Can coursepacks be cheaper? Yes. Professors can minimize fees by constructing their cousepacks within the limits set out in section 3.2 of the Copibec agreement (in French). But if professors make coursepacks outside of these limits, prices shoot up at a rate of 10 cents for each page constructed outside of the rules. Here are the limits professors should observe in order to help keep coursepack costs down:
- the lesser of 25 pages or 10% of a work;
- an entire article from a periodical;
- an entire book chapter provided it constitutes no more than 20% of the work.
An extra 10 cents per page isn’t all that bad, right? Wrong. Why double the cost to students? The McGill Bookstore already charges 10 cents per page in printing fees. If professors construct their coursepacks outside of the limits, the price to students doubles to 20 cents per page. This gets expensive. Consider that a 300 page coursepack made within the limits costs students $90. If professors work outside of these limits, the price doubles to a cool $180. And that’s just for one coursepack. Some courses require two or more coursepacks. And most students take about 5 courses per term. Ouch.
Are there cheaper alternatives to the coursepack? Yes. Professors can post links to the course materials on an internal website such as WebCT. Students can then read the materials online for free, or print the materials themselves for less money than the bookstore would charge.