Letter: A message from a PR practitioner

By and

Editor:

The article (“International textbooks: cheaper alternative?”, Sept. 13) fails to mention the textbook options available within the United States.

Publishers understand students’ concerns about higher education costs and have responded by introducing options at a lower cost, including electronic books, loose-leaf editions, black-and-white editions, abbreviated texts, textbooks by the chapter and customized editions. Customized books, for instance, enable faculty members to compile into a single text only those chapters of one or more textbooks that will be used in their courses, reducing unnecessary purchases and saving students money. Publishers are also on the forefront of incorporating new technologies into educational materials.

New textbook features include online study guides such as interactive tutorials, video lectures, practice quizzes, tutoring and study centers. E-books are also a great opportunity for students to save money and contribute to environmental efforts by eliminating waste.

The process of textbook pricing also needs to be clarified. There are many factors contributing to textbook costs, including paper and ink, transportation, taxes and, most importantly, the cost of paying authors, experts, editors, researchers and designers for their work. After all of these considerations, publishers’ income is only about seven percent. And they receive no money from the sale of used books — bookstores and book wholesalers are the only ones that profit from these sales. Publishers share the common goal of helping students succeed and are committed to working with students, parents and university members to make this goal a reality.

For more information about textbook savings, please visit TextbookFacts.org.

Stacy Skelly Assistant Director for Higher Education Association of American Publishers