The economics of textbook revision

…the economists Austan Goolsbee and Judith Chevalier, in a study of more than a thousand colleges, found that the year before a textbook is revised new-book sales drop sharply. That’s because a textbook in its final year is significantly less valuable, since you won’t be able to resell it. In other words, before nineteen-year-olds decide to buy a textbook, they consider not just the use they’ll get from it but also its current price, the probable future demand for it, and perhaps whether they can blow off the reading entirely. Funnily enough, they’re acting in what economists would call textbook fashion. And that serves as a check on publishers, who know that if they revise too frequently they could end up losing sales.

That is James Surowiecki, thanks to Chris F. Masse for the pointer. 

By the way, Pizzatola’s, Shepherd and Rt.10, is superb Houston barbecue.  "You look like you’ve never been here before," was the first thing they said to me.


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