Association of American Publishers Receives RSVP from Public Interest Research Group

Two Groups Will Share Divergent Research Results and Address College Student


Independent Third Party Experts and Researchers Offered as Participants

Feb 07, 2005, 00:00 ET from Association of American Publishers

    WASHINGTON, Feb. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- The Association of American Publishers
 has arranged a Feb. 14 meeting with representatives of the Public Interest
 Research Group (PIRG) to review recent surveys relating to college textbooks.
     "For more than a year we have offered our resources and those of our
 members and independent experts to help to build bridges and share knowledge
 with the Public Interest Research Group," said Patricia Schroeder, president
 and chief executive officer of the Association of American Publishers.
     "We understand that the increase in tuition and student fees, along with
 the cost of textbooks, is putting a great deal of pressure on students and
 parents.  And I know that paying cash for college textbooks has been an
 emotional issue for as long as I can remember.  It was for me and my
 children," Schroeder said.
     "Still, that doesn't justify all of the misinformation and
 misunderstanding we've seen over the last few days. Citing the Producer Price
 Index (PPI), as a source for tracking the price of textbooks is just wrong.
 The PPI does not represent what students actually pay for textbooks.  PIRG
 failed to explain that the PPI is an index which represents wholesale prices
 of educational materials," Schroeder said.
     "Publishers do not use the PPI, finding it uninformative.  The Bureau of
 Labor Statistics, which produces the PPI, does not share where its information
 comes from so publishers cannot tell what the PPI is measuring.  The PPI does
 not measure what students pay for textbooks.  It does not take into account
 used book sales, which have grown rapidly over the last 15 years.  It does not
 take into account what students receive when they sell their used books. It is
 an index that does not measure volume.  This final point is especially telling
 because PPI's numbers do not reflect the recent surge in sales of alternative,
 low cost editions offered by publishers," Schroeder continued.
     "There are a variety of sources that do measure what students spend -- the
 College Board, the State of Illinois and the State of California -- and these
 sources are all generally consistent with Student Monitor data.  Student
 Monitor also tracks the number of books students are buying; that number has
 remained consistent over time which indicates students are not buying fewer,
 more expensive books," Schroeder added.
     "Ironically, among PIRG's demands are business changes that would actually
 raise the prices students pay for textbooks.  PIRG criticizes the selling of
 textbooks in poorer overseas markets for lower prices than in the U.S.  In
 reality, this is a way for publishers to recoup some of their investment in a
 book and hold down the prices in the United States.  Overseas sales, although
 a small fraction of U.S. sales, allow publishers to spread their costs across
 a greater print run, containing U.S. edition costs," she said.
     "PIRG is also demanding that publishers end their practice of selling
 texts and supplemental learning materials in a single package.  PIRG has not
 acknowledged that publishers do offer these items a la carte and that when
 they are packaged together there is a considerable cost savings to the
 student," Schroeder said.
     "PIRG has chosen to ignore or attack independent research on the issue.
 Zogby International, for example, did a nationwide survey of college faculty
 in December.  Zogby is recognized worldwide for the quality of its work but
 PIRG has demeaned its findings because they are different from those put
 together by PIRG's student volunteers.  We've offered PIRG, in writing, access
 to Zogby's statisticians and analysts," she said.
     "We are hopeful that our meeting will be the basis of an ongoing dialogue
 that will lead to better understanding and solutions that will refocus
 discussions where they need to be, on educating students," Schroeder
     The Association of American Publishers is the national trade association
 of the U.S. book publishing industry. AAP's approximately three hundred
 members include most commercial book publishers in the United States, as well
 as smaller and nonprofit publishers, university presses, and scholarly
 societies.  For more information, please visit

SOURCE Association of American Publishers