“Are texbooks Fairly Priced"

November 11, 2008
A Presentation by David Doane

Many students complain that textbooks cost too much, and some states are even considering legislation to force textbook prices down. Are these concerns justified? This paper reports a survey of students in a business statistics classes at two universities, asking where they got the textbook, the type of textbook (new, used, international, electronic), and how much was paid. Our data includes computer ownership, laptop use in class, perceptions of the value of textbook CDs, and reasons why students might be willing to purchase a cheaper electronic textbook. Historic data on inflation and real income suggest that per-page retail textbook prices may be relatively lower than 40 years ago. Our paper discusses factors affecting today’s textbook market (e.g., the resale market, internet sales, qualitative changes in textbooks, and changing student lifestyles).

David P. Doane is Professor of Quantitative Methods in the Department of Decision and Information Sciences at Oakland University. He earned his B.A. in math from the University of Kansas and his Ph.D. in economics from Purdue University. He is co-recipient of several NSF grants to develop software for teaching statistics and to design a statistics teaching lab. He is a long-time member of INFORMS and the American Statistical Association. He served as President of the ASA Detroit Chapter in 2002 and he remains on its board. He teaches undergrad and MBA statistics, relying on Excel and Minitab projects with real data to keep students interested and provide them with practical skills.



 Dave Doane giving his presentation at the Detroit Chapter Meeting