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Why do books cost so much?
me ^ | November 19, 2001 | Me

Posted on 11/19/2001 6:07:24 PM PST by JoeSchem

Anyone else notice that the price of books is getting absurd? I mean, a paperback that sold for $.50 in the seventies will now go for $7 or $8. That's way out of line with the general inflation rate.

Then you've got the 'trade' paperbacks, which run to $14 on average. It's been a long time since I've bought a new hard cover, but I believe they're going for $25 on average.

It's the free market -- or is it? You would think that the Computer Revolution would drive down the cost of publication, but it seems to be going the other way!


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1 posted on 11/19/2001 6:07:24 PM PST by JoeSchem
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To: JoeSchem
How about your average $100 college textbook?
2 posted on 11/19/2001 6:10:56 PM PST by The Truth Will Make You Free
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To: JoeSchem
Did you ever notice that virtually all publishers are liberal Democrats and further to the left? I thought Republicans were greedy, and liberals were in every way virtuous and generous, caring nothing for money.
3 posted on 11/19/2001 6:11:32 PM PST by elenchus
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To: JoeSchem
It's the market place. I have heard there is some funny collusion going on in the music industry, don't know about the print trade. As we all know, it costs under $1 to produce a CD, yet a CD often costs $7 more than a tape all across the board. There should be one company to break free from this and say, charge "only" $2 more for a CD, but it really isn't happening.
4 posted on 11/19/2001 6:12:27 PM PST by dogbyte12
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To: JoeSchem
Free cheap enough?
5 posted on 11/19/2001 6:13:56 PM PST by eno_
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To: The Truth Will Make You Free
I pay more for books than tuition here in Canada. $101 for a junior level marketing text!
6 posted on 11/19/2001 6:14:12 PM PST by Dat
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To: JoeSchem
It is the free market. The demand for books is rather inelastic. Folks who love to read will pay through the nose to own a book - it's not like videotapes or music CDs at all.
7 posted on 11/19/2001 6:14:56 PM PST by Senator Pardek
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To: JoeSchem
Friends of mine in the book publishing business explain that a hundred layers of corporate parasites stand between the author and the reader, each with his/her hand out. Authors receive only 5%-15% of the cover cost of the book, the retailer receives 40%, and all the rest goes to Time/Warner/ConHugeCo. The computer revolution will dismantle this arrangement, and shorten the distance between author and his audience. Reading from the Internet has reduced my bookstore buying to one-tenth of what it once was, and it's their own d****d fault...the Kid
8 posted on 11/19/2001 6:15:44 PM PST by warchild9
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Comment #9 Removed by Moderator

To: The Truth Will Make You Free
At least the campus bookstore will buy them back for $2.50.
10 posted on 11/19/2001 6:16:21 PM PST by Senator Pardek
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To: innocentbystander
LOL - thanks for proving my point at #7!
11 posted on 11/19/2001 6:17:17 PM PST by Senator Pardek
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To: JoeSchem
Far worse than the increased prices are the decreased availability of scholarly books. Many classic historical and philosophical works, which were widely available in paperpack at reasonable prices in the 50's through the early '80s, are now out of print and hard to find.

I was recently looking for some things in the Columbia University bookstore and some bookstores right around Columbia and could not find such classics as Edmund Wilson's Axel's Castle or Ernst Cassierer's The Philosophy of the Enlightenment. I could find no criticism of T.S. Eliot -- I mean I know he's not at the height of his fashion, but nothing....?

12 posted on 11/19/2001 6:17:18 PM PST by CatoRenasci
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To: Dat
I had to take a philosophy course in college back in 1991, and the only class that fit my schedule was taught by a guy who had "his own" book out, that was the required text. Basically, it was a compendium of essays by the great philosophers, broken down into chapters, with italicized commentary from him before each chapter, consisting of one paragraph, to up to a page. He perhaps actually "wrote" 10 pages out of the 300 page text.

Cost for the book was $67, that was 10 years ago.

13 posted on 11/19/2001 6:17:26 PM PST by dogbyte12
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To: dogbyte12
And CD's are cheaper to make than tapes! I buy a lot of "used" CD's.
14 posted on 11/19/2001 6:17:59 PM PST by garyhope
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To: The Truth Will Make You Free; Dat
Yall are getting off cheap. My science texts cost $150 - $200 per book. It's such a friggin racket.
15 posted on 11/19/2001 6:18:09 PM PST by Lizzy W
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To: JoeSchem
Because you are willing to pay that much
16 posted on 11/19/2001 6:18:31 PM PST by JZoback
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To: JoeSchem
I have been buying a lot of books recently and they have ranged from 39 for a cheapy to 89 for one that I really wanted. What do you think when people like Hitlery hold up the store for 8million bucks, followed by Slick for more than that! Someone has to pick up the tab on that! You know it isn't going to be someone buying either of their books.
17 posted on 11/19/2001 6:19:03 PM PST by MistyCA
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To: JoeSchem
You're right. Books have gotten very expensive. You might want to shop Ebay or check with your local used bookstores. Or perhaps you might want to get books from the library.
18 posted on 11/19/2001 6:19:10 PM PST by Fraulein
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To: JoeSchem
Because of the numbers bought. High prices make up for the lower sales.
19 posted on 11/19/2001 6:19:23 PM PST by RaceBannon
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To: JoeSchem
How about $3 or $4 for a cup of soda at a movie or a ballgame? It can't take more than a few cents worth of syrup and and a splash of seltzer water. That is a hell of a mark-up!
20 posted on 11/19/2001 6:19:53 PM PST by Nitro
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To: The Truth Will Make You Free
because of the limited numbers printed.
21 posted on 11/19/2001 6:19:55 PM PST by RaceBannon
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To: warchild9
Curiously enough, a bestselling book will often go for $15 or so after gigantic discounts, which is not much more than hardcovers cost years ago.

