Amazon textbook rentals: fine-print bans taking books over state lines


Next thing you know, you will be subject to arrest for transporting a myna across a staid lion for immortal porpoises


Not sure simple possession of a book in another state would trigger any tax implications, but updating your books in another state might be construed as some sort of purchase, triggering taxes.

Tying into the bullshit jobs thread, why the fuck aren’t the standard textbooks for K-12 mostly public domain or creative commons by now? At this point, chunks of Wikipedia would probably be just as good or better for some subjects.

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Because the story of the religions of the Founding Fathers is always changing…


I grew up on the Arizona/California border. Born in Lake Havasu, grew up in Parker. I have a couple of friends that attend the college in Lake Havasu and sometimes take classes in Parker as well at AWC. These people often also go across the border, to California, because, well, IT IS RIGHT THERE! And there are things to be done there, like a dive bar and the Colorado River (okay, so that’s about it). So if you have your books in your car and decide to go play in the river, or drink at the bar … you could be charged?


Which is great for people who live near or on a border were cell phone signals often get confused. :confused:

@marilove, i totally see your point. additionally, what happens when students buy their books before they leave for their out-of-state school? i knew renting from amazon seemed like a bad idea; i’m glad i didn’t do it.

There certainly are old textbooks in the public domain, but do you really want today’s students to be learning from McGuffey Readers and the like? They aren’t exactly in sync with modern values on race and gender, you know. Yes, there is something to be said for modern projects to create Creative Commons licensed teaching materials, but that’s different from using things that have entered the public domain due to age.

A few years ago I read a fantastic book that discussed the whole process of textbooks and why they’re so expensive (wish I could remember the name) and what it boils down to is both California and Texas buy textbooks for the entire state as a whole, which makes them both ridiculously powerful in terms of clout when it comes to what’s in the text book and how they’re edited. All decisions are basically a tug of war between those two states and trying to appease them. The end result was nothing but depressing.

Former editor from K-12 publishing here: That’s correct (although Georgia and Florida also have sizable pulls). Both California and Texas have large populations and have official, state-wide adoptions, which of course means there are huge amounts of sales to be made all at once. If you live in a so-called “open territory” state, chances are good you’re going to get the version made from Texas or California, depending on where they are in their adoption cycles and when you try to buy. There’s generally a layer over top the “main” files that holds all the Texas state icons and state flags and BBQ icons and whatever else that get plastered all over the page to appeal to that market, and the layer is simply removed for other states. And given Texas’s ideas on “education,” that’s not a good thing. (Don’t get too smug, California. Your state standards can be just as bizarre and arbitrary.) There was a lot of hope in not only the publishing industry but education as a whole that the national Common Core standards would help limit the power of those two states in deciding curriculum, and make it possible for a kid who moves from one state to another to not get smacked down due to completely different requirements in different states for the SAME grade level, but it’s already a rough road, and Texas was the first out of the gate with their “HUR DUR STATES RIGHTS!” argument and didn’t adopt the Common Core. They also routinely have some of the lowest test scores (particularly in math) in the union, but I guess they know best, right?

Fun fact: I once worked out a spreadsheet to show the overlap between as many official lists of state standards in math as I could, with the idea of thinking about a new program based on that, but there was so little overlap just in my eight-state sample that the project was scrapped.

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Meanwhile, DRM stripping of legally purchased books remains utterly trivial.

It has to be the ‘physical presence’ thing. It’s what happened to Netflix. I remember reading it at the time, but can’t find it in a FAQ any more. Here’s a link from a fansite from about the time they started charging sales tax:

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