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Truth in Textbook Pricing:

A student reports the following textbook for sale in the campus bookstore at the following price:

Monopoly Rents $950.00

RHG:
I find this hard to believe. A check with Amazon doesn't find any currently in-print books with that title. The closest matches (out of print) are:

-Ross King, _Monopoly rent, residential differentiation and the second global crisis of capitalism : the case of Melbourne (Progress in planning)_, published in 1987;

-Allan W. Evans, _On monopoly rent (Discussion papers in urban and regional economics)_, published in 1988;

-David Harvey, _Class-monopoly rent, finance capital and the urban revolution (Papers on planning and design)_, published in 1974.

Unless this book's being priced as a "rare book" (which would make it basically impossible to use as a text in a class larger than two or three), this all seem apocryphal at best.
1.9.2008 2:01pm
3L:
i know that profs like to consider themselves to be above the fray, as it were, in the battle between students and booksellers, and, to a large extent, this is as t should be.

but marginal changes in profs' "behavior" could help immeasurably with the student cause.

the simplest change? make class syllabi available sooner than later. this gives students some valuable lead-time in our quest for the lowest (yet still unreasonable) textbook prices.

just sayin'... ... ...
1.9.2008 2:04pm
The Drill SGT:
I read the post as a joke. It isn't?
1.9.2008 2:07pm
PJT:
Dont worry, at the end of the semester the bookstore will purchase the book from the student for $25. Then - rather than sell the book to a student who is taking the class next semester - the bookstore will send it back to the distributor and require the next student to pay $950 as well.
1.9.2008 2:12pm
Nathan Moore (mail) (www):
Heh. Economist puns are the best!
1.9.2008 2:14pm
rarango (mail):
Nathan Moore has it dead to writs.
1.9.2008 2:28pm
spaceman65:
I think I can swing the $950, unless I land on Boardwalk with a hotel on it.
1.9.2008 2:45pm
BandarBush (mail):

i know that profs like to consider themselves to be above the fray, as it were, in the battle between students and booksellers, and, to a large extent, this is as t should be.

but marginal changes in profs' "behavior" could help immeasurably with the student cause.

the simplest change? make class syllabi available sooner than later. this gives students some valuable lead-time in our quest for the lowest (yet still unreasonable) textbook prices.

just sayin'... ... ...

This.
1.9.2008 3:18pm
EricMess:
Granted it isn't as ridiculous the above-mentioned text, but the optional text for advanced patent law at my school was around $450.00.
1.9.2008 3:41pm
John M. Perkins (mail):
And WEXIS is $480/hour.
1.9.2008 3:49pm
Mich1L:
James Krier (who authored the property text he taught from) offered, as a question on past final exams, this gem (worth 5% of the course grade):

Comment on the following statement that I found one day on the classroom
blackboard (a quote from a TV program): "You want property? Property costs!"


We couldn't help but point out that indeed it does--about $100/lecture, plus the cost of his tome.
1.9.2008 4:03pm
Zywicki (mail):
Yes--'tis a joke.
1.9.2008 4:08pm
Bruce:
Elastic Demand, $100 for the first copy, each additional copy $25.
1.9.2008 4:24pm
Duffy Pratt (mail):
That's a hotel on Tennessee or St. James place. This, of course, is the best monopoly on the board. But I question the idea of putting hotels up. I typically like to leave them at four houses, in the hopes of creating a housing shortage (which is the real monopoly in Monopoly).
1.9.2008 4:40pm
Stephen F. (mail) (www):
I typically like to leave them at four houses, in the hopes of creating a housing shortage (which is the real monopoly in Monopoly).

If it's to my advantage I go ahead and buy the hotels, knowing that I can always sell them later to get back to the 8-12 houses and cause the shortage later on.
1.9.2008 7:42pm
Tony Tutins (mail):

optional text for advanced patent law at my school was around $450.00.

That's not really a text but a practitioners' handbook. You make the price of that back the first day you bill.
1.9.2008 8:04pm
SP:
Some textbooks are worth a substantial price, since they can be used as references. Legal textbooks, given how they approach the material, are worthless in this regard - they run the risk of being out of date, anyway, but they are also not organized to provide information in a form that can be readily referenced.
1.10.2008 1:21am
Brian G (mail) (www):
A book in one my classes was $180 and there were no used copies. So I borrowed my friend's book for about 20 minutes, write down the case citations in it, and looked them up as we went along.

The Professor later admitted that she knew which one was my exam because I mentioned a part of a case that was edited out of the textbook.

I don't miss being subject to that highway robbery.
1.10.2008 1:25am
Recent JD:
How do you T2, T3 and T4 profs sleep at night? It's a fair question.

Every year you're spitting out new JDs into an extremely over saturated market. Many of these people have six figure student loans. And now you make fun of the overpriced textbook scam? In an industry that goes out of its way to publish EVERYTHING in hardbound so profs, bookstores and publishers make more money? Ho ho.

I know you guys all went to top ranked schools and can't emphasize what we're going through, so I'll invite you to browse the legal job postings in craigslist and check out all the $35k entry level jobs or worse yet, the unpaid internships (you are "learning, not earning" dontcha know, there are enough new JDs out there to allow this).
1.10.2008 7:45am
Teh Anonymous:
Hey 3L - as an undergrad I used to write to the profs of the classes I'd signed up for, asking what the required books were. (Or sometimes I would go to the department for a copy of the syllabus on file, or check to see if the instructor had a web page, if the books were unlikely to have changed.) Most of them would write back. But maybe in law school they would only think you were being an unreasonable pain in the ass - I wouldn't know. ;)
1.10.2008 10:25am
RedDog (mail):
I just bought a chemistry and an engineering book for my sophomore son - $457.00
1.10.2008 2:53pm
Alligator:
From my experience, textbooks are a racket in law school and college. Why does every law school class across the country use the same textbook? I thought more professors would write textbooks -- doesn't that impress the tenure committee?

Last semester, one of my professors posted all of our cases online and I loved her for it. She said she didn't make us buy the textbook because it was expensive, contained a lot of extraneous information, and we might as well get used to identifying the relevant parts of a case. After all, you don't get case excerpts when you start practicing.
1.10.2008 3:50pm
ohwilleke:
"A book in one my classes was $180 and there were no used copies. So I borrowed my friend's book for about 20 minutes, write down the case citations in it, and looked them up as we went along."

Indeed and congratulations on an innovating approach. How many words of author written text are there in a typical case book? Not many and most of those seem to be questions, rather than explanation.
1.11.2008 3:01pm
Hannah Gardner (mail):
I'm pleased students are now annoyed with text book prices. I'm a professor emerita who has tried for over two years to find ways for students to save money on textbooks; most don't like change and simply go to the student bookstore and purchase texts at exorbitant prices. My text for next fall costs $192--perhaps that cost will make them consider protesting.
1.12.2008 7:12pm
Robb Shecter (denk) (mail):
Here's a good solution that one of my professors found last semester: He didn't like the bulky size of the case book with tiny print, and so he contacted the publisher for a "per page" price. They quoted him whatever it was, and he said, "ok!"

He ended up creating a PDF of the selected 200 or so pages he wanted ... and the cost to us, printed out and hole-punched, was ~ $35 each.

I thought that was a great solution - publisher gets paid, and we get the materials we need.
1.14.2008 2:11pm