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Sell Someone Else's Book On Lulu!

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the class-act dept.

Books 260

Albert Schueller writes "Lulu is a place where authors can self-publish their books. It's a nice response to exorbitant college textbook prices. In an interesting twist, looks like you might be able to get away with selling other people's books on Lulu and reap a tidy profit. The Lulu offering Calculus Twirly Exponentials by Dave Stuart appears to be simply a high quality scan of the much more well-known, and expensive, Calculus: Early Transcendentals 6th ed. by James Stewart. Compare the preview images available for each at Lulu and Amazon respectively."

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Yeah.... (4, Funny)

Godskitchen (1017786) | more than 4 years ago | (#33281960)

That sounds legal...

Re:Yeah.... (4, Interesting)

inflex (123318) | more than 4 years ago | (#33282968)

As a person who's breaking into the book market with my wife's new novel and seeking an eBook option, this is precisely the sort of crap that we're worried about, just all too easy through modern POD portals like Lulu.

Re:Yeah.... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33283032)

I guess the common slashdot answer is, "too bad, the cost to produce a copy is nothing so it should be free. Get a patronage or do live readings or live shows or sell t-shirts to make money".

Now, I don't happen to agree with that sentiment, but it does seem to be the group think around here.

frist psot (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33281962)

books are pants

Re:frist psot (1)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | more than 4 years ago | (#33283226)

True, but they chafe something awful.
newspaper are underwear...

The only absurd part of this... (4, Insightful)

RingDev (879105) | more than 4 years ago | (#33282012)

Is that they want $170 for a book on calculus.

-Rick

Re:The only absurd part of this... (3, Funny)

tucara (812321) | more than 4 years ago | (#33282038)

Just be glad in the Newton family never patented calculus so that you'd have to pay a license fee to do your homework.

Re:The only absurd part of this... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33282102)

Fuck you, communist. Information wants to be held hostage for money.

Re:The only absurd part of this... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33282264)

ty! roflol

Re:The only absurd part of this... (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 4 years ago | (#33282222)

Just be glad in the Newton family never patented calculus so that you'd have to pay a license fee to do your homework.

Yeah, but the Newton family would have to slug it out with the Leibniz family ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gottfried_Wilhelm_Leibniz [wikipedia.org] ), who also claimed to be the father of calculus.

Leibniz had a more outrageous hairdo than The B-52s , so I guess he would have won any court battle.

Re:The only absurd part of this... (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 4 years ago | (#33282812)

I didn't do all that well in history class, but I'm fairly sure that Newton died more than 20 years ago.

Re:The only absurd part of this... (1)

Ccomp5950 (1796614) | more than 4 years ago | (#33282910)

Every 20 years, change something slightly and re-patent it. Works for pharmaceuticals.

Re:The only absurd part of this... (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 4 years ago | (#33282954)

Which doesn't stop anyone from using the original concept. Which you may have noticed through the wide availability of no-name pharmaceuticals on the market.

Re:The only absurd part of this... (5, Informative)

jadrian (1150317) | more than 4 years ago | (#33282386)

Fair price actually. The book is over 1100 pages long. I actually own a version that comes in two volumes, so that would be $85 each. They are used for 3 or 4 semester calculus courses and the quality of the material is really good. It's money well spent.

Re:The only absurd part of this... (3, Insightful)

dargon (105684) | more than 4 years ago | (#33282796)

That's actually a relatively fair price, however I once spent $80 for a text book that was maybe 200 pages and we opened I think 4 times in the entire semester (10 years ago so memory has a few faults :) ), and that is definitely NOT money well spent.

Re:The only absurd part of this... (4, Interesting)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 4 years ago | (#33283024)

My first year, we had a required half credit diversity sensitivity class. The book ($70-80 maybe, it was almost 15 years ago) was about a magazine's worth of reprinted newspaper articles. Printed on campus. I think they laughed at me when I brought it to the book buyback.

Re:The only absurd part of this... (2, Interesting)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#33282976)

...

You and I define fair price a lot differently I think.

How many years did this book take to create? Figure in an appropriate salary, which is certainly less than 75k/year (if you live in some area where thats not a good salary then you need to move, dumbass), and take into account how many copies (copies here, costs them next to nothing to produce after the first one is printed) they've sold at a ridiculous price to students ...

College isn't about an education anymore, its about how much everyone in the business can milk you for, and how many loans they can convince you to take out so they can milk you some more.

The book wouldn't be worth $170 if each copy was hand written by God himself, although I'd probably pay that much for it if you could prove it was God that inked it.

Re:The only absurd part of this... (0, Troll)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | more than 4 years ago | (#33283064)

Sorry, There are no gods.

Re:The only absurd part of this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33282990)

What the fuck ever. Nothing new has been done in Calculus for decades. When I went to college in 1989 a brand new copy of Larson and Hostetler cost me $55. We're talking a 1000+ page book, covering topics all the way through vector calculus and beginning differential equations. I just checked Amazon, and their latest 8th edition commands $237. Out-fucking-rageous. The textbook publishing racket is a monumental rip-off of the first order.

