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$200 For a Bound Textbook That You Can't Keep?

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the because-textbook-buyers-have-had-it-too-good-for-too-long dept.

DRM 252

netbuzz writes: "The worst of DRM is set to infest law school casebooks. One publisher, AspenLaw, wants students to pay $200 for a bound casebook, but at the end of class they have to give it back. Aspen is touting this arrangement as a great deal because the buyer will get an electronic version and assorted online goodies once they return the actual book. But they must return the book. Law professors and the Electronic Frontier Foundation are calling it nothing but a cynical attempt to undermine used book sales, as well as the first sale doctrine that protects used bookstores and libraries."

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Because they can. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46944019)

They aren't in it to make the world a better place. They are in it for the money. And so it is perfectly logical for them to take as much as they can get.

Vote with your wallet.

Re:Because they can. (5, Insightful)

epyT-R (613989) | about 5 months ago | (#46944031)

yes, except most universities will go along with it and force would be students to buy the books under those conditions or not go into law. This requires more than just voting with wallets.

Re:Because they can. (3, Informative)

GodInHell (258915) | about 5 months ago | (#46944225)

The law school I am familiar with leaves the choice of text up to the prof. Some of them will avoid these textbooks because of the ethical challenges, some won't. Of course, my school also ran its own bookstore and probably made quite a lot of profit off reselling used books, so there's that too. On the other hand $200.00 is not very much for a law school text.

Re:Because they can. (2)

fractoid (1076465) | about 5 months ago | (#46944987)

What are the conflict-of-interest rules for the prof? I'd imagine that the textbook company will be applying any and every legal incentive for the prof to make their book mandatory.

Re:Because they can. (1)

hubie (108345) | about 5 months ago | (#46945171)

I don't know how it is in law school, but professors get a free copy of the textbook(s) ("professor's or teacher's edition"), and perhaps support material. They get unsolicited texts mailed to them in hope that they'll be used in their course. Some don't give it a second thought and go with the path of least resistance. I did have a few who (younger, and closer to remembering their student days) purposely didn't use the latest edition, or didn't use one at all and pulled bits and pieces out of a number of books that were put on reserve in the library.

Re: Because they can. (1)

Bob Gelumph (715872) | about 5 months ago | (#46944325)

Pfft. I've done a law degree and I rarely bought the books. When I did, I almost never read them. Still did pretty well. View with your mouse instead of your wallet, because everything's online these days.

Re: Because they can. (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 5 months ago | (#46944359)

Or just as IBM Watson.

Re: Because they can. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46944579)

Where you'd get your law degree? At my law school (in the United States), if you didn't read the day's texts you got shouted out of the classroom when you tried to wing an answer to a question. And because the ABA requires you to attend 80% of all class hours, you could easily get forced out of law school that way.

I saw one kid get yelled at because he wrote his case outline in the book, which was not an acceptable form of note taking for 1st year students. He was told not to come back to class unless he had prepared a proper outline.

Re: Because they can. (3, Funny)

Bob Gelumph (715872) | about 5 months ago | (#46944605)

A top Australian university.

Re: Because they can. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46944879)

Maj. Eaton: We have top men working on it now.
Indiana: Who?
Maj. Eaton: Top... men.

Re: Because they can. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46945263)

Pfft. I've done a law degree and I rarely bought the books. When I did, I almost never read them. Still did pretty well.
View with your mouse instead of your wallet, because everything's online these days.

So not only did you care about passing more than learning, you used unethical practices to get a degree in law. Disgusting. People like you are the reason why society is so screwed up and why lawyers will be the first to go in any social upheaval.

Re:Because they can. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46944403)

Oh no. Students spending tens of thousands of dollars per year on law school will have to spend a few hundred per year on books, and in return, will receive access to a perpetually updated, searchable service for all the books that they bought.

How will these poor first world problem having children ever afford an attractive wood-paneled law office full of musty law books that they'll never read, never refer to, and never look at again?!

Won't somebody think of the children?!!

