Textbook Publishers Continue To Freak Out Over File Sharing
from the and-start-fighting-back dept
It’s been almost four years since we first wrote about textbook publishers freaking out over file sharing of textbooks, and it appears that not all that much has really changed in the interim, other than the fact that it’s actually becoming a little more common for students to find scanned versions of textbooks online. The NY Times looks at the issue and how some textbook providers are trying to strike back. Of course, the main reason why students download textbooks is because textbooks are ridiculously expensive, but it doesn’t look like publishers are fighting back by lowering prices.
Instead, they’re trying to get people to pay more.
More specifically, rather than responding to the root cause of the downloads, textbook publishers are trying to come up with systems that students can’t get around paying for, such as online subscriptions to “extra” information to go along with a textbook. Of course, we’ve seen this before at times too, such as the time when a company offering just such a subscription went out of business in the middle of a semester, taking down its website and all of the materials the students were using. That worked out great.
Basically, the textbook publishers are reacting in exactly the wrong way. Rather than focusing on ways to actually add value and make it worthwhile to pay, they’re looking to come up with ways to lock people in and force them to pay. That’s bound to backfire eventually. It’ll just take a smarter textbook company to embrace more reasonable strategies, and for professors to only use educational materials from those companies not focused on bankrupting students.