Re:The only absurd part of this... (1)

mmaniaci (1200061) | more than 4 years ago | (#33283018)

Its not a fair price when you have to buy a new version of the book every year. Fuck textbook publishers.

Re:The only absurd part of this... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33282504)

That's not absurd at all. What's absurd is that every year, you need to use a newly published calculus book to teach mathematics. Calculus hasn't changed all that much in the last 10-15 years to warrant needing a new edition every year or two.

Re:The only absurd part of this... (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 4 years ago | (#33282758)

Here is what you do. Get into a professorship position where you have decision making authority on things like textbooks. (This is probably Regents-direct-reports level, so good luck getting there.) Then with this authority, make student-friendly decision.

Re:The only absurd part of this... (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 4 years ago | (#33282924)

Depends on the college. At many schools, the teachers (even lecturers) choose the books for the class, so even two different people teaching the same class may not use the same book. I've never heard of textbooks being chosen higher than a departmental level.

Or did you mean that only a Regents level position would be able to set textbook policies for enough students to make textbook publishers care?

Re:The only absurd part of this... (2, Insightful)

EvanED (569694) | more than 4 years ago | (#33282516)

$170 is a little high, but to be fair, if that's the book I think it is, it would easily more than cover three semesters of calc class. $60 for a textbook for a semester class really isn't that bad.

The obnoxious part about it then is not so much the high price right off the bat, it's the fact that you're forced to get all three classes at once. (Even the shorter, volume-based editions mentioned by another poster don't go too far toward fixing this issue.)

Re:The only absurd part of this... (4, Interesting)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 4 years ago | (#33282814)

Long after finishing college, the Stewart calculus books are pretty much the only texts that remain on my bookshelf since then. The rest of that list is CS material that still gets referenced.

FWIW my last two real-world jobs have involved doing calculus on whiteboards, which I realize isn't all that common :-)

Re:The only absurd part of this... (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 4 years ago | (#33282736)

The Stewart books are extremely good. The value is definitely there... something I can't say for a lot of college textbooks.
A longtime slashdot poster whose name escapes me was a contributing editor for it; I remember thinking "small world" when it came up.

Copyright infringement, anyone? (5, Funny)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 4 years ago | (#33282024)

Sounds like a good way to get sued.

1. Publish someone else's book on Lulu
2. ???
3. Profit!!!
4. Get sued!

Re:Copyright infringement, anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33282088)

It's more like:
1. Publish someone else's book on Lulu
2. ???
3. Profit!!!
3.1: Spend your profit on hookers and crack
4. Get sued!
4.1. Fight it in the courts at the original authors expense
5. File for Bankruptcy

Re:Copyright infringement, anyone? (2, Insightful)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 4 years ago | (#33282424)

    The site is going too slow for me to see where the "seller" is. If they're off-shored appropriately, the list will end at 3.1, with a sidenote of lawyers pitching fits and trying to find all the parties to sue. "John Doe" works well in the US, but if Mr. John Doe lives in rural Obscuristain, it's a lot harder to serve him.

Re:Copyright infringement, anyone? (1)

zoomshorts (137587) | more than 4 years ago | (#33282650)

Simply sue Lulu.

Re:Copyright infringement, anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33282450)

Except you can't bankrupt judgements. You might be judgement proof, but judgements are usually good for 10 years and can be renewed if the winner so desires.*

*IANAL and YMMV.

Step 4, revised (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 4 years ago | (#33282618)

4. Get sued!

It's really:

4. Get sued for 3X Profit (copyright infringement bonus points).

Whoever set up that book is about to get whacked, legally speaking. They probably have been moving money into offshore accounts though....

Re:Copyright infringement, anyone? (2, Insightful)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 4 years ago | (#33282826)

>Sounds like a good way to get sued.

It is. For all the misconception about copyright (to wit, copyright being a good weapon to use against people distributing your work), copyright's main strength is that it can strongly protect you from someone else distributing your work, claiming it as their own, *and suing you* on the claim that YOU are the copycat. That direction of things is lost in the noise in all the copyright discussion, because it's neither common nor sexy nor a basis for a business model.

Underpants theft, anyone? (1)

Bourdain (683477) | more than 4 years ago | (#33282996)

Too bad Lulu doesn't also integrate underpants theft [wikipedia.org] .

How is this news? (3, Insightful)

jewishbaconzombies (1861376) | more than 4 years ago | (#33282036)

Sounds like all in a day's work for your average middleman. Good job!

Irony (4, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#33282054)

MAFIAA go after casual downloaders, destroying people for having downloaded a few songs which are usually freely available on the radio anyway. In the meantime, people are scanning and selling other people's books for profit - and getting away with it. Wasn't this exactly the sort of thing that copyright was supposed to prevent in the first place?

Re:Irony (-1, Troll)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#33282152)

No.