Re:Because they can. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46944425)

Either you are going to a different school, or you are funding a lobby that applies pressure to the government to pass laws to change this.

Either way you are voting with your wallet.

(Yes, you can write your politicians, protest, and/or actually vote for politicians that promise to fix this...but you will find that other complicating factors prevent this from being effective if it is your only means of political activism. Funding a lobby is what actually works).

Re:Because they can. (1)

Xicor (2738029) | about 5 months ago | (#46944945)

and most universities dont stop you from torrenting your books either.

Re:Because they can. (5, Interesting)

roc97007 (608802) | about 5 months ago | (#46945061)

yes, except most universities will go along with it and force would be students to buy the books under those conditions or not go into law. This requires more than just voting with wallets.

Photocopier. And yes it may be technically illegal. But sometimes a little civil disobedience is necessary. In fact, as a law student, you could make that your thesis.

Unbind the book, it saves time. Then re-bind the book or just hand back a stack of loose-leaf -- your choice.

Re:Because they can. (1)

tysonedwards (969693) | about 5 months ago | (#46944049)

Well, on the other hand it's not like the law is like an Android Development Textbook where the contents of said textbook will actually have any relevance next year...

Re:Because they can. (3, Funny)

RDW (41497) | about 5 months ago | (#46944081)

They aren't in it to make the world a better place. They are in it for the money. And so it is perfectly logical for them to take as much as they can get.

The publishers, or the students aiming to become lawyers..?

Re:Because they can. (4, Funny)

sexconker (1179573) | about 5 months ago | (#46944519)

They aren't in it to make the world a better place. They are in it for the money. And so it is perfectly logical for them to take as much as they can get.

The publishers, or the students aiming to become lawyers..?

Yes.

Re:Because they can. (2)

SpankiMonki (3493987) | about 5 months ago | (#46944279)

Vote with your wallet.

Seems like my wallet doesn't cast the vote it once did - and I own a mansion and a yacht.

Re:Because they can. (2)

retchdog (1319261) | about 5 months ago | (#46944295)

and I own a mansion and a yacht.

Huh. Maybe things are improving.

Re:Because they can. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46944631)

Shesh. Kids these days, missing the obvious Bugs Bunny reference.

only $200 for a law school book? (1)

alen (225700) | about 5 months ago | (#46944029)

Is this like a fatwallet hot deal ymmv?

One can only hope... (5, Interesting)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 5 months ago | (#46944073)

That this will create a generation of lawyers and judges who have a fundamental hatred of DRM.

Re:One can only hope... (1)

Jawnn (445279) | about 5 months ago | (#46944327)

That this will create a generation of lawyers and judges who have a fundamental hatred of DRM.

This assumes that lawyers (and the judges some of them often become) will be driven by something other than money. Sucker bet, that one.

Re:One can only hope... (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 5 months ago | (#46944623)

That this will create a generation of lawyers and judges who have a fundamental hatred of DRM.

This assumes that lawyers (and the judges some of them often become) will be driven by something other than money. Sucker bet, that one.

In the U.S., my impression is that few judges are driven by money. I hope I'm right.

Re:One can only hope... (1)

dltaylor (7510) | about 5 months ago | (#46944681)

In many places judges must run for election, re-election, or, at least, confirmation (California Supreme Court, for example).

Campaigns cost money.

It is a bit of a tossup whether the law enforcement endorsements (any criminal court judge that has, or seeks, one is, IMO, already in a conflict of interest situation) or their money is more important, though.

Re:One can only hope... (1)

newcastlejon (1483695) | about 5 months ago | (#46944971)

In the U.S., my impression is that few judges are driven by money. I hope I'm right.

I wonder, are there many poor judges?

Re:One can only hope... (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 5 months ago | (#46944655)

Doesn't work. Most people against marijuana have tried it with no ill effects. Exposure doesn't affect future opinions. Irrational, but true.

Re:One can only hope... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46945209)

No, this will create a generation of lawyers and judges who think "we had to go through it, why shouldn't everyone else?"

