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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

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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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To: DrNo
Doctor No,

The record industry has not only pushed anti-americanism, anarchy, socialism and general lawlessness, they have also lined theior pockets with other people's hard earned cash.

I used to work for Warner Bros. music, and trust me when I say they don't need anymore money. Burn away!

51 posted on 11/19/2001 6:46:37 PM PST by Hazzardgate
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To: JoeSchem
While I'm sure many of these observations about the literary market are true, I'm surprised no one mentioned recycling as a contributing factor. I read a few years ago that paper price increases were largely the result of costs of recycling being passed on to consumers. I've certainly noticed significant increases in things like computer paper, and it seems reasonable that books would be similarly affected. I say: thank the Greens & Liberals for making yet another thing far too expensive--and they're supposed to be in favor of us reading. Oy!
52 posted on 11/19/2001 6:46:43 PM PST by ggraziano
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To: aimhigh
You're right about the deduction being taken away. That was done by a Tax Court (originally, I don't remember if the case was appealed) and the case was about a tool company's stock. The case was used as a precedent to cover books. Small runs, unknown authors, technical subjects, all get short shrift (the word was in English before 900ad) from the publishers. Funny how these things spread.
53 posted on 11/19/2001 6:48:04 PM PST by Doctor Stochastic
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To: CatoRenasci
I hesitate to post this because wider knowledge will drive up the prices of all the obscure books I buy there, but have you tried ""? They're a lot like Bibliofind was before Amazon took it over, with a heavy concentration on stores in the U.K. Between those two places (with an occasional look-in at, I don't think I've been unable to find anything I've been looking for for about two years now. And my weird literary requirements make Eliot criticism look as rare as Harry Potter.

Give it a try.

54 posted on 11/19/2001 6:48:41 PM PST by lambo
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To: Lizzy W
I had a similar situation. School brought in a prof. from another univ to fill a spot. I got that class, had to have a "special" philosophy book that they for sure didn't want back the next semester because that guy wouldn't be back. They didn't even offer me 50 cents for it. I used it to start a fire. Thats about all it was good for.


55 posted on 11/19/2001 6:49:07 PM PST by Noslrac
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To: CatoRenasci
Where is the ability to browse scholarly stuff (other than in a library), compare things and check out the bibliography before you buy?

A good question! By the way, it really bothers me when I go the "philosophy" section at some bookstores, and the books there all pertain to astrology/occult/new age studies! Have you ever noticed that? Where's Hegel, Fichte, Plutinus? All I see is Sylvia Browne and Shirley McClaine! What's up with that?

56 posted on 11/19/2001 6:53:16 PM PST by Fraulein
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To: JoeSchem
Children's books are worse. Outrageous prices for real thin books. My kid's have library cards and use them a lot.
57 posted on 11/19/2001 6:57:32 PM PST by FReepaholic
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To: Fraulein
I have found many rare classics and philosophy books on Ebay. You might want to give it a try.

Another great place to buy books inexpensively is Strand Books in New York. It is an old style bookstore with very tall tightly spaced shelves packed with used books. The store looks cluttered but I have made some amazing finds in there. I literally spent an entire afternoon just going through their history section (and I was selective about which countries I looked through). Their prices are very good and as an added bonus they sell reviewer copies of all the new books at 50 percent of the cover price. It would probably take a full day to go through that section alone. They have a website now that allows purchasers to search their collection. Their saying is "eight miles of books" but the major downside is I always buy more than I will probably read.

58 posted on 11/19/2001 6:58:52 PM PST by L_Von_Mises
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To: eno_
eno_ I second that. Check out Project Gutenberg, too, everybody. etext has tens of thousand of titles. With gutenberg, don't mooch, donate something to offset costs. I have been reading all of the Tom Swift books by Appleton, all online at Gutenberg.
59 posted on 11/19/2001 7:00:03 PM PST by DBrow
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To: Lizzy W
I paid $190 for absolute BS -- "Societal Factors in Health Promotion". The prof changed the book the next semester, so no buy back.


And when he changed the book for his course the book store had to absorb the loss of the stock they had that became worthless, and so did the the publisher.

60 posted on 11/19/2001 7:02:14 PM PST by RLK
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