From the Pricing Property department:
Harvard’s Coop bookstore (run by Barnes and Noble) has started to throw students out for writing down the ISBNs and prices of their books. Coop president, Jerry P. Murphy, claims that the information on the covers of books is their own intellectual property. Isn’t the information on or in a book considered to be the publisher’s intellectual property?
Oh wait. Maybe the bookstore has their own price stickers that they print and put on the book. If that is the case, maybe the bookstore should be confronted about the massive amount of plagiarism they are committing by copying the intellectual property printed on the books and placing it on their own stickers. Think of all the money they are making by selling the stickers with pirated intellectual property printed on them!
Do I even need to point out how absurd this is?
Also… Shouldn’t a Harvard student be able to find the ISBN and price of the books listed on their syllabi without going into the rip-off campus bookstore? What, they don’t have internet access at Harvard?
(The Harvard Crimson via Boing Boing)
September 19th, 2007 at 5:07 pm
That is insane.
In my experience though, most professors don’t list the ISBN on the syllabus. The UIC bookstore also doesn’t list the ISBNs, so it is, unfortunately, necessary to make a trip to the bookstore.
September 19th, 2007 at 5:23 pm
Yes, but most professors list the title and edition on their syllabus.
September 19th, 2007 at 7:59 pm
Just a quick note. I setup the Crimson Reading website mentioned in the article. Since being kicked out of the Coop, we have started using course syllabi to identify which books are assigned, and then we lookup the ISBNs on isbndb.com.
We’ve got six students working on the project around the clock. We’ve got through 2300 books for 300+ courses so far.
Yes, you’re right, we can use course syllabi, and we are. But it was much quicker to get it from the college bookstore!!
September 19th, 2007 at 11:22 pm
To add to what Tom said (I am the Director of CrimsonReading), we are actually a lot closer to 400 courses now, with exponentially more ISBNs. To make the website work (which of course, is for charity and saving students money), we need to track down ISBNs for 1000+ courses in the less than a week that the courses are online before the course begins (Harvard has a “shopping period” course selection method. We request syllabi from professors, spend days in libraries mining for syllabi (often not put up by profs), and, eventually, have to turn to the Coop to get those books we can’t find elsewhere.