Search for the following phrases on Google:
    smacked "didn't do me any harm"
    smacked "nobody should have to go through that"

See which one gives you more hits.

Doubleplusgood! (5, Funny)

uCallHimDrJ0NES (2546640) | about 5 months ago | (#46944075)

How will we change the past if we let these kids keep paper books, eh, comrades?

Re:Doubleplusgood! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46944581)

If you think the problem is communism you're too stupid to have a Slashdot account. Change your passwords to a random combination of characters and go to Whale Oil.

Re:Doubleplusgood! (2)

Rhymoid (3568547) | about 5 months ago | (#46944739)

It might just be an attempt to joke about Ingsoc, you illiterate clod!

Re:Doubleplusgood! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46944697)

So evil is Canadian?

Somehow fitting... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46944083)

Future lawyers, enforcers for the parasitic ruling class, getting screwed by egregious rent seeking.

Re:Somehow fitting... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46944095)

Someone doesn't really get how law works.

Re:Somehow fitting... (1)

StillAnonymous (595680) | about 5 months ago | (#46944861)

Most people don't get how law works. It's designed that way, so that lawyers have jobs, and anyone can be considered a "perp" when it's convenient.

Re:Somehow fitting... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46944195)

Hmm -- yes, that is not a bad description of law school.

I would be laughing... (5, Insightful)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 5 months ago | (#46944087)

I would be laughing at law students and law teachers and lawyers in general, if I didn't know they'd "recoup" that money by screwing me later.

Re:I would be laughing... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46944577)

K. S. Kyosuke ya bigmouth: Yer bein called out (why ya runnin "forrest"?) http://slashdot.org/comments.p... [slashdot.org]

The textbook industry... (3, Informative)

ActionDesignStudios (877390) | about 5 months ago | (#46944091)

I've been looking into going back to school and have gotten a more in-depth look at the academic textbook market and I can conclude it is all a big racket. The price of textbooks is already outrageous as it is -- I don't doubt that they would love to DRM all of them and have students give them back afterwards. Even after looking into the used textbook market, I couldn't find a way to save very much and the price they'll give you for a used but still in very good condition book is almost insulting. You would think we would want to make education more accessible and affordable for everyone, but between textbooks, student loans and other like scams it is a sad state of affairs.

Re:The textbook industry... (4, Interesting)

tylikcat (1578365) | about 5 months ago | (#46944335)

I keep having conversations with my students where I explain why they shouldn't pirate books, or at least should make sure that the authors are getting paid (for instance, buying a legal copy then pirating / cracking it if it has DRM to get a useful one.) ...and yet I have a lot of trouble trying to work up enthusiasm for telling them not to pirate textbooks.* Particularly problematic, as I've shown a few how to torrent. (Heck, I've shown faculty members how to torrent.)

* As opposed to professional reference books.

Re:The textbook industry... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46944439)

I will never support DRM. Buying a book that has DRM is supporting DRM, which is intolerable. I just won't read the book if if the author or the publishers support DRM.

Re:The textbook industry... (3, Interesting)

tylikcat (1578365) | about 5 months ago | (#46944501)

This was my stance for a while, though my workaround was to buy hardcopies of the book and then pirate a softcopy (mostly for reference books which I didn't want to haul around). And then I decided I didn't want to devote the space or weight to the hardcopies.

It's not ideal, but there are too many authors whose work I really like some of whose work is under DRM. (And it's all fine to rant at the authors, but until they're really quite popular they aren't really empowered to fight this on their own.) So I am very loud about preferring non-DRM'd books, and will buy them preferentially. And I do not share non-DRM'd book I have legally purchased... and seed torrents of those I pirated. It sucks, but it's the best compromise in my specs.

Re:The textbook industry... (1)

FireFury03 (653718) | about 5 months ago | (#46944575)

I keep having conversations with my students where I explain why they shouldn't pirate books, or at least should make sure that the authors are getting paid (for instance, buying a legal copy then pirating / cracking it if it has DRM to get a useful one.) ...and yet I have a lot of trouble trying to work up enthusiasm for telling them not to pirate textbooks.* Particularly problematic, as I've shown a few how to torrent. (Heck, I've shown faculty members how to torrent.)

