U of S | Mailing List Archive | alt-photo-process-l | > Re: WAY OT! TEXT BOOKS


I don't know that it is fair to call text book publishers "rapacious profiteers."

I do know that during the past 10-15 years it has become common practice for a number of publishers of college and university text books to issue new editions of standard texts on a fairly frequent routine, with very few substantive changes. This was routine with some of the standard elementary and intermediate Spanish texts we used at Clemson University, by my rough estimation, every three or four years. For the most part the new editions were not made at the request of the author based on significant revisions of the text.

It is true that when departments have professors who have authored textbooks those texts tend to be adopted by the department. However, on the whole professors who write text books derive very little financial profit from the activity. Some years ago I was offered a contract to do a a text on Spanish Culture and Civilization but turned it down because, 1) there would have been very little financial return from the publisher for my work, and 2) universities don't reward highly this type of intellectual work.


I sincerely do not understand how text book publishers are rapacious profiteers. Could anyboy clarify that? What would make a clasroom leader require a text offered by a rapacious profiteer, anyway?

Steve Shapiro
----- Original Message ----- From: "Grillo Michael" <grillo@maine.edu>
To: <alt-photo-process-l@usask.ca>
Sent: Friday, September 08, 2006 9:43 AM

Greetings, All,
Given the steep cost of texts these days, I advise my students to pair or triple up in buying the texts, which, besides saving them money, serves my not-so-hidden agenda of promoting collaborative studying. Sharing texts induces them them to discuss the work openly amongst themselves, either through their studying together, or more casually, their conversations as they arrange who reads the assignments when. Students have anecdotally filtered back to me that, while it sometimes inconveniences them, it does more to get them to work together outside of class than any of the university provided internet fora. At any rate, they do it voluntarily. (Hey, I'm just using capitalist incentives to promote good study habits and undermine rapacious profiteers!)
Pre-emptive apologies to any language critics, Michael