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Sat Feb 2, 2019, 07:32 AM

Textbook 'scam' alleged in federal lawsuit against SC's biggest technical college

A used textbook seller is taking South Carolina’s largest public technical college to federal court alleging it ran a “scam” on its own students by inking a deal with one of the country’s leading textbook publishers.

Trident Technical College and President Mary Thornley misled students about textbook pricing and prevented them from shopping around for secondhand classroom materials, according to the lawsuit filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Charleston.

The lawsuit comes as seismic shifts are restructuring the college textbook industry. Textbook prices could grow out of control in the long run if other colleges continue to sign such exclusive deals with publishers and edge out the secondhand market, according to the lawsuit.

“I think the bigger picture of what they’re trying to do here is they’re trying to eliminate competition, and once that happens they can charge whatever they want,” said Jeremy Cucinella, regional manager of Virginia Pirate Corp., which owns Textbook Brokers in North Charleston.

Read more: https://www.postandcourier.com/news/textbook-scam-alleged-in-federal-lawsuit-against-sc-s-biggest/article_d266c94a-262e-11e9-a6dd-ab6ac37fa3d1.html

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Reply Textbook 'scam' alleged in federal lawsuit against SC's biggest technical college (Original post)
TexasTowelie Feb 2 OP
bobbieinok Feb 2 #1
bobbieinok Feb 2 #2
bobbieinok Feb 2 #3

Response to TexasTowelie (Original post)

Sat Feb 2, 2019, 08:06 AM

1. Mid 90s many Us had contract w/ bookstore chain that students could only buy texts there

A Spanish teacher got in trouble because she had bought in Spain copies of a book she used in a class. Bookstore saw that she had ordered no text for a class and freaked out. They complained to admin, which came down hard on every prof.

Some on faculty investigated and learned the school's bookstore was run by a national chain that had this policy everywhere. (The school's contract with the chain was recent. No one on faculty realized that books would now be sold by a monopoly.)


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Response to TexasTowelie (Original post)

Sat Feb 2, 2019, 08:16 AM

2. In 90s many beginning foreign lang. texts made minimal changes every other yr or so

This meant students could not use the text owned by a friend who had recently taken the course. The page numbers, exercise sentence numbers, etc would not be the same. The cover might be the same, just a different edition number in small print.

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Response to TexasTowelie (Original post)

Sat Feb 2, 2019, 08:29 AM

3. Also company would tell inquiring prof 1 price, but students paid more

When asked why, company representative said each bookstore would raise the price by maybe 20% or so.

They paid the publisher the price quoted to the inquiring prof but needed to make a profit. Each store had its own policy about how much profit to charge.

And then the reason textbooks don't have the price embedded in the book's format became clear! That's so students and parents will not see how much mark-up the store adds.

Boy did it upset the store if a commercially sold book was chosen by the prof. The store was stuck with the price printed on the book.

How 'economically naive' profs learn some business 'facts of life'!!

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