FTR, you have my pity (and I teach at a University! I don’t get any kickbacks from the textbook sales, though, so put the gun down and back away slowly! )
One semester (when I was a student, Lo! These many years ago…) I took a course on Buddhism, and there was a whole stack of required texts. I don’t recall what they cost, but it was a bundle!
However, one of the required books I managed to find used! Huzzah! New, it was like $20, but I got it for $5.95…
I chuckled about my good fortune all the way back to the dorm. Once there, I sat on my bed and persued my reading for the semester (I love books!). That’s when I noticed how I had been shafted by the university bookstore:
The Buddhism book that I had bought for $5.95… the original cover price on the paperback book was $1.75! I investigated further by looking inside the cover… it had been resold a second time for $2.95, a third time for $3.50, a fourth time for $4.75… and then I came along clumsily wiping the drool from my chin, and bought it for the $5.95 price on the sticker on the back cover!
Lean close my friends, and listen carefully: I learned more about life in 3 minutes of looking over the various prices on a paperback book about Buddhism than I learned during the entire course of my studies for my degree!
As I see it, there are times in life when you just have to bend over and take it… distasteful, yes, but unavoidable!
As a side note, TTT and I just finished writing an idioms dictionary, which will be published in a month and a half or so… and we had a discussion about whether or not we should require our students to buy it. It is arguably essential for a student of English to have such a dictionary… I mean, when they run into a sentence such as “The Vice-President wasn’t in the loop when the President decided to sell vials of anthrax to Iraq.” They will, inevitably, ask: “What does it mean ‘in the loop’?” It would be nice to simply say, “Look it up!”
Let’s run the math: we don’t know the price of the book yet (the publisher hasn’t told us!) but let’s assume that it’s $20… we get 7% of every sale, that’s $1.40. Divided two ways, that’s 70 cents (Hey! My Korean-made keyboard doesn’t have a ‘cents’ symbol! WTF??) each. OK, we each have 5 classes this semester with about 30 students in each one. That’s roughly 150 students, at 70 cents each… end result, if we make our book a required text, we each pocket $105! Woo Hoo!!!
Astroboy and TTT lean back laughing in an evil fashion, sipping scotch and puffing on large white collar criminal sized cigars… then simultaneously say "Fuck it!"
We’re not gonna screw over 300 students (and if you think you’re broke, I dare you to try living on what the typical Korean college student has!) just so we can each make $105…
Now, if it were more along the lines of, say, $120… who knows?
So, we will tell our students about our dictionary, and maybe go so far as to recommend that they buy it… but will NOT make it required.
And Astrogirl, in the background, says, “Why not?” Her morals have been somewhat compromised by a dinner that included several bottles of beer and a bottle of soju… IE: she is nearly passed out on my bed…
[sup]I’m gonna make HER buy a copy, though![/sup]