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Posted: 12:00 a.m. Friday, July 11, 2008

Colleges taking kickbacks from book publishers


First, the student loan kickback scandal on college campuses...and now this.

The Wall Street Journal reports that some schools are now taking kickbacks from book publishers. For several years, publishers have had to compete against the online used book market for college texts. So they eventually came up with the idea of creating custom-edition textbooks in production runs that are small enough for specific university courses.

These books -- which may excise certain material or add a professor's published papers -- come embossed with a warning that it's illegal to sell back as a used book. The campus book stores are, of course, complicit because they refuse to buy these books from students.

Which schools are taking the kickbacks? The University of Alabama and Virginia Tech are both mentioned in the article. Penn State, meanwhile, recently stopped the practice.

Clark thinks it's unacceptable that your university is stabbing you in the back and stealing money from you. As if it's not expensive enough to send a child to college! Who knows what else they're doing to rip off your son or daughter?

Meanwhile, Clark recently picked up a $14 backpack for his third grader at a warehouse club. Christa went the slightly more expensive route and got her child an L.L. Bean backpack.

But you can one-up them both if you wait until late September to buy your child's backpack. That's when they'll go on clearance after everyone's gone back to school.