* As opposed to professional reference books.

I'm not a big fan of copyright infringement, but I do wonder why you would pay good money for something you're going to have to break the law to use rather than just breaking the law to use it without paying first...

Re:The textbook industry... (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 5 months ago | (#46944675)

Ethics. He ants the author t get something.
I only assume he has never stepped foot into a library.

Re:The textbook industry... (1)

tylikcat (1578365) | about 5 months ago | (#46944687)

Last I head, the applicability of laws relating to whether transfer of medium for personal use had not been tested for ebooks. (Not, I'll admit, that I'd hold my breath for a good outcome in the current climate regarding such things.)

The problem of course is that I do seed torrents.

What if you want to keep it? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46944093)

I keep all my old textbooks. It's where I originally learned the material and I can dip in now and again to refresh my memory if need be.

Re:What if you want to keep it? (2)

kyrsjo (2420192) | about 5 months ago | (#46944719)

Easy: You say you lost it. Or just don't say anything at all. I totally agree on the keeping of textbooks, as some "electronic companion" is probably quite useless compared to the book you know where to find things and have marked up.

I think this is mainly aimed at book stores reselling professionally - they might be legally prevented from reselling this book. However, I can't see it preventing student A giving the book to student B in exchange for money. That's usually what happened at my uni anyway - I can't remember there being any "used book" section in the university book store.

Re:What if you want to keep it? (1)

StillAnonymous (595680) | about 5 months ago | (#46944875)

They'll probably set it up like a video rental. If you don't return it, you get a bill for some outrageous amount in the mail.

Re:What if you want to keep it? (1)

The FNP (1177715) | about 5 months ago | (#46944825)

They say that you can mark it, highlight it, etc. But unless someone is going to put bookmarks, post-its, and highlighting in the electronic text in EXACTLY the same spots as you, the electronic version is not as good of a reference item as the text that you used to learn the material in the manner that works best for you.

--The FNP

Interesting you say that (3, Interesting)

Mr_Silver (213637) | about 5 months ago | (#46944109)

Whilst it might not be for everyone, here I am sitting at my PC looking at my Computer Science books (purchased between 1995 and 1998) and I don't think I've opened any of them in the past 10 years (looking at you "Unix System Programming" by Haviland and Salama, reprinted in 1994).

If I get a DRM free digital version after the course has ended and the pricing is right, then this might actually be more useful than a pile of dead wood taking up space on my bookshelf - most of which is probably long out of date.

Re:Interesting you say that (1)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | about 5 months ago | (#46944323)

They are forcing the students to return the books, and you think the electronic version is going to be DRM-free? Ha!

Re:Interesting you say that (2)

vux984 (928602) | about 5 months ago | (#46944361)

Whilst it might not be for everyone, here I am sitting at my PC looking at my Computer Science books (purchased between 1995 and 1998)

I've referred to my calculus text several times over the years, along with my discrete and combinatorial mathematics stuff.

For CS specifically, I've got a big white Algorithms and data structures book, "A book on C", a couple on relational databases and relational calculus, and a book on design patterns, and a book on complexity theory I've referred to.

Sure I recently sent my "Event driven programming in Windows 95" and a book I had on Red Hat Linux (think it was for v3?) to the recyler but the majority of my actual text books I still consider valuable, especially the theoretical stuff.

University is just a market anyhow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46944115)

Any pretense to "education" is laughable. Universities' #1 job is to suck money out of people's pockets by creating artificial demand for graduates.

Re:University is just a market anyhow (4, Insightful)

bobbied (2522392) | about 5 months ago | (#46944473)

I disagree that it is ALL of them trying to suck you dry. There are some out there who are interested in providing education over just taking your money. They might be hard to find, but they are out there.

