I’m not sure how my name got around, but I’m on the list for a few textbook publishers, and from time to time I get an examination copy of some new release. The first I got here at UWO was a critical glossary — a new edition of a book I’d previously taught, in fact. Nice. The next, from the same press, was an anthology of popular culture readings designed for writers. Still in my area, though the nod to writing curriculum was the first hint that maybe the sales reps could do a better job of aiming the right exam copies at the right instructors: I teach neither composition (at the moment) nor creative writing.
Yet the latest freebies I’ve got suggest more random firing than precision targeting: a collection of American short stories, and a ‘pocket anthology’ of fiction. The best part is this: the exam copies are showing up with increasingly strident reminders about how I can help to keep the cost of textbooks down. Publishing is not generally known for its leading-edge business models, but the irony here is acute: ‘Help us reduce the cost of textbooks — have one for free!’ Apparently my help in fighting text price inflation involves following detailed instructions for mailing unwanted exam copies back. So what am I getting here? An exam copy or a little project in postal-subsidizing busywork? I’ll help you reduce the cost of textbooks: turn off the exam-copy hose for a second, call me, and find out what I teach.
About AcademicalismIt's the scholarly blog of Mark A. McCutcheon, author of The Medium Is the Monster: Canadian Adaptations of Frankenstein and the Discourse of Technology, and professor at Athabasca U.
E-mail: academicalism[at]gmail[dot]com This blog is Creative Commons 2.5 licensable.
Header: Detail of photo by Athabasca UP.
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