Textbook piracy thriving in Canada? - Macleans.ca

Textbook piracy thriving in Canada?

Students say they know it’s stealing, say high education costs justify photocopying


From The Toronto Star:

The high cost of university textbooks in Canada is driving students and copy shops to contravene federal copyright law, creating a thriving underground photocopying industry.

A Star investigation found 10 copy shops near the University of Toronto and Ryerson University willing to either photocopy full textbooks or allow customers to use self-serve copy machines before binding the pages together – creating books as good as new at a fraction of the cost.

Students say they understand photocopying textbooks is akin to stealing from publishers, but argue they have no choice given the high cost of post-secondary education. Depending on the subject, new textbooks can cost as much as $300 per course, adding up to a yearly tab of $1,300 or more.

Publishers say the underground industry across Canada costs $75 million annually in lost revenue, a quarter of their business. Both large and small copy shops have been accused of the practice.

Ontario’s student Textbook and Technology Grant, mentioned in the article, is a helpful initiative, but $150 is a paltry sum considering the cost of textbooks and other learning resources in many programs.


Textbook piracy thriving in Canada?

  1. I think one of the most important reasons that students do this is mainly because new editions come out EVERY YEAR. That makes it extremely difficult to sell these textbooks at a high price, since they are no longer in use. And to top that off, most of the time new editions have tiny changes. I’ve seen textbooks where the questions are the same from one edition to the next but the order is changed. Getting an older edition is cheaper, but having to go back and forth, seeing any possible changes is annoying. When this is the case, I can understand why students resort to these methods.

  2. $300 per book is outrageous. The whole textbook industry is a massive scam intentionally victimizing a captive consumer. Stealing? I guess so, but am I worried when people steal from the most immoral dregs of society, who should be pursued just like their brethren, the telemarketers & hedge fund managers? I shed no tears for you, scumbags.