Looks like someone in the publishing industry’s PR machine has been hard at work peddling this story:
I’m sure that piracy is cutting into sales, but as is typical, the story lacks any quantitative data substantiating its overall alarmist tone.
As far as eLangdell is concerned, this passage is particularly telling:
Some instructors avoid textbooks altogether, while still making use of the Web. “I have over the last five years or so stopped the practice of assigning textbooks,” said Vincent Rocchio, an assistant professor of communication studies at Northeastern University in Boston. “Instead, I publish a group of essays electronically on my course website.”
Rocchio said “the outrageous cost of textbooks” makes it cheaper for him to purchase electronic publishing rights and pass the lower costs on to the students.