Business Law and the Legal Environment of Business, Third Edition

 

There are a variety of reasons why college textbooks have been priced out of the reach of too many students. In 2009 I published a scholarly article on the reasons for the high cost of textbooks and the efforts at the time at the federal and state levels to address the issue through legislation (See  “Legislating Relief for the High Cost of College Textbooks: a Brief Analysis of the Current Law and its   implication for Students, Faculty and the Publishing Industry” Journal of Legal Studies in Business, Vol. 15   (2009). Alas, little has changed since then and students still struggle with textbooks that in my discipline (law/business law/legal studies) often cost above $200.

Finding low-cost options with current content that are published pursuant to a rigorous peer-review process is a very difficult task. That leaves some faculty with the unsatisfactory choice of not adopting a textbook for their students and putting together their own materials largely culled from public-domain sources or actively finding available but hard to find quality, affordable textbooks from smaller traditional publishers who don’t have the resources to aggressively market their books and often rely upon word-of-mouth referrals from satisfied adopters.

There are no easy answers to the problem. I’ve made some suggestions in my above-referenced article that would require the support of both universities and government working together to make textbook authorship more rewarding both financially and professionally, helping to ensure a healthy crop of new textbook authors willing to devote the several years it takes to research, write, edit and produce a new textbook. At present, the rewards of authorship are largely intangible and most textbook authors who know the realities of the industry undertake the under-appreciated task for relatively little tangible reward. For professors in professional fields such as law and medicine, writing textbooks is particularly unrewarding. For example, the hundreds of hours in research, writing and revision of a textbook with a useful life of three years on average will often yield an effective financial gain of little more than minimum wage. In my case, I can practice law on a part time basis and earn a much higher return with ten billable hours at the average hourly rate in my area ($500 plus) than I will make in a year of textbook royalties. From a purely financial standpoint, writing textbooks (and teaching for that matter) are a fool’s errand. My colleagues and I do it because of the intangible rewards that more than make up for the financial sacrifice.

And yet quality, up-to-date textbooks at an affordable price do exist. We simply have to aggressively search for them. And the “we” is not just my academic colleagues–it should include students a well. Search for good, low-cost alternatives and make your professors aware of these. The $200 cookie-cutter textbook from the few remaining largest publishers is not the only available option. If my publisher can make the brand new edition (2017 copyright) of my Business Law and the Legal Environment of Business 3/e available for less than $35 (alongside similarly-priced textbooks in most major business disciplines), it can clearly be done. Letting the world know about it at a limited cost that allows such pricing to be maintained is the real challenge, and the conundrum difficult to solve without the help of like-minded folks committed to the goal of high-quality, vetted, low-cost textbooks that students can actually afford.

For a listing of my publisher’s current titles, you can visit Textbook Media Press here: http://www.textbookmedia.com/Products/BookList.aspx.

For more information about my textbook including chapter previews and complete pricing options, you can visit my textbook’s page here: http://www.textbookmedia.com/pr/Business-Law-and-The-Legal-Environment-of-Business/4396/9780996996228

And please, won’t you help us spread the word? Thanks!