Look for the Seal

Carl Straumsheim, Inside Higher Ed, Jun 06, 2017
Commentary by Stephen Downes

When I was a cash-strapped student I had a simple policy: if it was cheaper to photocopy the book at five cents a page than it was to buy it, I would photocopy the book. My counterfeit books were easy to spot: they were the ones held together with paper clamps. No certification or seal would have changed my policy, because it was grounded in reasonableness. The marginal cost of producing a textbook is not more than five cents a page; any excess cost is a monopoly effect. Today, the marginal costs are even lower, yet prices are even higher. It will take more than certifications or seals to make this right.
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