But, let's face it. With all the easily available student loans out there that are federally backed, sucking money out of students is a profitable business. The very program that makes federal loans so readily available has artificially increased the price to the point where a 4 year degree can cost a $100K. My tuition was under 5K a year some 20 plus years ago. My whole education cost under $20K for a 4 year degree. Now we are paying $25K a year, 5 times the price? Something is wrong here.

Re:University is just a market anyhow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46944589)

Our entire social model is wrong. We're privatizing profit into the hands of the few and socializing the risk to the many. Same thing in real estate. It's a gigantic scam and I can't wait for it to collapse.

Re:University is just a market anyhow (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 5 months ago | (#46944685)

That's why I am a fan of this idea:
http://business.time.com/2013/... [time.com]

Please don't turn this into some giant ad hom against Warren, stick with the idea.

Re:University is just a market anyhow (2)

kyrsjo (2420192) | about 5 months ago | (#46944791)

Ouch!

I paid ~200$/year for a obligatory membership of the student's union, plus rent at a student's village (1000$/month for the apartment I shared with my GF, which was almost 1/2 price of market price for an apartment in Oslo, especially given that it was in a quite nice area relatively close to the university.).

To pay my bills, I got a loan from the Norwegian State Educational Loan Fund. This is a low-interest loan (zero interest until you graduate), where ~half of the loan for the semester is turned into a grant when you pass your exams.

Did your tuition include housing? If so, the cost may be similar in the end - if you do everything on schedule, you would end up with ~40K in loans after 4 years. But then the price levels and probably the expected salary are quite different here.

This is what you get with guaranteed student loans (2)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 5 months ago | (#46944121)

If the schools / banks where on the hook for default then they will push back on stuff like this.

maybe not the schools / teachers as some get so much per book and they put out a new edition each year or more often all the time.

and it's not just law school.

You'd think that a law publisher would (1)

jcochran (309950) | about 5 months ago | (#46944141)

have bothered to research the law.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B... [wikipedia.org]

Some other publisher attempted to impose a license upon the books they sold and were slapped down over a century ago.

Re:You'd think that a law publisher would (2)

l2718 (514756) | about 5 months ago | (#46944229)

But they don't have to sell the books. They can just lend them for a fee, and that would be perfectly legal.

Re:You'd think that a law publisher would (1)

TrancePhreak (576593) | about 5 months ago | (#46944241)

You'd think that a law publisher would have bothered to research the law.

Not if it's a Slashdot law book! ;)

Re:You'd think that a law publisher would (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 5 months ago | (#46944363)

Some other publisher attempted to impose a license upon the books they sold and were slapped down over a century ago.

If you read the citation you provided, you'd find this information therein:

Bobbs-Merrill Company sold a copyrighted novel, The Castaway by Hallie Erminie Rives, with the notice, "The price of this book at retail is $1 net. No dealer is licensed ..." printed immediately below the copyright notice.

I.e., a shrink-wrap license.

The court did not hold that a contract or license imposed on the first sale could not create an obligation. In this case, there was no contract between the owner and the original purchaser, and there was not privity of contract between the owner and any third party.

In other words, simply printing the licensing limitations on a page in the book did not create a contract, BUT the court did not rule that there COULD NOT be a licensing agreement that does limit resale or further distribution.

You can bet that a law book publisher implementing this kind of system will not rely on a "shrink wrap license" arrangement.

This has little to do with copyright law (5, Insightful)

l2718 (514756) | about 5 months ago | (#46944153)

A manufacturer is attempting to circumvent the secondary market by only lending its products instead of selling them. This isn't an end run around the "first sale" principle exactly because the publisher doesn't plan to sell the books in the first place.

What they are trying to do should be legal -- but hopefully it won't work because professors will refuse to assign this textbooks.

Re:This has little to do with copyright law (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46944455)

Should be legal, as long as there are other options to choose from.
If not, then the price should be regulated to say 1/10th of what they ask currently.

Re:This has little to do with copyright law (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 5 months ago | (#46944499)

it won't work because professors will refuse to assign this textbooks.

