Custom textbooks issue

Custom textbooks issue - As Textbooks Go 'Custom,' Students...

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DOW JONES REPRINTS This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers, use the Order Reprints tool at the bottom of any article or visit: . See a sample reprint in PDF format . Order a reprint of this article now . TAILOR-MADE FOR SCHOOL Publishers are pushing "custom" textbooks designed to be unique for each school. • The special texts make it harder for students to buy and sell in the used-book market , so they often end up spending more for course materials. • Schools often receive a royalty payment on each book sold. Sergio Capursi/WSJ The cover of the University of Alabama custom version of 'A Writer's Reference' is nearly identical to the standard version. July 10, 2008 As Textbooks Go 'Custom,' Students Pay Colleges Receive Royalties For School-Specific Editions; Barrier to Secondhand Sales By JOHN HECHINGER July 10, 2008; Page D1 College students, already struggling with soaring tuition bills and expenses, are encountering yet another financial hit: Publishers and schools are working together to produce "custom" textbooks that can limit students' use of the money-saving trade in used books. And in a controversial twist, some academic departments are sharing in the profits from these texts. The University of Alabama, for instance, requires freshman composition students at its main campus to buy a $59.35 writing textbook titled "A Writer's Reference," by Diana Hacker. The spiral-bound book is nearly identical to the same "A Writer's Reference" that goes for $30 in the used-book market and costs about $54 new. The only difference in the Alabama version: a 32-page section describing the school's writing program -- which is available for free on the university's Web site. This version also has the University of Alabama's name printed across the top of the front cover, and a notice on the back that reads: "This book may not be bought or sold used." Custom textbooks like this one are proliferating on U.S. college campuses, guaranteeing hefty sales for publishers -- and payments to colleges that are generally undisclosed to students. The publisher of the Alabama book -- Bedford/St. Martin's, based in Boston -- pays the Tuscaloosa school's English department a $3 royalty on each of the 4,000 copies sold each year. And though the prohibition on selling the book used can't be legally enforced, the college bookstore won't buy the books back, making it more difficult for students to find used copies. Textbook companies and college officials involved in such deals say custom textbooks provide needed resources for academic departments and more-useful materials for students. But Ann Marie Wagoner, a 19-year-old University of Alabama
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This note was uploaded on 03/13/2010 for the course CAST Ethhics taught by Professor Shak during the Spring '10 term at Rochester.

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Custom textbooks issue - As Textbooks Go 'Custom,' Students...

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