It's true that books are expensive, but there is one silver lining: They are a lot more easily available than they were in the good old days. Darn few bookstores ten years ago were even half the size of a typical Borders or Barnes & Noble. Tis a pity about the prices, though :-(.

D

22 posted on 11/19/2001 6:20:27 PM PST by daviddennis
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To: JoeSchem
Just a couple of observations:

  1. There is a much greater variety of books now than in the 1970's with generally smaller print runs. Quantity is a huge factor in comparing prices.

  2. If you compare the run of a typical paperback best-seller in the 1970's to a trashy romance novel today (around $3 or $4), the inflation rate is cut in half.

  3. People are willing to pay it, so they can get away with charging it. Much like the reason that rent on a trashy apartment in Malibu, California will pay for a gorgeous house in Des Monies, Iowa . . .

23 posted on 11/19/2001 6:21:33 PM PST by Vigilanteman
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To: JoeSchem
Books don't grow on trees you know.:^))
24 posted on 11/19/2001 6:21:42 PM PST by janus
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To: Lizzy W
You are right about the text books. I have paid a fortune for the books my daughter needed for college!
25 posted on 11/19/2001 6:21:54 PM PST by MistyCA
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To: JoeSchem
I buy most of my books USED. REALLY saves MONEY! Course college books would be another thing...that does seem to be quite the racket. But, I thought there was going to be an online bookstore for college books that was going to help reduce the prices....guess it's not working?
26 posted on 11/19/2001 6:22:37 PM PST by goodnesswins
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To: The Truth Will Make You Free
How about your average $100 college textbook?

That's because you are a captive buyer. You HAVE to buy the book. In addition, you generally HAVE to buy it at the monopoply campus bookstore, although that is partially changing with the internet.

27 posted on 11/19/2001 6:22:53 PM PST by Rodney King
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Comment #28 Removed by Moderator

To: JoeSchem
What's a book?
29 posted on 11/19/2001 6:23:30 PM PST by Darth Sidious
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To: JoeSchem
Some idiot publishers pay non-authors up to $20 million dollars per couple to write books about topics which for years they have testified they have no knowledge.
30 posted on 11/19/2001 6:23:42 PM PST by Sgt_Schultze
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To: CatoRenasci
I have found many rare classics and philosophy books on Ebay. You might want to give it a try.
31 posted on 11/19/2001 6:24:30 PM PST by Fraulein
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To: JoeSchem
Here's your answer. Prior to Jimmy Carter, publishers could print several million copies of a book and depreciate unsold, warehoused copies, which would eventually sell. In Jimmy's administration, that deduction was taken away, and book prices skyrocketed as a result. Liberals can say they are pro-education, but the results speak for themselves.
32 posted on 11/19/2001 6:24:44 PM PST by aimhigh
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To: Senator Pardek
Now that drives me nuts. They will sell it again for 10x what they pay for it. There must be a way to remedy this situation, most textbooks are identical for similar courses yet different instructors use different textbooks, which they change from year to year.
33 posted on 11/19/2001 6:25:15 PM PST by Dat
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To: JoeSchem
I purchase books for the Academic Department I work for. I have found great bargains on used books through Amazon and Barnes and Noble. They also have a listing of places that sell used books that you can contact directly.
34 posted on 11/19/2001 6:25:41 PM PST by Neets
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To: The Truth Will Make You Free
How about your average $100 college textbook?

Ironically it is to a large extent the result of the explosion of the used book market.

Instead of being spread over 3-4 years, all the costs of a new book have to be recouped in one semester. After that, the used books take over.

The bookstores invest nothing in the production of a book, pay the students returning a book 1/3 to 1/2 the value of a new book, and then charge 3/4 of the price to new students buying it.

The author and publisher, who produce the book, get nothing from the sales of the used books.

Only the bookstores profit from this system.

35 posted on 11/19/2001 6:25:46 PM PST by DrNo
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To: JoeSchem
$8 million advances to former first ladies, and the bunk produced will be at the outlet malls for $2.95 before anyone blinks. The other "mainstream" books have to make up for the losses on these "ventures" in literature. But I must admit I am always the first in line at Costco to get the newest Clancy novel. Other than that I get a ton of stuff cheaply on EBAY.
36 posted on 11/19/2001 6:25:58 PM PST by ScottinSacto
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To: Lizzy W
My science texts cost $150 - $200 per book.

