This is just insane. I was thinking maybe my rant might include something more constructive than a string of profanity. Fuck that.

God damn piece of shit bookstore that rips me off every end of the semester. Other semesters it was easy to forgive. At least I walked away with only one or two unwanted books and about $50 of cash. This semester I have five unwanted books and $10.25. I spent more than ten times that on books for one class, which happened to be the ones with the high reject rate.

Fucking pig raping donkey felching goat sodomizing baby jesus butt plug using high way robbers. Burn in a hell of maggot ridden flesh and roaming tribes of angry text book wielding Jar-Jar Binks where the only music is that stupid psuedo-classical you play while students wait in line to be screwed.

Great rant! I think it sums up my experience when I went through it perfectly!

You forgot to mention “Barbra Streisand”, but otherwise an excellent use of profanity and a concise summation of all students’ textbook purchasing experiences.

The best is when the bookstore sells the book to you for $28.00, buys it back from you for $2.00, and you see it on the shelves next semester (your name still in it) retailing for $18.00.

Does your school have a book co-op? Georgetown had one - you could set your own prices for books and the co-op would sell them for you on consignment. It was a great place to buy and sell, and if something didn’t sell there you didn’t feel TOO badly about selling it to the bookstore.

Maybe you should start one?

As a writer of college level textbooks, I thank you for paying my mortgage this month.

Athena, if I didn’t know you to have many wonderful traits, I’d hate you just for your profession.

Nah, I actually blame it on the publishers.

One of the most frustrating things about the rejects is that the “new edition” consists of exactly the same book with maybe a new footnote or a different illustration thrown in to justify the re-issue. Fuck that, fuck them!
I’ve been out of college for three years now and I still get annoyed thinking about it. Good rant The Tim. I suggest you print it out, blow it up, and superglue poster-sized copies of it all over the front of the bookstore.


Speaking of Barbra…

“Mem’ries… light the COOOOOOH-nuhs of my mind…”

Hoo-wee, do I NOT miss college, for the very reason so eloquently stated by The Tim.

Luckily, I was an English Major, so a certain amount of the books I needed (novels as opposed to textbooks) could be found at a used book store (or garage sale, for the uber-diligent).

By belladonna:

One of the most frustrating things about the rejects is that the “new edition” consists of exactly the same book with maybe a new footnote or a different illustration thrown in to justify the re-issue. Fuck that, fuck them!

I used to teach college and will verify that this is true. It isn’t just the publishers, but the writers know what is going on and the bookstore/university itself support it.

I used to post outside my office what versions of textbooks were acceptable in my classes. This would usually include many, many previous versions of the current textbook. I did this for quite some time until ‘management’ found out and tried to force me to stop. That was near the end of my teaching so I blew them off and kept doing it.

College bookstores are a source of revenue for the college. Try sometime looking at bn.com or like or even a local bookstore for your class textbooks. Many times it is 10-20% cheaper or even more!

If you don’t think ‘management’ was serious about my doing the above, then you will find it interesting that a professor set up a bookstore in town that specialized in competeing with the bookstore. He had to close it down because he was ‘visited’ unofficially by ‘management’ and told that if he didn’t stop, he would be fired and they woul dmake it such that he would have difficulty getting another position anywhere. They were probably bluffing about framing him for something but probably not about getting fired.

Where there is a cash cow, fuck with it at your own peril! I just so disagree fleecing people especially those who are struggling with money, like college students.

It isn’t that hard to bypass the bookstore!

It’s been 12 years since I graduated, and I still hate the college bookstore with the heat of 10 H bombs for the above described practice. BURN IN HELL, SCREWERS OF NEAR-DESTITUTE COLLEGE STUDENTS! SUCK THE BLACK WIND OF DEATH FOREVER!!!

My friends and I were pretty successful at trading books amongst ourselves and selling to other students directly at the end of the semester. Student buying book pays less,you get more money back. Fuck the new editions, I have never come across a class where it mattered what edition I had. We posted books for sale on our dorm bulletin boards and outside the bookstore (it sounds like some colleges would take these down). Try to start an underground market for used books.

There was also a used bookstore in town that would buy our books back (usually for more than you would get trading them in), but I would give them to that store rather than sell them back to the campus bookstore.

Professors were usually sympathetic and would let us know we didn’t need the newest edition. If someone had already paid full price b/c it was listed on the course requisite, s/he could take it back to the bookstore w/in 7 days and get a full refund.

I feel your pain.

I’m relatively new to the textbook writing business, but I can tell you that Medea’s Child is right about it being the publishers making all the bucks. The writers get a very small percentage of the sales price. From what I can tell, enough to make a good living at it, but it’s not like I’ll get $20 out of every $35 book that’s sold. I’m not on a royalty basis (yet) so I’m not sure what the actual percentages are.

