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From the publishers of U. The National College Newspaper
SAushous creation 19
APRIL 1992 VOL 2
Is it wrong that
more than rent?
TheNortheastern News, Northeastern U.
It's enough to break a student's heart and
wallet. The new edition of the required
$49.95 book you need is sitting on the
bookstore shelves, leaving you with no hope
of finding a cheaper, used copy.
Publishers of college textbooks are trying
to fight a spate of recent complaints that
they are coming out with more frequent
editions not to keep up with changing
information, but to drive the highly
profitable used-book market out of business.
Publishers deny that they are attempting
to raise profits by preventing students from
buying used books. "That's certainly not the
reason," said Melanie Davis, a developmen-
tal editor with Houghton Mifflin. "We try to
keep up with what's current. Instructors
generally want the new information."
Davis said that while she could not put a
number on how often new editions appear,
"I don't see us doing more than in the past.
The cycles havent changed."
But bookstore managers don't agree.
"Over the past 10 years, there's definitely
been a change toward more frequent
editions," said Bill McKenna, book division
manager at the Boston U. bookstore.
Michael Duffy, manager of the bookstore
at Florida State U., said the space between
editions "used to be about every four years,
then it went down. Some come out every
two, two and a half years."
Duffy said some books obviously require
new information - anything to do with the
Middle East or Soviet politics, for instance.
But he said books covering areas such as
19th century history still will change every
three years. "They say you get better
graphics and more color and stuff, but it
doesn't reallyjustify (the cost)."
But publishers also say that professors who
author textbooks have a hand in how fre-
quently new editions are offered. "It's up to
the professor when they choose (to offer new
editions)," said Beth Mullen of Prentice Hall.
Paul Newbold, an economics professor at
the U. of Illinois, said a new edition of his
economic statistics textbook comes out
about every four years and is partially revised
to reflect current economic events. Newbold
said he also changes exercises because
students build up "solution banks."
But students say unnecessary changes
irritate them. "A new edition came out when I
was on my second Spanish course," said Nancy
Carlton, a senior at the U. of Colorado. "Not
only could I not sell the book back, I had to
buy another one, plus a workbook."
When a publisher comes out with a lot of
new editions, its cost of producing and
marketing the books rises and the price of all
textbooks go up. And these high costs leave
students broke and frustrated.
Dean Thompson, president of Association
of Students at the U. of Washington in
Seattle, said he spends about $140 for three
classes, but said other students spend far
more. "When I look at my books and I look
at my $140 price tag, it doesn't add up. I
have maybe five or six thin books."
Getting stingy with student loans... If
you've had trouble paying your phone or
credit card bills in the past, you may soon
find it harder to get a student loan from
the federal government. A provision in the
recession-spurred Emergency Unemploy-
ment Act, which will go into effect Oct. 1,
will require loan recipients age 21 and
older to pass a credit check before
receiving their money. According to
Roger Murphy, spokesman for the U.S.
Department of Education, the bill was
passed because extra funds were needed
to pay the extended benefits. Murphy also
said the government is facing $3.6 billion
in student loan defaults. "The problem is
that some students will not provide
repayment," he said. "It's all a matter of
economics." Selena Dong, legislative
coordinator of the United States Student
Association, a Washington, D.C.-based
student lobbying group, said the
unemployment legislation will be
beneficial but, "It's wrong to attempt to
pay for this on the backs of students." She
added that a provision in the Higher
Education Act Reauthorization Bill,
currently under debate in Congress, may
repeal the regulation before it takes effect.
"The saddest thing is that students are
being cut off through no fault of their
own," Dong said. * Mike Demenchuk, The
Daily Targum, Rutgers U.
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