Thirteen arrested in counterfeit textbook ring

$540,000 worth of fake books seized in Montreal


Thirteen people were arrested in Montreal Thursday after police uncovered a large textbook-counterfeiting ring. Police uncovered 2,700 photocopied textbooks at four copy centres near McGill University. “It was well done; it was like they were real,” RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Luc Thibault told CBC News. The fakes were being sold at roughly one-quarter of their value. Those found had a cover price of $540,000. The people arrested could face fines up to $1-million or five years in jail under the Copyright Act.

CBC News

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Thirteen arrested in counterfeit textbook ring

  1. Thank God I can go back to paying $174.50 for my 3rd year elective books.

  2. I do not say that this is okay but I certainly am not surprised. My nursing books cost me 700 dollars and that was used! Brand new, students were paying 1300 dollars or more for one year worth of books. It's complete nonsense. There is a reason these people were in business and that's because textbooks are extremely overpriced. It's ridiculous and unfair to be doing that to an already poor student.

    But instead of our governments actually caring and helping students (no, I don't classify student loans as help especially when they charge interest) they continue to jack up education prices. Pretty soon, school will be for the wealthy only or those willing to spend the next 20 or 30 years paying back student loans.

  3. Speaking from some experience in academia, I have an explanation for the price of post-secondary texts. If they are written for a specifically Canadian student body (or "Canadianized" for such an audience), they are targeting a relatively small market and, in many fields, their content quickly becomes obsolete. Hence, production cost is "amortized" over relatively small print runs and unit costs are higher. Also, to enhance their attractiveness to faculty (who select texts), the publishers provide ancillary packages to support their product. These include student study guides, teaching guides and lecture outlines, test banks, interactive websites and supplementary audio-visual material. The cost of producing all these ancillaries is buried in the price charged to students.

    I have no doubt we are rapidly approaching the end of the era in which hardcopy books are needed in the delivery of academic subjects, as they are being replaced by digital media.

    Absolutely none of which makes the price of text books any more palatable to impoverished students.

    • I don't think the books cost any less in the States which is a much larger market. Instead I would contend that they charge those prices because of the way these things work it necessarily creates a bunch of small monopolies. These books are going to a guaranteed market for the most part, so its not as if publishers are taking quite the risk you imply.

      • I must admit I know little about American academic markets, but my point about ancillaries would apply there, as well.

        In Canada, as I recall, the publishers were highly competitive in the quest for sales, fielding sales reps and often pestering faculty and proposing alternate texts to the ones their rivals flogged. In many disciplines, there was only a relatively small number of potential buyers and no "guarantee", whatsoever, of a market. So, they didn't behave like "small monopolies". If there was any price fixing among them, it certainly wasn't apparent to this end-user.

        Please understand I'm not defending publishers here, just pointing out some realistic economic constraints on their prices, which do otherwise seem unjustifiably exorbitant.

        • Nor am I trying to attack them in particular, just trying to work out the reasons same as you.

          Now it sounds as if they are simply over producing. I would imagine that despite the competition the overall secondary-education market is pretty steady. Lets say for the Norton Anthology of poetry, its fairly ridiculous to charge 50 dollars for it, it's a collection, they've been publishing it for years, it is very widely used, it doesn't change all that much. I mean this isn't only about niche books. And they are still charging 20 dollars too much for what such a staple should actually cost.

          It seems odd to me that publishing industry can manage to operate in the general market, but with a market that to my eyes seems much more defined they have to start charging more to cover costs.

  4. Text books are pricey because they are almost useless after the course is finished, so students naturally sell them. After a year or two there are enough used books on the market that few people should ever have to buy a new one. In order to make money, the publishing companies must constantly keep "revising" their books and publishing them as the new edition, Charging out the ying yang to cover costs. If used books were banned, they wouldn't have to keep publishing new editions as often, being able to spread the cost of printing over a larger number of books, and in theory, prices would come down. As for me, I try to buy the "price discrimination" versions from India on ebay for half the cost or less. A book that costs close to $200 can be bought for a few hundred rupies, and as an added bonus, you classmates will be jealous of you.

    • where can you buy these version?

  5. Ebay. Compare the price of a book at a university bookstore, and then search for that same book and edition on ebay.

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