I’ve been purchasing my casebooks for next semester and all I can say is the educational model for higher education is absurdly skewered in the wrong direction. I went to purchase my “new” Trusts and Estates casebook. The newest edition came out this past summer and of course that’s the one that’s being assigned. It’s less than 30 pages different than the previous one and at over 1,000 pages that’s far from even remotely substantial.
Instead publishers are simply jumping on the bandwagon of saddling students with more debt. The say federally insured student loans are the next bubble to burst and I’m believing it’s true. Universities and publishers just keep upping costs for no valid reason other than the fact that students can borrow “the full cost of attendance”. So why not charge whatever you can for courses and books. The students will front the money through loans that are two-to-three times higher than the going mortgage rate.
Wait! The poor publishers are being squeezed out. There’s too much piracy of books and publishers are closing shop left and right. Sure, it’s true. Jacking up prices on student casebooks isn’t the answer though. Instead why don’t publishers try to decrease their costs by digitally distributing their products? The overhead cost to produce a book will nearly vanish and they can offer their books at competitive pricing to nudge out other publishers. Think it can’t work for the academic world? Yeah, I remember hearing something about that with traditional novels too. Ever heard of Amazon and Kindle?
It’s adapt or die. So far it seems like the legal profession in general would rather follow its precedent than overrule some long held traditions.