All works that are created belong to everyone else, unless the author locks it in a safe out of view. The legal privilege we call an "exclusive right" for a "limited time", doesn't prevent copying of his ideas (which is a right given to us by nature). It merely gives the author a way to recover lost earnings from the sale of his book. Nothing more.

Re:Irony (3, Interesting)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#33282268)

doesn't prevent copying of his ideas (which is a right given to us by nature).

Wow, you sound like a lawyer. Or you're in marketing. Because you're using twisty little words to say nothing at all.

By your same reasoning, it is my natural right to kill someone. However the law gives that person's family a way to seek "justice" for the death of their loved one?

You know if you read actual copyright laws, it is mentioned somewhere that you need the author's permission in order to copy his work, with the following exceptions... Then it goes on to list the exceptions. Nowhere in the law does it talk about "natural rights" to copy things, or "ways to recover lost earnings". That is for a judge to decide.

Re:Irony (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 4 years ago | (#33282822)

Before the law you could copy. It was difficult and took nothing from anyone.

After the law, if you copy you get sued.

Sounds like GP got it right.

Extreme Irony (1, Insightful)

reiisi (1211052) | more than 4 years ago | (#33282858)

Either you are extremely obtuse, or you don't understand the purpose and meaning of the US Constitution.

If you are not a USAian, I suppose we should give you some slack. If you are, we should give you a lot of flack.

While it is true that James Stewart is not a USAian, and it is true that the specifics of the US Constitution are specific to the US context, the principles are universal.

If you give a person absolute rights over any intangible, you might as well grant that person a title of nobility along with power to supercede any Constitution your government may claim to be established under. Yeah, yeah, you're now thinking "nutcase!" etc.

How does a person prove beyond doubt that the forbidden thing is not in his/her head?

Absolute power over intangibles is tantamount to power over private thought.

Therefore, the US Constitution provides for limits on rights over what we know call "intellectual property", specifically, unspecified time limits. The Constitution specified time limits because other limits would be inherent in the context of the rights and responsibilities of a person getting a lease on a piece of the public commons, and trying to put more than that into the Constitution would have tread seriously on the rights reserved to the individual states.

I haven't read the Berne convention carefully enough, I suppose I should, but if it were to be interpreted to make copyright absolute and immutable, it would be a declaration of war against every country in the world. So they have to tread carefully.

If you don't understand that much, shut up before you hurt yourself. Go back and read the copyright laws and read up on the fundamental theories under which they are interpreted. Then re-read the post.

What the OP said was only that the copyright owner has no right to absolute control, and that copyright is not going to _prevent_ pirating. (I think that he implicitly acknowledged that this might be a real case of pirating, to the extent that "pirating" is a valid description of the activity of making illicit profit from another person's creation.)

It is now the copyright owner's job to go after the guy selling what appears to be a copy, prove it's a copy in court, and get the court to take corrective/punitive action as necessary. The current copyright laws will, however, get in his way because of the so-called "artists' associations" efforts to establish effective absolute rights.

It's also the responsibility of passersby (such as we) to log into lulu if we have an account and tell them that there may be a problem here.

(Emphasis on _may_, as it turns out. There may not be a slam-dunk case of infringement here.)

But no amount of legitimate copyright law can prevent illegal/illicit/immoral copying until after the illegal activity has occured at least once, and that is precisely where those (not-) artists' associations are going way too far.

And the real irony here is that they are cutting off their (members') noses to spite their (members') faces.

Yeah, it's the right of the author/artist/inventor to be emphatic that he or she doesn't want any copying at all, but that kind of attitude taken too far tends to cut them off from their potential customers.

My opinion here, and I think I am not alone, is that we should allow the artists/authors/inventors a bit more than their legal right for moral reasons, but that still doesn't alter the fact that you can't sell a work no one knows about. That is their right to paint themselves, individually, into such a corner if they so desire, and it should be, for a realistically limited time.

Those (anti-) artists' associations (and the patent trolls, as well) should not be given any slack, because they are trying to enforce their regime on the whole market (which is now an international market). This is a huge, huge power grab, nothing more, nothing less.

Now, if you want to talk about natural rights, just remember that nothing is created/invented in a vacuum. No one has much real claim to these rights. No tangible claims at all. This is a convention that is supposed to support freedoms, but one group is using it to support their own freedoms at the expense of others.

If artists and inventors, or their enforced proxies, go about trying to use copyrights and patents to usurp the freedoms of the peoples of various countries, there will be war.

Re:Extreme Irony (0, Troll)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | more than 4 years ago | (#33283162)

Sorry to replay not to the actual content of your post, but, I just found something amazing on your post.

From your post, I understand you live in the USA. And yet, you don't use the awesomely egomaniac expression "American" to refer to yourself while disregarding the fact that America is a much bigger continent than just your country. I keep complaining about it, but it's so hard to get people from the US to open their mind and understand that they are not the center of the world that I just let it go many times.