RE: Revisions. I’m not sure what’s the average on revisions, but as most of what I’ve worked on so far are revisions, I can say that we put a lot of work into them. I work on computer textbooks, so the industry changes very quickly. Whole chapters of our books are revised to include new information, or just to re-write them and make them clearer based on feedback from readers. Right now, I’m working on writing an entirely new chapter for the new revision of one of our books. Later this summer I’ll be tasked with combing through the entire edition and updated everything to be current and up-to-date. Ain’t nothing worse than an out-of-date computer book. I realize, though, that many books don’t really need a new revision every year. Does basic geometry or Physics 101 really have such new advances that they need new textbooks every couple years? Doubtful.

remember that economics class you paid $750/credit for last semester? just think of the money you would have saved by just observing the book store!:smiley:

Marriage is a real-world example of Diminishing Marginal Return

I have a feeling I’m stepping in front of a flamethrower and baring my ass here, but…

I’ve been (and now am) on all sides of the textbook game except writing: textbook buyer for a college bookstore, college English instructor, and now as a medical textbook publisher’s rep. And still the economics and money flow baffle me.

The Bookstore: Believe me, they want to buy all of your books that they can use. The profit margin for the bookstore on a new book is 23-30%. On a used book, it’s more like 50%. And if it’s a Follett, they have their own centralized used-book warehouse so you can get more money from them if the book’s in need anywhere in the country. A caveat, though, is that there needs to be a certain percentage of new books because some students just don’t want used texts.

The Instructor: It depends on the prof, really. Some want the perfect book and damn the cost, some look at the prices and will try to fill in the gaps otherwise. I was usually the latter.

The Publisher: It’s all about volume. Textbooks are low-volume print runs (compared to, say, the latest John Grisham), and the prices reflect that. Add to that your instructor has decided he or she wants a free copy of every anatomy book we sell, and guess who pays for them? On top of that, we only get paid for new books that are actually sold to students–bookstore returns and used books don’t count. The massive used-book market is why there are new editions every couple of years; if students kept their books for their libraries, editions would last a lot longer. And the writers have to get paid something, though it’s usually a pittance. Rarely can someone make a living writing textbooks.

Oh, yeah, I am ABD for an American Lit Ph.D., so I’ve also been the screwee. The economics of the whole situation suck, but looking at it from all sides, a large part of the high cost of textbooks is that people sell them back.

In the sciences its kinda important to make sure the text books are no more than 2 years old or so. Ya know, science changes. I got a copy of a core Immunology text book from 94 (the one we were using was 99) and half of the 94 edition was wrong.

Oh yeah and to get the most out of your books when you sell them. Wait for the term BEFORE the class is offered again, you get 5 times the normal amount for them. I’d buy used book for 60 or so, then sell them a year later when the class was being reoffered for 45.

Its simple economics. If you sell your books when everyone else is selling them they won’t pay much. But when they need copies they’ll pay more.

::Evil grin:: You’re college students for crying out loud, you should be able to figure it out.

Oh yeah, two times I sold a book back to the book whores for more than I paid for it.


When I was in college, Barnes and Noble WERE the campus bookstore - they operated the bookstore in the basement of one of the college buildings.

Fuck them. Double fuck them, because they certainly fucked us.

Revtim, I think you should know that I am going to steal and use SUCK THE BLACK WIND OF DEATH FOREVER at the earliest opportunity. What a great curse.

The thing is even if a class is being offered next semester my school bookstore doesn’t give you anything near a good price. My only triumphant moment against the bookstore was when I sold them my free copy of the Intro Psych text book that I got for being a TA. Of course being a TA had cost me money. That was a mind boggling experience (stupid school charging extra for taking more than 18 credits and making TAing Intro Psych a 3 credit course).

I know the economics of the situation is bad, and I certainly don’t blaim the writers of these things. Like I said I considered reasonable dialogue about it but opted instead for profanity. It made me feel so much better after getting the $10.25 and the comment, “Well spent right that’s a lunch and a dinner.”

There is something like a textbook co-op here. I have heard bad things about it. Still after this semester anything looks better than the bookstore.

Whenever I think of how much I’ve been screwed over by used book sellers, I go to my local Electronics Boutique and look at my unsold Slap Shot DVD that I traded in there when the SE came out for 4 measly dollars.

In the long run I’m still way losing out, but I like to think that as long as that DVD remains on the shelf, I’ve at least won one battle.

Today I recycled a $50 PAPERBACK book (approx 250 pages) because they wouldn’t buy it back. Bastids.

Hmmm… I must have stumbled upon one of those rare bits. I’m not rolling in money right now, but only because I’m essentially an apprentice. Still, I make more than a lot of people. If all works out as planned, I should be making six figures in a couple years, and after that, if I get do primary authoring of 2-3 books, the royalties should add up to much more. At least, that’s the plan. We’ll see how it works out. My employers could be pulling my leg, but I doubt it - they’re oooold friends from when I was a kid, and have never turned me wrong yet.

The people I work for do appear to be rolling in money - they’re just completing a “cabin” that must have cost them about half a million, and that’s in the middle of nowhere. Had that cabin been anywhere near a metropolitan area, it’d be worth twice that, easily. That’s on top of the 4 other small cabins they own in the same area (these are real cabins, some without plumbing, etc. as opposed to the 500K cabin), the historical B&B-turned-private-home in Georgia, and the house in St. Thomas. Methinks at least some textbook authors make a fine living.