Busted! – Our Final Post

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Thanks for joining the Textbook Busters on our journey to expose the textbook market. By now, you should realize that the current state of textbooks is against the student. But with your help, not for long.

Thanks to those who read our blog posts or signed our petitions. We hope that you feel more empowered to stand against the textbook market. Awareness is so important!  Now that you know the secrets of the market, you will be able to avoid some of the common pitfalls like buying books directly from the bookstore or buying digital textbooks, etc. Now you know to persuade your professors to provide open source and used textbook options. We also hope to have made you aware of some of the myths within the market like most professors make a lot of money off of the textbooks they write.


If you are just discovering our blog here are some of our top posts. We hope that they interest you.

Why are textbooks so expensive?

Are professors really making money off of textbooks?

Want to discover a textbook option that is totally free?

So you have to purchase a textbook, what are some money saving options?

Even though our blog is ending, we encourage each of you to become a Textbook Buster. Check for discount bookstores and websites like Slugbooks.com. We encourage you to share the tricks of the trade that you find with each other. While we have signed petitions and made our voices heard to lawmakers and publishers, change still needs to take place. This is just the beginning.. Don’t stop here…victory is in sight.

Sign off,

The Textbook Busters

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The Evil Twin, the Seed of Satan – Digital Textbooks

A More Efficient Way for Publishers to Break Our Pockets  


extexts vs digital

Last week, we began to discuss open-source textbooks, see YOU Have Been Cheated!, as a viable option to overpriced textbooks. After reading the post, that may have lead you to consider digital textbooks. They’re almost the same thing, right? Not really! The biggest difference is that open source textbooks are FREE and digital textbooks cost A LOT! Digital textbooks costs a few pennies less than print textbooks but can also be more expensive.

For 2 semesters I took Spanish to fulfill my language requirement for my English Education degree at UMD. Learning languages has never been my cup of tea and to make it worse the Spanish department required a supplemental online program that cost mucho dinero. There was no way around it! The school required it for all the classes. Without MySpanish Lab, the supplemental online program, it would be impossible for a student to receive above a 90% because MySpanishLab was 10% of the final grade. Even though I found the program helpful, it cost close to $100.That may not seem very expensive to you, but for me that was working a whole week at a beauty supply store making minimum wage.

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Why does it cost so much to run an online program? Even though the cartoon publisher says, “You’ve been misinformed”. I believe that there is a BAG OF MONEY that the publishers are hiding as the cartoon suggests. Even though publishers claim that digital textbooks are expensive because of the knowledge needed to create them, the Daily Illini, a publication by the University of Illinois, proves this to be inaccurate. In Johnathan Hettinger’s article, For most college professors, money made from own textbooks provides little, Hettinger reports that Bruce Levine, a professor at the University of Illinois, said that he was only making, “10 cents a copy for the 30 copies in the class [and] couldn’t believe the student’s outrage [when the students complained about him using his own textbooks]”. So where is the rest of this money going? PUBLISHERS!!!!

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Instead of publishers using online textbooks as a means to help alleviate the burden of textbook costs, they are taking part of the 77.4% they make and POCKETING IT! Don’t get me wrong, producing a book is labor intensive, but not that much!!!

In Digital Textbooks: Publishers and the Unrealized Promise, publishers are EXPOSED even further. The article says that, “The legacy publishers will tell you that they can’t make digital textbooks both high quality and affordable, but that’s not the issue. It’s that they don’t want to.” Why don’t they want to? BECAUSE they fear they will lose money. So how have they been trying to fix the problem of losing money? By offering the text for only 6 month access and providing low quality e-texts almost in hopes that students won’t purchase them.

Not only do students have to deal with the cost of e-texts, they also have to be concerned about the quality of the product. Byron Brown, a professor of economics at Michigan State University says, “Current e-texts are also a markedly inferior product. They are static PDF knockoffs of vertically oriented print pages. That means they don’t display well on most computer screens, and they resist printing an easy-to-read copy by inexplicably downsizing the fonts for home printing”.

Currently, only 15% of students choose the e-text over the print text. We have to do something about this!!!

We need to push publishers to

  • take the time to improve digital texts
  •  also push them to lower prices

Digital Textbooks don’t have to be the Evil Twin!!! Or the Seed of Satan!!!

Click here to sign Textbook Busters’ petition to publishers.

YOU Have Been CHEATED!

