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The system that people here would like to see disrupted is a system that may be going away by itself. Publishers see that it is going to be too hard to sustain a revenue stream by selling books in the future --- they have been moving to services for quite a while. Students are too good at getting books. My students buy foreign editions at 10% of the US price. They download pdf scans from torrents. There are many ways to find used books. Stupid measures like the "useless new edition every 3 years" are just delaying tactics. Instead, publishers are selling services, like online testing and homework grading (cf. Pearson partnering with Coursera). These require students to purchase access codes keyed to individuals, and may be harder to get around. (The textbooks are often thrown in for prices around $20. That should tell you where the money is.) The publishers know they have a great market here. Professors hate grading papers, it hardly counts at all toward professional advancement, and it takes time and energy away from research, which does count. All that said, the circumstances described in the original article are appalling.



> Instead, publishers are selling services, like online testing and homework grading (cf. Pearson partnering with Coursera).

This is the place where it's going to get worse. The traditional model is that testing and homework exercises are done by TAs, but universities are finding out that you can contract out these services to the textbook publisher.


Yea, most of the time the access code is purchasable separately without the textbook, and many do allow paying online directly for them.




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