In my University days I often recall having new textbooks issued every few years and if students happened to be entering a class when the new textbook came out, we were all forced to buy the new edition as opposed to a used one. I remember the complaints that emerged at the University Bookstore at the University of Connecticut every time a new edition emerged.
But alas, my college years were literally decades in the past and now, the college textbook has become digitized, provided as a service and enhanced with digital workbooks and online quizzes. If you think it is just the book publishers who are changing their ways you would be wrong as students too are digitizing and sharing college textbooks for free.
There is a race in fact between textbook publishers who work with college professors and the students in the classes to see who can move fastest in this new world of book consumption. On the one hand the publishers are looking to eliminate the used book market and expand their revenue sources through the use of the web and DRM technology. And on the other — there are the students working tirelessly to bypass the technology and get it all for free.
I would imagine the college textbook publishing market is really on thee edge of the digital technology and DRM spaces and the companies that aren’t may not be around for long.
Here is a fascinating article on the topic.