The textbook publishing industry has turned books of facts into overvalued goods on par with “priceless” finds at antique stores. To keep margins high and the revenue stream flowing, publishers screw with pagination in order to create “new” editions every year, turning textbooks into useless piles of paper the moment they’re purchased. Trading one in at the end of the class means receiving pennies on the dollar for your original investment. Stocking up for another semester’s worth of classes means shelling out hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. Rinse. Repeat.
So, when someone comes along and threatens this business model, publishers are swift to react. Offensive efforts — like locking schools into yearly purchases for instructors’ versions and acting as “partners” in campus bookstores — have mitigated most of the damage caused by outside forces like Amazon and used book retailers.
But the publishers also play defense. A side project from Texts.com (a service that helps students scour the web for the best prices on textbooks) has caught the attention of Follett, one of the nation’s largest suppliers of campus bookstores.
OccupyTheBookstore is a Chrome extension that allows users to find better prices on textbooks while browsing bookstore websites. Follett doesn’t like this because the extension draws sales away from the stores it supplies. It sent a cease-and-desist request to the team behind the extension, asking (nicely, at this point) to knock it off or it will be “forced” to involve its legal team.
In an AMA at Reddit, the team announced it has no interest in complying with Follett’s request:
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