So, USAian. It does sound weird, but it's better than American. I personally use US citizen, spanish (Estadounidense), or just Yankee, for lack of a better term. The United States is the only country in the world that doesn't have a proper demonym in its own official language, but it does in others (i.e: Spanish, French).

Anyway, congratulations for not being an asshole.

Re:Irony (0, Troll)

hitmark (640295) | more than 4 years ago | (#33282608)

it was never about profits, and all about thought control.

Re:Irony (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 4 years ago | (#33282840)

lol. yep, it's those damn masons, at it again!

Almost the same name (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33282068)

Dave Stuart, James Stewart... the family name sounds about the same, they must be brothers or something. Let it through! - Lulu

Re:Almost the same name (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33282176)

Wouldn't it be funny if it turned out the author was pissed off at the publisher for getting 50 cents each book and figured Lulu offered a better deal, and republished it himself under a pseudonym?

Re:Almost the same name (0)

twidarkling (1537077) | more than 4 years ago | (#33282494)

Breach of contract, he'd get nailed and lose what he was getting and then some.

That's what copyright laws are really for (1)

kholburn (625432) | more than 4 years ago | (#33282956)

That's what the copyright law is really for - to protect publishers and distributors.

Confession: I actually RTFA... (0, Troll)

BobMcD (601576) | more than 4 years ago | (#33282140)

First, please allow me to complain that the first two links go to the same place. Second, from what I have access to here, there isn't a single identical page in either of the previews featured for either book. The fonts are different, the images are off-color, etc. Finally...

This book is designed to be the perfect replacement for the popular calculus textbook "Calculus: Early Transcendentals" by James Stewart. Despite the humorous name, it is actually a serious attempt at creating a cheap substitute to that book. The contents match up chapter by chapter so that you can use this book as an alternative if your calc course has that book as a requirement. We also aim to provide exercises, including some solved exercises, which are just as good as in the original. This book is much cheaper than Stewart's Calculus, so if you are studying calc on a budget, why not give us a try and see if we can live up to your expectations? We promise you won't be disappointed. This is the first volume, corresponding to chapters 1-9 of the 6th edition of Stewart.

Any similarity here is entirely intentional as the 'stolen' work is intended as a drop-in replacement. Sure they copied the book word-for-word, but it seems they intended to do that. TFS implies tom-foolery, whereas instead we have what amounts to a protest over the cost of the original book...

Re:Confession: I actually RTFA... (5, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#33282216)

>>>we have what amounts to a protest over the cost of the original book...

Bullshit. It's theft of another person's labor. Equivalent to if you spend a year of your life as an engineer, but you only get half the pay. The other half gets distributed among thieves claiming credit for your work, even though they didn't do a damn thing. They are parasites... nothing more.

Re:Confession: I actually RTFA... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33282314)

Outrageous ... next I'm sure you're going to say Pierre Menard didn't actually write a translation of Don Quixote!

Re:Confession: I actually RTFA... (2, Funny)

BJ_Covert_Action (1499847) | more than 4 years ago | (#33282338)

The other half gets distributed among thieves claiming credit for your work, even though they didn't do a damn thing. They are parasites... nothing more.

So....it follows the middle management model?

Re:Confession: I actually RTFA... (1)

Princeofcups (150855) | more than 4 years ago | (#33282442)

>>>we have what amounts to a protest over the cost of the original book...

Bullshit. It's theft of another person's labor. Equivalent to if you spend a year of your life as an engineer, but you only get half the pay. The other half gets distributed among thieves claiming credit for your work, even though they didn't do a damn thing. They are parasites... nothing more.

That would be the case if the author actually received the bulk of the revenue. They get a tiny cut. Almost all of that goes right into the pockets of the fat cats at the publishing company. These text books could cost a fraction of the current cost, and the the author could get twice as much per book, and the publishers would still get their fair share.

Re:Confession: I actually RTFA... (0)

twidarkling (1537077) | more than 4 years ago | (#33282526)

It's cute that you think that, but it's really not true. The average bookstore gets a 40% discount off the cover price. If you want to be pissed at anyone taking more than their fair share, look at bookstores.

Re:Confession: I actually RTFA... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33282672)

Please define 'fair share'.

Article Submitter is a Math Professor / Author? (3, Insightful)

_KiTA_ (241027) | more than 4 years ago | (#33282466)

>>>we have what amounts to a protest over the cost of the original book...

Bullshit. It's theft of another person's labor. Equivalent to if you spend a year of your life as an engineer, but you only get half the pay. The other half gets distributed among thieves claiming credit for your work, even though they didn't do a damn thing. They are parasites... nothing more.

No, the parasites are the ones who change the edition of the book every 6-12 months, making the used book market nonexistant and allowing for inflation like this (usually in the realm of kickbacks to teachers/schools to "encourage" them to cycle out the editions on command).

$225 list price for a goddamned math book? Apparently selling textbooks allows for some really high quality drugs.

