Brought to book

September 1, 2006

The article "US rage at textbook price hike" (August 11) failed to provide an accurate understanding of the changing nature of today's college textbooks.

Publishers offer thousands of options for textbooks and instructional tools at a wide range of prices. According to Student Monitor , an independent student research service, the average US college student spent $644 (£339) on textbooks in 2005-06, a cost that has remained steady over the past three years.

The market itself determines whether a revised edition of a textbook is necessary. If a new edition were not necessary, professors wouldn't adopt the book. On average, new editions are created every four years to reflect substantial changes in subject material.

The article also mentions the practice of selling international texts at lower prices than those in the US without understanding, or making it clear to readers, that overseas sales, while small, help to hold down the price of textbooks for students in America.

As the cost of higher education continues to escalate, US publishers are helping students get the most out of their tuition dollar by helping them to succeed. Today's college textbooks may be the best long-term investment a student can make.

Stacy M. Scarazzo
Association of American Publishers

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