education for years. In response, the current administration and Congress cut financial aid. The system they have created has worked out too nicely for anyone important to change it. I recently saw a George W. Bush spoof on the Internet in which he proposes a bold plan that allows kids to take out loans so they can go to college and pay off those loans with interest. That sums up the current situation better than I ever could. We will always have and libraries, but the book issue will not go away. Dr. Claw is laughing at all of us.

source url – Stephen Sears can be reached at

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