Having said that, note that the article submitter's name first comes up on Google as a Math Professor in Washington State [whitman.edu] who teaches Calculus 3. Even more amusing is the fact that Whitman's Math Department uses Lulu [whitman.edu] to sell their own line of College math books [lulu.com] .

Let me interject real quick with the statement that I do not intend to suggest any shenanigans -- I just thought it was really unusual. In a good way. I've never heard of a college designing, testing, and printing their own textbooks -- and at vastly better prices ($9 instead of $225) to boot! And that's assuming you don't just want to download the PDF for your iPad or whatnot.

Re:Article Submitter is a Math Professor / Author? (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 4 years ago | (#33282580)

No, the parasites are the ones who change the edition of the book every 6-12 months, making the used book market nonexistant and allowing for inflation like this...

Why can't both be parasites?

Re:Confession: I actually RTFA... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33282966)

>>Equivalent to if you spend a year of your life as an engineer, but you only get half the pay. The other half gets distributed among thieves

So, the status quo, then?

Umm... no. It's like file sharing. (0)

denzacar (181829) | more than 4 years ago | (#33283052)

Actually it is EXACTLY like file-sharing copies of Lady Gaga CDs (or whoever is the flavor of the month).
Except... People actually need math books and courses (as opposed to pop-music) and the information encoded in those books is basically free already.

Again, compared to music, author of the book didn't have to create music and lyrics and then arrange all that into a (according to amazon reviews) moderately useful book.
Author basically just re-sampled the existing music and lyrics taken from public domain.
He didn't have to reinvent math to create the book - just sit down and write what other people have already proven to be absolute truth in thousands of other books.

Perhaps the book really is $225 + shipping insightful, perhaps not (amazon and its buyers clearly don't think so).
BUT, as he feels that "the market can handle it" author has decided to have that price attached to the book.
And unlike with music, you can't really download a paper book for free, so whoever wants the book will have to pay that price, right?
Unless someone decides to copy the book in entirety and sell it "at cost" (or even "at loss" - guys who printed the copy also invested time in the whole process).

Cause that is EXACTLY what is going on here.
$11 + shipping for a 650-page book?
According to lulu.com's pricing calculator, they would have to print (and sell) AT LEAST 300 copies in order to start earning $0.41 per book sold.
Which would make them whole $123 richer - after they get back those $3,192.00 they invested in printing the books.

Compare those numbers to the number of amazon reviews and the number of used copies available, and it is rather obvious that they would have to outsell the entire available "used" stock to even start considering that they could be actually making money doing that.
Only people making money here are printers and the post office.

 
As for the author of the original book... That same old argument used for file sharing works here as well.
He is not losing customers - those people were not going to buy his book at the price he is asking for it anyway.
Again, just look at amazon. They are knocking down 24%, and it is going for 50% used.
Clearly the customers find that the original price tag is too high.
And just like with "shared" music or used books/CDs - 5%, 10%, 50% of "lost sales" out of zero sales is still zero.

Maybe he should get with the times and take a page from the "copiers'" book - and publish a black and white dirt-cheap version himself?
There would probably be almost no money in it - but he would be protecting his investment from "pirates" at no cost, while ensuring that the public still uses HIS books instead of someone else's.

Re:Confession: I actually RTFA... (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 4 years ago | (#33283140)

Bullshit. It's theft of another person's labor. Equivalent to if you spend a year of your life as an engineer, but you only get half the pay. The other half gets distributed among thieves claiming credit for your work, even though they didn't do a damn thing. They are parasites... nothing mo

Gee...sounds just like music and software piracy. Except without 'the other half' getting distributed.

I'm not sure what you're looking at... (3, Informative)

mutube (981006) | more than 4 years ago | (#33282226)

  1. Go to the Amazon page for Calculus: Early Transcendentals [amazon.com]
  2. Click the cover image (Click to look inside!)
  3. Go to the Lulu page for Calculus Twirly Exponentials Volume 1 [lulu.com]
  4. Click on the Preview link (under the cover image)
  5. Look at the cover page of both: they are different
  6. Look at the first page of both (and every page after): they are the same

I've refreshed to make sure it's not a temporary bug with Lulu that has been fixed. It happens every time.

Re:Confession: I actually RTFA... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33282234)

See page 12 of the Lulu preview for an explanation. They aren't trying to hide anything.

Re:Confession: I actually RTFA... (1)

lyinhart (1352173) | more than 4 years ago | (#33282404)

See page 12 of the Lulu preview for an explanation. They aren't trying to hide anything.

Well, considering that the little note was on the 12th image and that the last ten images were of the exact book it claims to replace, that's hard to believe. You'd have to buy the book on Lulu to find out, but either they're selling an illegal digital copy of the book or fooling people into thinking that it's the exact same book when it's just an imitation.

College Textbook Prices (1, Interesting)

Soporific (595477) | more than 4 years ago | (#33282184)

A little off topic I guess, but how did college professors get around the ethical challenge of selling their own books to their class as a requirement and charging whatever they felt like for it?

