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Friday, February 14, 2014

College Textbooks are so Expensive!

I am amazed by the prices of my daughter's textbooks for her college. $200 for a textbook! I am glad that many of her Professors have gone to eBooks and custom printed books. What surprises me, is the higher price Chinese textbook I sell is $29.99 that includes a CD. I don't see the added value in the $200 book. A trick that publishers do to kill the used book market, is do minor changes in a book for a new edition.

And a book publisher, Cengage which was the 2nd largest textbook publisher in the US, even went into bankruptcy!

Options Don't Stem Textbook Woes - Inside Higher Ed

Textbook publisher Cengage files bankruptcy to cut debt - Reuters

Neat advice on when you can use an older edition:

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Cheap Words - Is Amazon Good for Books?

I have very mixed feelings about Amazon. I have been a long time customer long enough they sent me two travel mugs for being a customer 14 or so years ago. I still have one of them, the other melted when put into the dishwasher.

The good news is Amazon is shaking up the book market, and bringing a huge amount of change to a dysfunctional industry. The growth of eBooks has been a positive for readers.

The negative is Amazon has hurt local book sellers, and a lot of their competition has been clueless (R.I.P. Borders). Amazon is now raising their prices on books (hard covers used to be 40% off, and now it's 19-25%), and Amazon has negotiated what I would term unfair advantages with publishers. Read the New Yorker article, the use of promotional dollars is amazing, as well as the ability to shut off the selling of a publisher on Amazon. I was surprised to find out the most popular in Amazon, has a pay to play angle which I don't like. And if you decide to sell your product on Amazon through Marketplace, and it gets a lot of sales, Amazon if they can source the product, can undercut your price by selling it directly (and has to others - congratulations, you just developed a new market for Amazon).

If your an author, and can sell an e-Book, do it via self publishing. The opportunities are huge where you can get 70% of the selling price, where with traditional price going through a publisher unless you are a super best selling author, you will need to keep your day job. Of course, you need to figure out marketing. The Amazon Kindle has an amazing market share for eBooks, I think 80%, and eBooks are now 30% of the book market.


Cheap Words - Amazon is good for customers. But is it good for books? - The New Yorker   



Administrator Hiring Drove 28% Boom in Higher-Ed Work Force, Report Says

It's amazing the increase in Administrators at Colleges, which has led to higher college costs. The huge increase in college costs is a huge problem, as seen by the average debt is now $29,400 with an overall 1.2 Trillion Dollars in college debt, which is more than the Credit Card debt in the US. 7 in 10 College Graduates graduate with student debt. And then there is the 40% who do not graduate college within 6 years. And what is worse, is faculty salaries are basically flat from 2000 to 2012. Many teaching positions have gone to associate Professors, who are part time. There are more and more rules / regulations, which is also driving the cost of compliance that is increasing administration cost. Colleges have also engaged in an arms race, with adding more and more non-educational benefits to entice students to enroll.

I am glad my daughter is almost graduated! She will have finished within 3 years at a very good state school with no student debt.

http://money.cnn.com/2013/12/04/pf/college/student-loan-debt/ - CNN
Risky Business: Why Student Loans Are The Worst Way To Fund College - Forbes
Student Loans, the Next Big Threat to the U.S. Economy? - Business Week
Administrator Hiring Drove 28% Boom in Higher-Ed Work Force, Report Says - The Chronicle of Higher Education

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Chinese Valentines Day Coloring Pages!

Coloring Page Description of  Custom
Niu Lang (Cowherd) and Zhi Nu (Weaving Maid) are husband and wife allowed to unite only once a year.
Giving a valentine lotus
Valentine Boat Ride
Happy Chinese Valentines Day
A Valentine Kiss
Be my Valentine
Zhi Nu (or Weaving Maid)


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