Why do college book publishers release new editions? College Life

Hello everyone:

Why do you think college book publishers release new editions? Can there really be that much new stuff since their last edition? Well, guess what? College professors usually don’t like the new editions any better than you do.

Why, you might ask? Because, while you cannot sell your textbook to your friends coming up through college after you, we have to re-do all of our Power Points and texts.

College book publishers release new editions so that they can take an already-successful book and give you the most up-to-date information, but they also like to have a cash cow keep producing. If they don’t update the book, then folks will keep buying and re-buying the same book on the secondary book market. There’s no money for them in that!

My current communication textbook is an outstanding book by a well-respected author. It is now on the 14th edition. Most new editions come out every two years or thereabouts. I have been teaching college for 12 years. You do the math on how often I have updated my lectures and examinations.

It’s taking me the better part of three afternoons to do my own update and I still have more than half the book to go and all of the tests and assignments to fix. Add to that the fact that my former students now own a book that is worthless (since all of my lectures and exams will come from the new book), and you see the dilemma here.

I have complete sympathy for your situation as a seller of the old textbook; maybe you can see now that we are in similar, though not the same, boat. How do you feel about the whole thing?


Dr. Sheri


Sheri Dean Parmelee has a Ph.D. in Communication Studies from Regent University. She writes books on practical tips for people who become unexpectedly unmarried and is working on her second novel in a series of contemporary romance/suspense novels. She teaches at three colleges, working with students from freshmen to graduate students. Her hobbies include running 8 miles a day and reading biographies and fiction.

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