~S

Re:College Textbook Prices (5, Insightful)

SomeJoel (1061138) | more than 4 years ago | (#33282236)

A little off topic I guess, but how did college professors get around the ethical challenge of selling their own books to their class as a requirement and charging whatever they felt like for it?

~S

They downplay it by never using or even mentioning the required book in class.

Re:College Textbook Prices (2, Interesting)

ZorinLynx (31751) | more than 4 years ago | (#33282864)

When I was in school they'd frequently assign books that were never used in the course. I started saving hundreds of dollars by not buying books until I absolutely needed them.

I think professors let their course change and shift semester after semester, end up stopping using a book but still require it... Meanwhile, the publishers laugh their way to the bank... :P

Re:College Textbook Prices (4, Insightful)

deinol (210478) | more than 4 years ago | (#33282260)

Even worse is that many university bookstores will mark up prices above the MSRP. I remember once as a student I found the exact same book in both the Textbooks section and the normal bookstore area. The one in Textbooks was 20% more expensive. And they wonder why students started buying their books on Amazon.

Re:College Textbook Prices (1)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 4 years ago | (#33282410)

Or the used markup. By book from student - only if it's the current edition - for less than $10 and then sell it to another student for more than $40 sometimes higher. 400% markups.

You know, we can clean up a lot of drug violence if we took textbooks, eyeglass frames, hearing aids and batteries, and other products with obscene mark-ups and say, "Hey homies! You want to make some real money? Lookie here!"

Re:College Textbook Prices (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#33282474)

That's actually typical. While I've only gone to 3 colleges, all of them were like that. The idea was that the people who could shop elsewhere would and the people on financial aid would spend the money at the campus bookstore. It's just a way of getting a cut of the scholarship money. What got absurd was that sometimes all you'd have to do is literally walk across the street and the prices would drop substantially.

Re:College Textbook Prices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33283252)

Part of it is the shelf life of books at a university bookstore - any inventory that doesn't sell before week two or three of class will likely sit there until people start buying for the following semester. Along with this, the universities want to ensure that all enrolled students can get the book, so they need to have larger inventories than an independent bookstore with the same customer base. They also usually have a better return policy - to the point that I have seen people buy books there during drop/add and if they stay in the course, they buy from Amazon and return the bookstore's copy (another additional expense and source of excess inventory). Similarly, they need to be large enough for that initial inventory, but have to pay for the space the rest of the semester when the store largely sits idle. Throw in overtime/hiring seasonal help and your costs are substantially higher for a textbook store than for a conventional bookstore. These higher expenses are at least one culprit for the price disparity. Even your textbook vs normal section makes sense here - the book will sit on the shelf longer in the textbook section and so the cost of having it in stock is indeed higher for the same book.

Re:College Textbook Prices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33282270)

Ignorance is bliss. A lot of college professors require books they've written for their classes, but have no idea how much the publishers charge. Actually, they often have no idea how much the books cost even if they didn't write them (since they generally get their copies for free from the publisher). It seems like, more recently, I've encountered more professors who are unhappy about the price of textbooks, and are looking to more alternatives, like putting notes up on the web to replace a book that they only use a relatively small part of.

Re:College Textbook Prices (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#33282506)

That's not true. My mother is an instructor at the local community college and I can assure you that she knows what they cost. For a while she's been having them printed up custom, costs less than $30 a piece costs a bit more if you're having to pay the author rather than using an open textbook, but not that much more.

Re:College Textbook Prices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33282276)

College professors don't set the price of the textbook. Also, most universities have conflict of interest regulations in place, where a professor would have to justify requiring their own textbook rather than another book. (Not that I necessarily believe that this is an effective measure...)

Re:College Textbook Prices (2, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | more than 4 years ago | (#33282342)

It's tricky, because professors often do have a reasonably good justification. I mean, of all the physics textbooks out there, presumably the one the prof wrote himself is the one that covers the material closest to the way he thinks it should be covered. It's also almost certainly the textbook whose contents he's most familiar with, whose exercises he can most reliably answer questions about, etc.

Re:College Textbook Prices (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 4 years ago | (#33282896)

Worth noting that the prof whose own work is good enough to be used as a course textbook, is probably on your faculty for good reasons and has a pretty strong negotiating position by default.

Re:College Textbook Prices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33282278)

Unethical != Unlawful

Re:College Textbook Prices (1)

theheadlessrabbit (1022587) | more than 4 years ago | (#33282292)

A little off topic I guess, but how did college professors get around the ethical challenge of selling their own books to their class as a requirement and charging whatever they felt like for it?

~S

Money trumps ethics every time.

If you would like to see a detailed case study of an experiment into this effect, please look up "America"

I actually had one proff who wrote a 400-page humanities textbook for her class, and sold it as a photocopied reader for $25 (to cover the print and binding costs). That was the only time I know of where ethics were maintained in a situation like that.

