Education Investigate

Textbook Publishing in the 21st Century: Changing the Higher Education System

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Executive Summary

There is a lot to indicate that the college textbook publishing system is broken. Students complain about textbook prices. The sales of used books, for which publishers receive no revenue, reduce sales of new books thereby prompting publishers to increase prices to compensate for lost revenue. Instructors require publishers to produce a host of expensive supplementary materials, such as instructor manuals, test bank questions, and PowerPoint slides, which drive the cost of textbook even higher. And of course, students don't decide which textbooks they use; that decision is made by their instructors. There is a fundamental disconnect between publishers and a large subset of their customers.

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