Buy Now! New and Improved Edition!
Say what you will about Aspen, West, and the rest, but the recent rise of the used textbook market (particularly online) has been tough on publishers seeking profit growth and to keep revenues up they have looked for ways to fight back.
One of the main approaches has been to pump out new editions of casebooks more and more frequently.
I have found this frustrating, not only because I would like my students not have to fork over a hundred and fifty bucks for a book unless it is absolutely necessary, but also because it requires constant updating of teaching materials by professors (or their assistants), which takes away from other academic pursuits. Clearly, some of this revision of teaching notes can be beneficial (e.g., learning about new developments in case law), but a lot of it is tedious make-work (e.g., updating page numbers).
I taught my current Business Organizations textbook exactly one time before it was “updated.” When I asked for a list of changes from the publisher so that I didn’t have to do a comparison myself, I was denied, which struck me as odd at the time, but made some sense after I completed the comparison. There wasn’t much different other than an altered thickness and width of the paper and a few changes to cases toward the end of the book.
It all seems like a waste of money, time, and paper.
Is there a better way forward?
Online enrichment tools? Rapidly disintegrating pages? Kindle copies?
If you have an idea, let’s hear it . . . operators at the major legal publishing houses are standing by.