Intro to the Textbook Scam and Possible Solutions


 

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While it may seem unfair to compare textbook costs with prostitution, the caveman on the right is on to something. Textbooks are bringing in a lot of revenue. It’s almost as if publishing companies and authors (AKA universities and professors) sat around a table and said, “How can we make MORE money off of students?” The worst thing is that no one did anything to stop them. The purpose of this blog is to bring awareness to the tactics that big companies use to get rich and fatten the pockets of universities at the expense of students.

Students realize that textbooks are expensive, but most do not realize the extent to which they have been cheated. These sources have been compiled to get you mad, I mean concerned (smile), enough to take action.  This week we want to provide sources that really introduce you to the argument and show the history of the textbook cost rise and the beginnings to what we can do about it.


Fixing the Broken Textbook Market

By Ethan Senack / The Student PIRGs

Summary: This report has SOOO much information on the history of textbook expenses and what students think about the rise of textbook costs. This report specifically shows the findings and  research that has been done on this issue from surveying college students.This report also features things that students, faculty, and even law-makers can do to help with textbook costs.

Why this source is important:

One of the perks of this report is that it was written by a student with students in mind. This source is also very legitimate since it went through the hands of the PIRG. Since this was created with the student in mind it is very easy to read.

You will find intriguing facts like…

65% of students said that they had decided against buying a textbook because it was too expensive.

This research is important because it puts statistics to what you and other college students are feeling.

What to do with this source practically :

This source gives a great backdrop but also gives us the golden ticket to solving this problem, OPEN TEXTBOOKS! Maybe we should listen to him…


College Textbooks Cost Most Outrageous than Ever

By Herb Weisbaum

Summary: This video and article also do a great job of presenting the current status of textbook costs.  This source addresses.

  • Textbook prices are going higher than inflation.
  • Marketplace cost is in the hands of publisher which makes it easier for textbooks to be expensive.

Why this source is important:

This source is important because it is easy to listen to. Weisbaum takes many of the findings in this field and puts them into laymans terms. It is easily digestible.

What to do with this source practically :

Weisbaum presents some intriguing information and really convinces the reader that this can be fixed. He suggests that we explore open source textbooks.


Open-source textbooks in policy focus

By Jeremy Snow

Summary:

In a recent article, written by a University of Maryland student, Jeremy Snow discusses a possible option that could eliminate the price of textbooks. That’s right! Completely eliminate the price of textbooks. Open Source textbooks seem to be the answer to the problem. This article views what needs to be done to implement it.

Why this source is important:

This possible solution to the problem is important because it could significantly lower textbook costs to the lowest levels. This also directly impacts UM college students because it was written by our college newspaper.

What to do with this source practically:

Let’s promote this! This seems extremely promising. If we are able to convince school legislatures and other bodies to support this measure perhaps we can begin to have a little extra pocket change.


OVERALL…These sources are all important to our understanding of the textbook cost rise. We can all do little things to help. After becoming educated on the issue, take the first step and contact your legislature via this link. Together we can end absurd textbook prices.

Meet Our Detectives – Brittany

Hey Everyone!  I am an English Education Major at the University of Maryland, College Park. I have been a Marylander my entire life and I take pride in my state. However, I also love to traveling to different cities!!!

My strongest brittanypassion is helping children and adolescents.  I’ve been working with young people for the last 6 years as a Youth Leader at Dominion International.

So why am I advocating for an end to expensive textbooks? I believe that there needs to be more regulation on the accessibility of academic material. I believe that education should be available for all. As a college student , I have watched all my hard earned summer cash from minimum wage jobs get spent to pay for TEXTBOOKS. The worst thing is that sometimes I never even use the textbook. What a waste of money!!!  What’s even more demeaning is when I go to sell the hundred dollar textbook and get pennies. Students need to stop being cheated and that’s why I have joined this cause!

– Feel free to contact me at textbookbusters@gmail.com. –

 

Our Mission


Welcome to Textbook Busters!

After shelving out tens of thousands of dollars for the semester, many college students are forced to scramble under the couch for monies to pay for textbooks. Often textbooks are expensive and sometimes are of very little use. Something must be done about this.

We are four college students  promoting an end to outrageous textbook costs. During the next few weeks we will be providing you with information about this topic. We will discuss things like:

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  •  Ethics Behind Textbook Development
  • Online Textbooks: The New Phenomena
  • Sales Yields on Textbooks
  • What Measures We Can Take to Lower Textbook Costs

You will hear our stories and we want to hear yours as well. We want to hear your voice so feel free to comment and interact with us.

– The Textbook Busters