The major publishers of school text books in Ireland have said they will give discounts to schools that run book rental schemes.
The government have been discussing with publishers the possible ways to reduce the cost of school books for parents.
The majority of publishers confirmed yesterday that schools who purchase in bulk for book rental schemes will benefit from discounts in the range 12% – 17.5%.
They also clarified aspects of a voluntary Code of Practice to which eight publishers have now signed up.
Implementation of the code of practice means there will be no revisions to existing text books for four years unless there are changes required because of curriculum and / or examinations changes.
Old editions will now be kept in print for two years (unless annual sales fall below 500 copies).
This means that, in future, a new edition of a textbook will be available for a minimum of six years.
At the moment – new editions of school textbooks prevent parents from selling on books that are in good condition or passing them on to a younger family member. Schools have no control over this – as publishers make the decisions on new editions and simply tell schools that a book currently in use will not be produced the following year.
It would appear that decisions taken by some publishing companies to introduce new sets of books have more to do with increasing profits than better education.
There is no compulsion on schools to operate book rental schemes – and the Dept of Education don’t currently keep any records of which schools run rental schemes.
In 2009 the profit made by Panther Educational Investments, the owner of the CJ Fallon school book publishing company, generated profits of €1.12m after tax.