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I teach in a university mathematics department. I don't doubt that stories like this are real, but very few of my colleagues collude with, or indeed have much patience with, the publishing industry.

Indeed, the opposite is common. Walter Rudin is the author of several well-known books on mathematical analysis. The publisher, McGraw-Hill, jacked up the price of his books to stratospheric levels, and Rudin fought back -- which wasted him a lot of time, and (I believe) cost him a substantial amount of money. All so that students wouldn't be gouged when buying a copy of his book.

In the end, Rudin eventually lost. $95.56 for a very skinny (and quite popular) book on Amazon right now.

Moral: As content providers we don't need to figure out better ways to work with the publishing industry. We need to figure out better ways to work without them.




"... As content providers we don't need to figure out better ways to work with the publishing industry. We need to figure out better ways to work without them. ..."

Photocopier.

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Really? How about scanner and OCR?

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"... How about scanner and OCR? ..."

I was thinking of school books & standing in the line for photocopiers for reference books in the library.

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My graduate university kept a good number of copies of required texts in the library that could be lent out for the length of the course. Reserved copies (i.e., can't be taken out of the reserved area) were available as well. No student had to buy any books unless they wanted to.

I think that's my favorite system.

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Smartphone, big microSD and a few hours are the best version. Then OCR later if you need to - chances are you'll still be wasting your time and will never touch your photographed textbook.

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I know a couple of people in textbook sales. Their job sucks, and the way they describe it is that there are two type of professors: those that won't talk to them, and those that try to maximize personal gain from the sales process.

The professors they deal with know the game, and just string them along with soft promises and keep asking for more nights on the expense account. The day to day job in textbook sales is just bribing professors with expense accounts.

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How did fighting back cost him money (if you don't count his wasted time)?

Kudos on him for valuing the spread of his work over any personal loss in royalties!

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I'm afraid I heard this secondhand a long time ago and don't know all the details. I could be wrong about that.

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Maybe more teachers could use CafePress and self-publish

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I think you could do it with Lulu as well.

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Awesome, I've been using his book on analysis.

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