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Morning Coffee – 18 May 2020

Here are a few stories to read this Monday morning.

  • Why it’s so hard to read right now. (It’s not just you.) 
  • Surprisingly, this list of the most mis-pronounced words in tech does not include blockchain, which should correctly be pronounced as "con". 
  • A class-action lawsuit has been filed over college students being forced to buy expensive digital textbooks under universities’s "inclusive access" programs. I do not see how this can possibly succeed; it’s like suing over being forced to pay tuition.
  • On the origin of blurb
  • A recent survey found that time spent reading has almost doubled during the lockdown. 

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Olivier May 18, 2020 um 10:54 am

Nate, IANAL but I think the textbook suit has a lot of merit, on the contrary. They are not suing against the rising cost of books per se but against certain anti-competitive practices, which the US still has laws against on its books, even if they are seldom enforced nowadays.

This is has similarities to the (successful!) case against agency pricing in that this orwellian "access" program seeks to make textbook discounting impossible.

Disgusting Dude May 18, 2020 um 11:39 am

It’s not about book pricing but about being forced to buy a book (digital or print) at all.
And what source and format to buy from.
A lot of the merit or lack of same will depend on discovery and the university’s argument.

They can always argue that requiring an unbundled purchase is no different from bundling the cost of the book into tuition. Some Universities do that.

On the other hand they are arguing conspiracy price fixing.
If the textbook publishers are as stupid in coordinating, leaving smoking guns and fingerprints all over like the BPHs in the Agency antitrust suit and discovery unearths it things could get interesting.

There’s also the matter of whether the universities (and/or professors) are getting getting kickbacks and there are alternate and cheaper sources for the books elsewhere there might be a RICO case against tbe universities.

It’s not a slam dunk like Agency but the setup does make hijinks possible.
Bears watching.

Xavier Basora May 18, 2020 um 2:44 pm


I know why it’s hard to read now

1) reading fatigue. You can only read so much before feeling saturated
2) stress from being stuck at home and limited outdoor activities.

Those are the main reasons


Peter Winkler May 18, 2020 um 10:24 pm

The first and last stories appear to be contradictory.

Nate Hoffelder May 19, 2020 um 7:07 am

you know, I actually hadn’t noticed – but you are correct, LOL

Adrijus from RockingBookCovers. May 19, 2020 um 12:04 pm

Great to see reading doubled. Finally!

But weird thrillers and crime being are dominant. I personally don’t avoid those either, but I prefer supernatural/fantasy/Scifi now to escape and detach.

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