Oh it will work, who do you think WRITES the books? Yea, you guessed it, the professors write the books....

I have a number of college books on my book shelf that where written by the professor who taught the course, or by his boss. I even had one professor who made a big deal out of the fact that he wrote the book and that you needed to keep it forever. I bought a used copy and sold it as soon as I could...

Re:This has little to do with copyright law (5, Informative)

l2718 (514756) | about 5 months ago | (#46944983)

I'm a professor, actually. In two words, you're wrong . If the book is only used in the class of the professor who taught it, the book will go out of print in a jiffy, and in any case the total harm to a single class of students is negligible. For a book to actually stay in print, many professors in many universities must use it. In this case very few will, and the problem will solve itself.

Re:This has little to do with copyright law (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46944517)

Usually with a rental there's a discount in pricing. This is essentially a rental, but at the going rate for purchases. Best of both worlds for the publisher.

Re:This has little to do with copyright law (3, Insightful)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about 5 months ago | (#46944665)

This isn't an end run around the "first sale" principle exactly because the publisher doesn't plan to sell the books in the first place.

That sounds like an end run to me. When something looks like a sale, feels like a sale, and smells like a sale, it should behave like a sale, including all of the rights and privileges associated with ownership. And at those prices, this sure as hell looks like a purchase to me, rather than a rental. Unfortunately, we live in a world where the very idea of ownership is being undermined by EULAs, licenses that can be rescinded at any time, and moves like what AspenLaw is doing here. How long until the first sale doctrine stops applying to any form of media at all, regardless of whether it's digital or physical?

Re:This has little to do with copyright law (3, Interesting)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 5 months ago | (#46945153)

I go to a car dealer and hand him a small bucket of money. He hands me the keys to a car. I pay a certain sum every month. After a couple of years I get to keep the car.

But wait! There was a contract that said I was only leasing the car. I have to give it back. Other than that piece of paper, the transaction looked like a sale, felt like a sale and smelled like a sale. That would make it a sale, right? I don't think the courts would agree.

I pay a fellow a "down payment" for the keys to an apartment. I pay him a certain amount every month. After 20 years I own the apartment outright, yes? (That's longer than many mortgages.) Looked like a sale, smelled etc... but I signed a paper that says it was only a rental.

I go to a mall. I hand money to a fellow behind a counter and he hands me a pair of shoes. That smells like etc. I go to a bowling alley, hand some money to the guy behind the counter and he hands me a pair of shoes. But that's not a sale?

Unfortunately, we live in a world where the very idea of ownership is being undermined by EULAs, licenses that can be rescinded at any time, and moves like what AspenLaw is doing here.

They're being quite up-front in their terms. It's not a surprise at the end of the term to find out the book has to be returned. Do car leases, apartment or house rentals, or the existence of lending libraries also undermine the concept of ownership, or are they simply alternatives to outright ownership?

Refresh their web page in a FOR LOOP (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46944161)

watch -n1 wget http://www.aspenlaw.com/

Leave it running on all the computers on various networks you can SSH in to.

If you want, add a random GET variable to the end to prevent caching.

Make them pay a little more this month for their bandwidth. I'm not even a law student but this is crazy.

Re:Refresh their web page in a FOR LOOP (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46944767)

Two wrongs don't make a right.

They'll make it back fast (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46944187)

They'll make it back in their first hour on the job. Or maybe the first half hour on the job.

A consideration for professors (3, Interesting)

l2718 (514756) | about 5 months ago | (#46944193)

As a university faculty member I consider the cost of textbooks whenever I choose one for a course. I try to never require students to buy the book (I'm not always in charge of the course I teach, so I can't always do this), and I prefer books that are available on SpringerLink [springer.com] (whole-book DRM-free PDFs are available to all our students since our university subscribes). I doubt many faculty members will actually assign this textbook.

Re:A consideration for professors (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46945155)

... I doubt many faculty members will actually assign this textbook.