Science textbooks generally are more expensive because there's actual useful information contained in them. I paid $150 - $200 for my engineering textbooks and still have (and use) them. Compare that to $100 for some textbook on Comparative Hungarian Furniture and I consider it a deal.

37 posted on 11/19/2001 6:26:30 PM PST by randog
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To: garyhope
Don't buy CDs~!!!

Buy a CD burner, download what you want and burn it on a blank cd (cost about $0.75 a piece)

To He!! with the music industry.

38 posted on 11/19/2001 6:27:50 PM PST by Hazzardgate
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To: elenchus
Actually, there is almost no profit in book publishing. It was traditionally a family owned hobby prestige business. There is real concern now that book publishing as we know it will fail as an industry. The problem is that most books lose money, and the authors of the blockbusters extract most of the profit to themselves. So if it is all controlled by liberal Dems (actually Random House is now controlled by a German concern), rather than greedy, they are just stupid, at least when it comes to money.
39 posted on 11/19/2001 6:29:30 PM PST by Torie
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To: randog
I paid $190 for absolute BS -- "Societal Factors in Health Promotion". The prof changed the book the next semester, so no buy back. I do admit that the cash I dropped on my "Molecular Biology of the Cell" book was worth it.
40 posted on 11/19/2001 6:29:55 PM PST by Lizzy W
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To: Dat
Now that drives me nuts. They will sell it again for 10x what they pay for it. There must be a way to remedy this situation, most textbooks are identical for similar courses yet different instructors use different textbooks, which they change from year to year.

I'm convinced that's a well thought out scam.

I'm glad I kept a couple, however - like my business law and (lefty) Samuelson economics textbooks.

41 posted on 11/19/2001 6:30:09 PM PST by Senator Pardek
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To: Hazzardgate
Don't buy CDs~!!! Buy a CD burner, download what you want and burn it on a blank cd (cost about $0.75 a piece) To He!! with the music industry

As some wise person once said: "there's no such thing as a 'free lunch.'"

If some people don't pay for a product (notice I didn't say "steal"), others will end up paying more, or people will stop producing it.

42 posted on 11/19/2001 6:32:05 PM PST by DrNo
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To: JoeSchem
...well lets see...if Hillary gets an $8 million advance...that makes all books printed since 1983 go up just to cover that...then if no one actually purchases the book...that Hillary has yet to write..if she even will...well, then that makes the price of books reprinted from say 1950 go up.......
43 posted on 11/19/2001 6:33:50 PM PST by Clovis_Skeptic
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Comment #44 Removed by Moderator

To: JoeSchem
I'll tell you why.

There are thousands of books published. It costs a pile of money to print a book. Most books lose money for the publisher. A publishing house takes on books on a statistical basis, distributing the costs among the price of the array of books it publishes.

College texts don't sell in large quantities. Occasionally publishers will hit a jackpot with something like Sears and Zemansky, or Sears in anything in physics, or Morrison and Boyd or Streitweiser and Heathcock in chemistry which became standard works for a period. When somebody specifies a book for a college course, it will sell a couple hundred copies and the publishers and book stores must store other copies and hope to get their money out of them over several years.

Some of the technical books I buy, or whish I could buy, run up to $600.00 a shot. The cost of printing divided umong the number of copies sold is probably $400.00.

45 posted on 11/19/2001 6:37:08 PM PST by RLK
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To: Fraulein
I do use e-bay, and amazon's used z-shops as well, which is very good. However, I have a pretty good idea what I'm looking for, I fear for those who are just learning to do scholarly work. Where is the ability to browse scholarly stuff (other than in a library), compare things and check out the bibliography before you buy?
46 posted on 11/19/2001 6:38:15 PM PST by CatoRenasci
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To: JoeSchem
in the old days book publishers were book lovers.

but in the 1970s, gradually the corporations bought out the book publishers. and, over the years there have been major consolidations with international publishers in the fore.

while the former tended to keep books in print for years, a change in the tax laws, accelerated the trend to letting books go out of print because inventories became expensive. a new edition could be got up for more money.

corporations saw books as commodities, and pursued the mass market, which worked against scholarly books, that in the end became more expensive to produce.

47 posted on 11/19/2001 6:39:17 PM PST by ken21
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To: cajunjim1963
Hell I laid out $515 on textbooks this semester :-P

At my school, it was always the Department Chairman's book that had to be used. And it wasn't because he was a good writer.

48 posted on 11/19/2001 6:39:36 PM PST by JoeSchem
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To: JoeSchem
Just a couple of observations:

  1. There is a much greater variety of books now than in the 1970's with generally smaller print runs. Quantity is a huge factor in comparing prices.

  2. If you compare the run of a typical paperback best-seller in the 1970's to a trashy romance novel today (around $3 or $4), the inflation rate is cut in half.

  3. People are willing to pay it, so they can get away with charging it. Much like the reason that rent on a trashy apartment in Malibu, California will pay for a gorgeous house in Des Monies, Iowa . . .

49 posted on 11/19/2001 6:41:05 PM PST by Vigilanteman
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Comment #50 Removed by Moderator


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