Why textbooks cost so much

computer textbooks

User:K.lee via Wikimedia Commons

Planned obsolescence — not just for appliances anymore

In light of the recent federal legislation to reduce the cost of textbooks, The New York Times offers a series of essays in its Room for Debate feature on “The Real Cost of Textbooks.”

The book publishers supported the legislation. But a number of experts on the economics of textbook marketing said it will have little impact.

By the way, I’m skeptical of the “Get Rid of Print and Go Digital” essay by Anya Kamenetz. I tried reading journal articles online while in grad school in 2008-09, but found the format too distracting. Holding the paper form, using a highlighter and making notes in the margins helped me focus and remember.

Anyone have a preference for the digital form?

  • Have you tried an e-book reader? I love my Kindle. For so many reasons, not least of which are portability, readability and search. When I recently had to go through 1,000 pages of news articles from a variety of local papers, the note-taking and highlighting capacities of the Kindle put my old marginalia to shame.

    • afriedrich

      I'd love to try one. The search idea sounds awesome. The portability idea is great, but that means I'd quickly lose it. I wonder about readability outdoors — Think: In a park under a tree, or in a bus with the sun shining in — but I'm guessing that issue has been much improved.

      • Actually, direct sunlight is where it really shines. It's like reading a book; you have to shine a light on it to read it. And it helps that you can adjust the text size.