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Textbooks vs. Other Books

Writing a textbook is very different from a writing any other type of book. Textbook information usually has very little to no opinion, consisting purely of thoroughly researched and substantiated data which has been compiled over time. In general textbooks are much larger than other books and require much more time. Textbooks usually have more than one author, sometimes whole departments collaborate on a textbook project.

Usually publishers are much more willing to accept an idea for a textbook (there is a higher guarantee of readership and therefore higher revenues). According to David A. Rees of Southern Utah University, determining the reasons why professors might be unwilling to switch to a new textbook and developing an innovative way of overcoming that resistance is key. On selling the idea to a publisher, Rees points out that the work of contacting a publisher should be done prior to finishing the project, as most publisher want to be involved in the development of the idea and are not very receptive to publishing requests on already completed projects.

The Onus of the Textbook

The purchase of textbooks is the scourge of many college student's academic life (mine included). It is not uncommon that the prices for a single textbook reaches into the hundreds! So who's to blame for this madness? The finger gets pointed at everyone, from the bookstores who they believe are simply trying to "rip them off" to the the professors who many believe have personal deals with authors and publishers for profit and out of pure sadistic desire to hurt the pockets of their students. Check out thisgreat graphic, courtesy of the National Association of College Stores on where your dollar goes. Click here for full image and details