How about if they were offered a 10% cut, or free trips to attend a "lecture" in Hawaii? Reminds me of how the pharmaceutical has turned docs into drug pushers.

What happens if... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46944203)

The student doesn't give it back? Sells it via an alternate market? Exactly how are they going to enforce this? Even in the original article, this is obviously unclear. I suppose they would try some DCMA attack on any site found to be selling the book. Would a EULA inside a book be enforceable?

Re:What happens if... (4, Funny)

bobbied (2522392) | about 5 months ago | (#46944523)

Oh that is easy. You charge them a deposit, refundable upon return of the book.

Oh wait, this is a law school... You just sue them to get it back...

Re:What happens if... (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 5 months ago | (#46944937)

like the cable box that will be $699 a book.

Barbara Streissand (2)

ickleberry (864871) | about 5 months ago | (#46944249)

Expect scanned and even perfectly good text copies of this book to be on all good torrent sites around the time it's supposed to be released

Re:Barbara Streissand (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46944787)

Shit, I'll help type it in if someone will get me access to a copy.

Re:Barbara Streissand (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46945009)

But-but-but!!! Aaron Swartz is *dead*!!!!

took a page outta MPAA/RIAA playbook (1)

arbiter1 (1204146) | about 5 months ago | (#46944253)

Well they took page outta their book with these DRM.

sounds like the cable companies (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 5 months ago | (#46944261)

Where they force you to rent the box at price over 1-2 years that can add up to it's real bulk price.

Also if you have lost, not returned, burned up in a fire they want the full price of a new box.

and you can't buy the box or use one that was not returned and one that someone even payed the full price for.

Re:sounds like the cable companies (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 5 months ago | (#46944541)

Not true. By law they MUST allow you to use your own tuner and can only charge you a small monthly fee for the CABLE CARD you need to decode their encrypted signals. Silicon Dust sells such tuners, as does a number of "cable card ready" TV makers. You can even get DVR devices to do this too.

Don't rent from the cable company... Shesh.. But I guess folks cannot afford to buy $500 worth of equipment all at once just to watch cable, so they pay though the nose by the month and never own anything..

Re:sounds like the cable companies (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46944663)

Uh...just try getting a working cablecard setup. None of them even support HD and the vast makority of cable companies have no interest in getting it working either.

Re:sounds like the cable companies (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 5 months ago | (#46944673)

still have to rent the cable card and some systems even or used make you pay for the tuning adapter for SDV systems.

and that cable card rent can add up.

I think that Service Electric was one of the few system that let you / still does let you BUY IT FOR about $125. Others make you pay $3-$5+ mo to rent it.

http://www.sectv.com/aspEquipC... [sectv.com]

Purchase CableCARD for a one-time fee of $125.00 and receive a one-year warranty on the CableCARD from the manufacture so you never have to worry about rental fees again!

Professors will find a way to make $$$ on this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46944319)

I had a professor who required his class to purchase his textbook which was nothing but a book of blank pages that had his name on it. He required every assignment to be turned in on HIS books blank paper.

Crooked is Crooked. Till professors get it out of their head that they cant pull this kind of crap, publishers will have no problem finding professors who will push it onto their students.

Re:Professors will find a way to make $$$ on this (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 5 months ago | (#46944563)

I see a trip to the custom stationary store to fix that one, assuming a photo copier wouldn't work...Assuming you could find similar paper....

Photocopy! (1)

helbent (1244274) | about 5 months ago | (#46944421)

Years back, when in yee olde academy, I used to run into costs surpassing $500 per semester for books. I think they're north of $1,000 for a full semester now.

Sooooo, I used to get all my books bought and would immediately head up up to the local copy shop and then spend around $120+ or so and get double-sided copies of all my books on 11" x 17" paper. Then I'd return the books for full refund and then pocket the difference, a savings of up to 70% or more off the cover price. The process would take a few hours but for a poor college student who was literally going without food here and there, it was worth it. It was moderately inconvenient to have to lug around bags filled with of stacks of photocopies but I managed.