Re:College Textbook Prices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33282384)

I had a prof. do that as well, but being in a college town the printers realized what was going on and gouged the price up to $65 for a 400 page laserjet book in a three ring binder.

The course was, approvingly, Media Ethics.

Re:College Textbook Prices (1)

twidarkling (1537077) | more than 4 years ago | (#33282574)

At the University Press I worked at, we helped publish an Advanced level Ukrainian language textbook that simply didn't exist for use before she spent 5 years writing it. Book sells for about $60, and it's an actual hardcover textbook, not a photocopy, and it's built for at least 2 years of advanced-level study. I'd say that also qualifies as maintaining ethics.

Re:College Textbook Prices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33282698)

I think most people don't realize how LONG it takes to write a book (research, proofing, correct grammar, re-proofing, obtaining rights/ licenses, profit negotiations with publisher & contracts, etc), vs. how long it takes to consume/ read a book. The latter only takes 1/10th of the effort, and 1/100th of the time.

Publishing new editions with marginal improvements/ additional contents should be illegal imo. But all my professors I've had said it was ok to get the previous editions if we couldn't find or afford it. /. I dare you to write a book that's troll and grammar-nazi-proof.

Re:College Textbook Prices (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 4 years ago | (#33282890)

If you would like to see a detailed case study of an experiment into this effect, please look up "America"

Or, you know, you could maybe try traveling to America. Only I don't think you're allowed to board a plane while your head is still wedged in your ass.

Re:College Textbook Prices (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 4 years ago | (#33282430)

Actually, my experience with professors in post secondary is that they were very understanding of students' budgets, and were strongly opposed to outrageously priced books. And two professors in particular that I had I remember had apparently fought long and hard with their publisher to keep the price of their books down. Where many comp-sci texts could cost a hundred dollars and up when I was going to post-secondary, the books that were written by either of those professors were under $50, but no less information dense than any of the other course texts I had.

Re:College Textbook Prices (1)

William Stein (259724) | more than 4 years ago | (#33282732)

I am a mathematics professor at the University of Washington in Seattle, and I published a textbook [wstein.org] that I use in a course I teach. According to Washington State law, any royalties I receive as a result of purchases of my textbook by students in the course must be donated to the university (I tracked student purchases and donated a corresponding amount to UW). Second, I got permission from the publisher (Springer-Verlag) to make a free PDF version of the book available.

Re:College Textbook Prices (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 4 years ago | (#33282868)

If I could have taken a course from Donald Knuth or W. Richard Stevens, I would never have bitched about the price or the ethics of the teachers own book.

Re:College Textbook Prices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33282882)

At my university, we're actually not allowed to make a personal profit on books we wrote and require for a course we teach. We can, however, make a profit off of students from any other university buying the book. Keep track of numbers of sales and course enrollment and submit numbers; I can keep the excess profit. There's a provision that profit off of students in my class may be donated to the university, so I've set it up to funnel that money into an account to support our the student club, send students to conferences and give scholarships and what not. I made sure the contract included a line saying the money could not be used to balance the budget, so it really does go to the students. Makes me feel good. I suppose that doesn't change the "charging whatever" part but I try to keep it very reasonable, only a couple dollars net profit per book (so it is very nearly at cost, and thus 1/3 of what other texts would charge). I'm quite aware that being a student is expensive, and I don't want to add to that debt more than I have to.

Illegally Distributing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33282250)

Just a semantic nitpick. These guys are distributing someone else's works not selling them, world of difference.

I can go to a book store and sell tons of books that I didn't write and make money legitimately.

This story is more analogous of making a bunch of reproductions, rebinding them with a phony name and selling them.

Hey, if it saves me $160 I say, what the fuck man (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33282280)

What the fuck man, don't mess with a good thing already !! Damn GREEEEEDY bastard that Stewart guy !! Stuart is all right in my, his, HIS, book.

Author discusses source material in lulu preview (4, Interesting)

djk1024 (1209862) | more than 4 years ago | (#33282372)

On page 12 of the Lulu scan, the author discusses the relation of his book to "Calculus: Early Transcendentals" and explains that he is attempting to provide an alternate which exactly follows the topics and formats of the original so that students can us it as a less-costly substitute. I didn't go beyond that so maybe it's a scan, but the author does address the issue.

Re:Author discusses source material in lulu previe (3, Informative)

Kadaki (31556) | more than 4 years ago | (#33282512)

The preview doesn't seem to let you go further than page 12, so I can't say for sure, but that explanation appears to be a smoke screen to hide the fact that it is in fact a copy of Calculus: Early Transcendentals. The copyright page is definitely taken from the original textbook and the table of contents appears to be as well.

Re:Author discusses source material in lulu previe (1)

twidarkling (1537077) | more than 4 years ago | (#33282596)

Just because he addressed it doesn't actually make it legal though. I hope there's some kind of follow-up on this story saying what, if any, repercussions there are.

