Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Markets in Everything: Principles texts for under $250

I guess NGM didn't get the memo that his taxes were NOT going up, because he's charging $238.95 for the new edition of his principles text.

Amazon is offering it to me at 20% off plus free shipping! A mere $191.16.

The comparable edition of LeBron and Alex's book is "only" $168.95, which Amazon is willing to give me for $132.03, a 22% discount.

So at the Amazon prices, Lebron & Alex are 31% cheaper, but still pretty steep.

The previous edition of Mankiw's text did have a Kindle edition for $149, no word about whether the new edition will or if so, at what price. Surprisingly, LeBron and Alex do not have a Kindle edition (at least that I could find).

These days, given that you could make yourself a pretty good free principles text just by downloading relevant Wikipedia entries, I don't see how these rents can be sustained over the long run (I am aware that not all or perhaps not even a majority of the rents are going to the authors).

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't use a text for prin of macro. The material on the web (mainly the Fed's stuff) is both 1) free and 2) BETTER than what is in the texts books.

Anonymous said...

If you're taking an intro/principles class, then you probably don't know much about economics yet. Perhaps the idea is to get people to buy the books, then read the books, then use their new knowledge of economics to realize that they got screwed by buying an expensive book.

Aaron Aardvark said...

There are many cheap alternatives; FlatWorld publishing or Atomic Dog for example. Are they as good as NGM or LeBron&AT? Perhaps not. But at the principles level a decent prof ought to be able to integrate an ok text and turn it into a useful supplement for the class.

tc said...

Gus,

1. Professors who assign the book don't have to pay.

2. Students (or at least most/many?) don't pay- mom & dad do.

3. Given how much whoever does pay for higher ed gets ripped off via tuition/housing/fees...Marshall's law of elasticities indicates to me that those rents are pretty safe.