Nowadays, this is all obsolete. The copiers are now digital and making digital PDF scans of the books (or copies) is certainly within the realm of reality.

http://www.diybookscanner.org/ [diybookscanner.org]

These charming folks here have a scan fixture for $500 (you supply the cameras and light and computer and GPL software, however). I used to hear of frat houses on campus pooling cash to buy one or just a few books which would be passed around to all the members who are taking the same class.

I wonder how long it will take before some enterprising folks to start to pool their cash and buy (or build) one of these fixtures to get around artificially-created barriers such as we see here?

Unread.... (1)

dohzer (867770) | about 5 months ago | (#46944477)

If I only possessed my textbooks while studying at university, I would never have had the chance to read any of them.
University projects and laboratory work consumed any time I had for reading books, and the lecture notes sufficed.
Where the textbooks *have* come in handy is for revising topics years after graduating.

No problem here. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46944559)

Maybe this will cut down on the number of lawyers in the future. There are too many as it is right now.

Must be a racket. (1)

pspahn (1175617) | about 5 months ago | (#46944565)

When I was a computer savvy high school student back in 1994, I was fed up with having to lug 60 pounds of books to and from school every day (we had lockers, but weren't allowed to use them). It seemed like a really trivial concept to provide PDF documents of the books to those students who opted in. Hand me a CD at the beginning of the term and be done with it.

Here we are, some 20 years later, and the idea has still never been done in a reasonable way. The only logical conclusion is that educators are simply not interested in educating, their only interest is to sell the things students are obligated to purchase.

Re:Must be a racket. (1)

eulernet (1132389) | about 5 months ago | (#46945027)

Using technology is not a good idea, because it's fragile.

Students are not careful with their material, so paper books are much more robust than LCD screens.

Universities have to enable this (1)

Beeftopia (1846720) | about 5 months ago | (#46944633)

It's the universities and teachers who choose what books the students must use. They could:

1) Boycott this publisher.
2) Act indifferently.
3) Enthusiastically join with this publisher.

Follow the money. I'm guessing it will be 2) or 3) above, depending on the deal the publisher strikes with the university.

Nothing new (2)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | about 5 months ago | (#46944735)

My grad school forbade reselling case books, arguing that they were licensed not sold. If you put up a for sale sign on a campus bulletin board it got taken done. So we simply had an underground market as well as simply shared the books. Interestingly enough, while researching an article on the doctrine of first sale I learned it is not as black and white as some would think it is; with lots of variations state to state as well as defining what constitutes a sale.

extra douchey (1)

speedlaw (878924) | about 5 months ago | (#46944743)

Law School is a huge profit center, as lawyers sit with books. No labs, no electronics, just old school learning of a set course load. Get used to it, with the WEST publishing monopoly law books are stooopidly overpriced.

I'm sorry but.... (1)

CTU (1844100) | about 5 months ago | (#46944775)

The book had to have been lost in the mail, I know I sent it back out.

Well $200 for a book you can't keep, need to mail back (even if you get a digital version tho they can always revoke your rights to that as well) or I could torrent the book and save myself the headache and deny them the money...Screw it think I'll torrent that book even if I don't got the class I wanna do it just to spite them

Vitalbooks (1)

MrBrklyn (4775) | about 5 months ago | (#46945185)

This started a long time ago with VitalBooks at NYU Dental School

How about... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46945259)

Selling the Digital Version standalone ?

Tip for law students: don't buy them! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46945273)

In 2005 I graduated in the top 10 of my law school class. I can confidently say there is very little need for students to buy "case books" nowadays.

First of all, casebooks are merely collections of cases (in the public domain) the author deems relevant to the subject matter. 99% of the cases inside can be found on Google Scholar or elsewhere on the Internet. Most law students are given free access to Westlaw or Lexis-Nexis as well. All you need is the list of cases in the casebook...you can find the cases for free.

Further, most of the time is better spent reading free or commercial summaries of the cases, rather than the cases themselves, but that is for each student to decide themselves.

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