Sunday, July 27, 2008

See - this is a perfect example. The internet has cut the cost of transport of information, right? I mean - I've said this god knows how many times - that the value of 'product' in a Tofflerian 'information economy' is reduced exponentially over time due to the ability to easily replicate and distribute said information. Hell - i spent i dont know how many hours studying feudal grain price fluctuations in central europe based on brigandage/war and it's effects on urban pricing - i KNOW how this crap works...

So textbooks have always been a scam. Professors would demand the latest edition - and change editions every couple years (usually involving a new forward, or a couple maps). This was absurd when I was in college... the pricing and the demands are STILL absurd... but used textbooks (as a method of mitigating these costs) were certainly popular back in my day. We had textbook trading faires, people shared books, etc etc. How did professors get around it - they negotiated 'fair use' copyright fees for pieces of works, assembled them into yearly 'reading material', and had Ginny's print up 600 page sets. $30 at Ginnys for the best parts of 6 books was a much better deal than $100 for a single book - and enough of that $30 got back to the profs that it was very much in there interest to do it. The textbook companies could only offer kickbacks to profs for making and requiring new sales - that was all they could do - and over time it has jacked the cost of textbooks into absurdist levels.

Which leads us to - how is this news? I'm surprised the big textbook houses are still in business - they're no more accurate than wikipedia - and they're certainly not priced rationally relative to the cost of manufacture. The reality is - look at the SEEDS in that NYTimes article image... 13... it's not like that's a 'significant and imminent threat' to the publishing industry. How many of that handful of 'criminals' would buy the book if it were, say, $50 instead of $200 - and tell me that that equation isnt BUILT into the pricing model. This is just more 'evil pirates is not sexy' bluster.

I'm looking at 9000 seeds in 'the pirate bat' pirate bay hollywood stick poking going on right now. If they want to point out the problem - THAT's where you do it (though if the NYTimes did that there'd be another 3000 seeds in a matter of hours)

1 comment:

Karmadrome said...

Worst. Sexy. Pirate. Pic. Evar.

Here, let me fix it for you:

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/145/355249807_6b1310ca74.jpg?v=0
(sfw)