Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Advanced Quantum Mechanics...Brought to You by Geico Insurance?

In perhaps one of the most IDIOTIC things I've ever heard, McGraw Hill Ryerson Ltd (yes, the same people that make many textbooks used at universities) have been planning to introduce advertizing into textbooks. This might be a "Canadian only" thing (which makes it even more crazy), as a quick Google search came up with nothing. Here's the story from the Toronto Star (I think you may have to subscribe, in that case, trust me on it).

For the past several months, McGraw-Hill Ryerson Ltd., one of the country's
largest publishers of university textbooks, has been quietly trying to coax
companies into buying advertising space in their texts.

"Reach a hard to get target group where they spend all their parents' money,"
says a McGraw-Hill brochure touting its planned ads. "Do you really think 18-24
year olds see those on-campus magazine ads? Do you really think they could miss
an ad that is placed in a very well-respected textbook?"

The Whitby-based publisher, which has made presentations about its
prospective textbook ads to more than a dozen advertising agencies, says in its
brochure that ads can be purchased nationally or regionally, and "can be so
targeted, you can even buy a specific major.

We all know that the textbook industry is perhaps one of greatest scams of all time. By dishing out new editions every couple of years (rendering old editions useless, at least from the buy-back point of view) and having the full support of faculty/schools, how much more money does this company need?

I can almost start to understand this if they were going to cut the cost of books, but no:

MacDonald (ed. Some suit with the publisher) said marketing wouldn't affect the
price of the textbooks and that "all of the funds we receive from the direct
to student marketing program will be directed to support the (Institute for
the Advancement of Teaching in Higher Education) and conferences that are
organized" by the publisher.

Lemme guess...This "Institute" and "conferences" won't just be another platform in which to push more books on us now would it?

Although I don't consider myself a left-wing nut (umm...ok maybe I do), but this whole idea is half-assed. I'd also be very surprised if this thing actually goes through. I can't even imagine the backlash. Schools need to stop selling these books at their bookstores, and prof's need to stop assigning them.

After dropping about a bill on a book, do I really need to be subjected to ads? This is part of the reason why I try not to support the huge movie chains with their faux-artistic cologne/perfume ads.


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