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Prices of Latest vs. Previous Editions of Textbooks [OC]

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OC: 1
Original Poster2 points · 6 months ago

Tools: R, ggplot2. Source: Online retailer prices.

The college textbook industry is a scam. Every few years publishers release a new edition of a textbook. This makes the used copies obsolete and allows them extort students of hundreds of dollars for a new textbook. And while most students have a sense that new editions are more expensive, to our knowledge, there isn’t much data available quantifying just how much this industry tactic ends up costing students.

Leveraging the wide availability of online prices, we set about answering this question by collecting prices on the latest and previous editions of 10,000 different sets of textbooks. You can read up on our full methodology and analysis [here] (https://www.nonewtexts.com/blog/posts/textbooks-new-editions). But if you’re a student looking to save by buying an older edition, you might have second thoughts. Even while new editions rarely have substantive changes, sections and problems may be re-arranged making it difficult to follow along with your course. And publishers know this.

Here, at NoNewTexts, we’re using data to call out the textbook industry on their greed. Developing OCR and text analysis algorithms, we've systematically reviewed hundreds of textbooks to meticulously document changes between different editions. We’ve analyzed tens of thousands of pages and matched hundreds of thousands of problems to help you find the right edition for your course. Consider buying older editions of textbooks to find new savings. We’re here to help.

As a business school instructor, I applaud anyone who helps students avoid the clutches of predatory textbook publishers. I've seen 'new' editions that were word-for-word identical to previous editions -only the graphics and pictures were changed.

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