The price of textbooks is too damn high...to paraphrase Minister of Education Ruairi Quinn.
Parents are having to spend at least E300 for textbooks at the primary level, and with so many living on the edge financially, it's becoming a real difficulty.
So Mr. Quinn has demanded that publishers stop charging so much for their books. He plans to meet with publishers this autumn, with an eye to lowering costs by next school year.
As a government bureaucrat, Mr. Quinn seems to think that publishers run their operations like the government...throwing other people's money around like so much confetti. In his mind, the publishers are simply gouging the general public and reeling in boatloads of cash.
Pity that he isn't in private enterprise, where he'd find that margins are slim in publishing and it actually costs a great deal of money to put together a textbook.
Someone has to do research to prepare the text. That someone, usually a freelance writer, makes their living at writing the words that the children read and absorb. Should they take a pay cut so that parents can then have an easier time at meeting school fees?
Perhaps the printer or the book binder would work for less as well. The paper manufacturer would reduce its cost to the printer, the ink manufacturer would slash prices, and of course the editors up in the corner offices would work for less so that it would cost less to produce the textbooks and everyone would be happy.
Apparently, Mr. Quinn sees the price of a textbook and assumes that publishers must be making outrageous profits. The publishers will have to arrive at their upcoming meeting with balance sheets in hand, to show that publishing is not the lucrative field that some would believe.
If Mr. Quinn is looking for high profit margins, he need look no further than the Apple iPad in his hand. All of a child's textbooks could be downloaded to the device, and at a lower cost than a printed book. Surely the Apple corporation would be amenable to slashing prices at Mr. Quinn's behest.