The Price and Value of Academic Textbooks and Journals

Soon after seeing the piece in IO9 about Harvard University, the world’s wealthiest university, finding itself unable to keep up with the cost of academic journals, I saw this posted on Marc Cortez’s blog, addressing the price of textbook and the mixed messages sent by university bookstores regarding them:

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  • Ian

    I was waiting for the punchline. Speaking as a serial textbook author. The author does all that (frames 1 -5), then gets 5-10% of the price (royalties of 10-20% on NET are normal). A tiny, tiny, tiny proportion of the cost of most textbooks goes to the author. Technical reviewers often get paid less than $100 or get paid in books. Research assistants normally get nothing.

    This is particularly galling as I actually get *less* royalties on an ebook, even though that has no print cost.

    The whole academic publishing system is a giant leech.

  • Ian

    … and, of course, authors (and publishers) get absolute nothing from books that are bought back and resold. This is one of the reasons that authors are under pressure to put out a new edition every couple of years.

  • seminary mom

    buy on half.com.    sell on ebay.com.   and use the old edition.   the new ones aren’t new, just a strategy to charge a higher price.