Is Anyone Happy about the College Textbook Market? - Dee Gill, UCLA Anderson

Buyers find the tomes heavy, costly and too frequently revised, while sellers might like to kill the used book market entirely. A working paper by UCLA Anderson’s Matt Schmitt and Tongtong Shi of Analysis Group, an economic consulting firm, suggests that college textbook publishers, if only they could drive a stake through the heart of the used book market, might enjoy profits 42.6 percent higher than under current conditions. Driving a stake through something, of course, is a widely felt sentiment when it comes to college textbooks. If you’re a student, or parent of a student, you’ve grown accustomed to paying $120 a pop for new print texts. There are potentially less costly or more convenient options to buying a new print volume and later selling it into the used book market: digital copies with no used-sale value; loose leaf format, also intended to discourage repeat use; rental copies (which help keep used copies off the sale market); and used printed volumes.


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