This is stupid. (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33282418)

I'm not really outraged by the person who posted the book on Lulu for profit. I'm outraged by the fact that anyone would pay good money for a pirated textbook...especially when you can get it here [thepiratebay.org] . This is unacceptable, people! Learn to Internet!

You have no idea what Lulu does. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33282626)

They print out bound versions to order, the LATEST versions, on demand. They print on both sides of the paper, unlike printing from from pdf to your Walmart printer. They are not Amazon, stockpiling legacy books without the latest updates. Authors submit the latest fixes, and when someone orders, Lulu prints the new fresh versions as needed.

For your needs, stick to scouring garage sales and Goodwill for that $5 ratty book. Or spend all that time printing a sloppily scanned pdf on one side of the page using cheap ink on that will degrade within two years. But when you want the latest up to date version that's bound and printed with good quality, use Lulu.

Cool story bro (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 4 years ago | (#33282638)

In first year i was sitting on a bench at mac studying for a calc exam and this nosy old guy sat beside me and asked what i was studying. After a few minutes of talking about the course/book I noticed he started subtly defending it. Turns out the guy wrote the book and he never mentioned it the whole time.

Sidenote: Its actually a pretty good calc text. Cheaper would be nice. And the many editions seems like a money grab.

had it happen to me (5, Insightful)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 4 years ago | (#33282670)

I've had this happen to me, with a copylefted textbook I wrote. I think the situation was simply that the guy who did it knew the book was freely available as a PDF, but didn't realize it was possible to buy a copy in print, so he just set it up on lulu so he could produce one copy for himself. Can't remember if he was complying with all the terms of the license or not. I contacted him about it, he explained what he was trying to do, and we straightened everything out. I think lulu had by default put him as the author, since the book was made on his account, but he wasn't intentionally trying to claim authorship of my work.

Anyway, this seems like the biggest non-story ever. Lulu is a print-on-demand publishing business. They're one of these online businesses that is able to make a profit because they have no human beings paid to interact with customers on a one-to-one basis. I use them for my books, and I'm fairly happy with them, although there have been a few hassles here and there. When you set up a book to be produced and sold by lulu, you upload a pdf and click through on a form that says you agree to a certain contract. The contract says that you have to be the copyright owner. Sounds like whoever put these scans online clicked through the contract, but is violating it. Nobody at lulu reads your book when you upload it. They're not a full-service publishing house with acquisition editors, copy editors, etc. Whoever posted the slashdot story could have just clicked on the "Report This Content to Lulu" link and told them it was a copyright violation, and presumably lulu would have dealt with the issue. But I guess it's more fun to have the story run on slashdot.

Response from Lulu (5, Informative)

jbcox (1880964) | more than 4 years ago | (#33282754)

Thank you very much for bringing this to our attention. Claiming copyrighted material as your own is a clear violation of our policies and we are pulling down this content from our site right now. If at any time you come across questionable material on our site, please do not hesitate to contact me at jcox@lulu.com.

Re:Response from Lulu (5, Insightful)

BitZtream (692029) | more than 4 years ago | (#33282946)

Sad part is, they didn't bring it to your attention it appears. Good old CmdrTaco and the poster (Albert) thought it'd be more effective to not tell you and sensationalize it a bit here in some sort of attempt to turn this into yet another GPL war.

Bringing it to your attention properly would have simply meant they clicked on the link on your website to report it.

I appreciate you taking the high road here and trying to say thanks, but lets call it what it is, this is a bunk story written for ad clicks by a couple of douche bags trying to get more page views from the angsty slashdot teenagers.

OMFG!!! (3, Funny)

Anita Coney (648748) | more than 4 years ago | (#33282774)

Are you telling me that people can use technology to infringe copyrights?! Why haven't I heard about this before?! How is this even possible?

Editions (4, Insightful)

jklovanc (1603149) | more than 4 years ago | (#33282888)

What irks me most about textbooks is the "editions" scam. Every year or two a "new" edition comes out which makes the "old" edition not usable in the current course. The scam is that there is very little difference between the "new" edition and the "old" edition; just enough to change page numbers and a few examples. The worst part is that there is no need for a new calculus book; how much has first year calculus changed in 12 months?

Re:Editions (1)

Antony T Curtis (89990) | more than 4 years ago | (#33283040)

Must be the schools that you went to.

The schools/universities that I went to used the same books year after year until they go out of print. In one case, the professor decided that there was no current in-print book which was adequate for the course and successfully managed to get the author's permission to distribute photocopies of the out of print book to his class.

I could have sold all my textbooks to the following year's class but for some subjects, I opted to keep them for myself. I wasn't the first owner for all my textbooks either.

Creative commons anyone? (1)

mat128 (735121) | more than 4 years ago | (#33283010)

The book offered on Lulu has the following mention:
Product Details
Copyright Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0

Hmm?

Heh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33283228)

This is the same textbook we use for calculus here at RIT!

With the $185 price tag, I was pretty much forced by default to download the pdf, since I needed that money for food and rent.

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