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DRM Books Businesses Education The Almighty Buck

$200 For a Bound Textbook That You Can't Keep? 252

Posted by Soulskill
from the because-textbook-buyers-have-had-it-too-good-for-too-long dept.
netbuzz writes: "The worst of DRM is set to infest law school casebooks. One publisher, AspenLaw, wants students to pay $200 for a bound casebook, but at the end of class they have to give it back. Aspen is touting this arrangement as a great deal because the buyer will get an electronic version and assorted online goodies once they return the actual book. But they must return the book. Law professors and the Electronic Frontier Foundation are calling it nothing but a cynical attempt to undermine used book sales, as well as the first sale doctrine that protects used bookstores and libraries."
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$200 For a Bound Textbook That You Can't Keep?

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  • by ActionDesignStudios (877390) on Wednesday May 07, 2014 @06:27PM (#46944091)
    I've been looking into going back to school and have gotten a more in-depth look at the academic textbook market and I can conclude it is all a big racket. The price of textbooks is already outrageous as it is -- I don't doubt that they would love to DRM all of them and have students give them back afterwards. Even after looking into the used textbook market, I couldn't find a way to save very much and the price they'll give you for a used but still in very good condition book is almost insulting. You would think we would want to make education more accessible and affordable for everyone, but between textbooks, student loans and other like scams it is a sad state of affairs.
  • Re:Because they can. (Score:4, Informative)

    by GodInHell (258915) on Wednesday May 07, 2014 @06:41PM (#46944225) Homepage
    The law school I am familiar with leaves the choice of text up to the prof. Some of them will avoid these textbooks because of the ethical challenges, some won't. Of course, my school also ran its own bookstore and probably made quite a lot of profit off reselling used books, so there's that too. On the other hand $200.00 is not very much for a law school text.
  • by l2718 (514756) on Wednesday May 07, 2014 @08:30PM (#46944983)
    I'm a professor, actually. In two words, you're wrong . If the book is only used in the class of the professor who taught it, the book will go out of print in a jiffy, and in any case the total harm to a single class of students is negligible. For a book to actually stay in print, many professors in many universities must use it. In this case very few will, and the problem will solve itself.
  • Re:Because they can. (Score:4, Informative)

    by hubie (108345) on Wednesday May 07, 2014 @09:40PM (#46945443)
    That's because he's Elmer J. Fudd, millionaire.
  • Re:Because they can. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Bushcat (615449) on Thursday May 08, 2014 @12:28AM (#46946485)
    In my neck of the woods, educational institutions are legally allowed to break copyright for educational purposes. So it's fine to take one book and photocopy it a bazillion times. Result is that most books are cheaper than photocopying. It also means found web assets can be incorporated into teaching materials without the hassle of clearing copyright.
  • Re:Because they can. (Score:5, Informative)

    by BitZtream (692029) on Thursday May 08, 2014 @02:57AM (#46946967)

    heh, do you realize how many professors require books THEY wrote? Conflict of interest isn't high on the list of priorities to worry about.

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