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Monday, July 21, 2008

Fight the Future

posted by on July 21 at 10:48 AM

People are trying to stop the inevitable future of the book business on two wildly different fronts this week.

The textbook bootlegging site Textbook Torrents is now offline, probably because a reporter contacted textbook publishers to ask them what they thought of the Textbook Torrents site. The comments thread over here seems very much in favor of textbook piracy:

The textbook industry has treated its student-customers with little respect over the years, with market strategies designed to maximize profits at the expense of students. They sowed the fields, now let them reap their rewards.

And then, in Los Angeles, previous editors of the Los Angeles Times Book Review (including Steve Wasserman, who is my Book Review Editing Hero) are protesting the decision to cut the Book Review and fold it into a few pages in the calendar section. The open letter is here. Excerpt:

Angelenos in growing number are already choosing to cancel their subscriptions to the Sunday Times. The elimination of the Book Review, a philistine blunder that insults the cultural ambition of the city and the region, will only accelerate this process and further wound the long-term fiscal health of the newspaper.

Yowza. Things are getting ugly.

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OH MY GOD. There was a textbook torrents site??
The textbook publishers can suck my fat one. They pull shit like putting out new editions every year for a basic 1st year bio text. Every year! Mendel's been dead for a fucking long time, you don't need to keep re-illustrating his pea plants.

Posted by ams | July 21, 2008 11:07 AM

Ok, I've calmed down a bit now. The publishers should expand their downloadable updates rather than try to crack down. If I could buy a 4 year old text and download the difference, I would probably pay for that.

Posted by ams | July 21, 2008 11:29 AM

Book reviewers over the years have written themselves into oblivion, failing as profession to make dependable judgments about books in a way that connects with newspaper readers (let alone any reader).

Posted by Simac | July 21, 2008 1:50 PM

@1 - heck, they even make college-specific textbooks that you can't resell used to the U bookstore - the bad thing is that it's the same text except for 20-40 pages which the U has to put online anyway.

Posted by Will in Seattle | July 21, 2008 2:16 PM

Wow, the future is in Los Angeles, too? Wow, Charles is onto something! The future is everywhere!

Uh... Los Angeles? Cultural ambition? Whodawhatnow?

Posted by CP | July 21, 2008 5:51 PM

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