Textbook prices

It so happens that on the very same day I came across Andrew Gelman's musing on outrageous textbook prices I received a brand new examination copy of an American Government textbook by FedEx overnight.  There was absolutely no time pressure on my receiving this book and I didn't even ask for one.  Furthermore, I know several other people who also got there overnight 5 pound textbook.  Surely, that's not chearp.  There's all sorts of reasons textbooks are so expensive– I think one of the biggest is that so many faculty pay little attention to cost when assigning books.  I'm not perfect, but given that there are probably at least a dozen truly high American Government textbooks out there, cost is among by highest considerations for that class, which has the most expensive books.  (They always seem to stick it to students with Intro level books).  One of Gelman's commenters actually links to an interesting report on textbook prices.  Anyway, the wasteful spending of publisher's marketing divisions has to surely be up there as reasons for the outrageous prices.    Not that I'll be turning down my free lunch from a publisher tomorrow :-). 


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