h a l f b a k e r y
Not so much a thought experiment as a single neuron misfire.
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Textbook printing companies, specifically first year science textbook printers, should bind the books so that the cover can snap on around the content, so that it can be removed later on. This would greatly cut down on paper use, shipping, and overall hassle when departments decide to upgrade to the
textbook to the next edition. Simply snap off the cover, order a new set of covers, and reattach them to the existing stock. Large online textbook retailers like amazon.com could save money by only acquiring one type of bulk content, and then simply snapping on the appropriate cover that the student requires for his or her survey course.
The outdated textbook covers no longer in use by the university could be donated to the high school science classrooms, who in turn will remove the old covers of their textbooks and replace them with the donated ones. Everybody wins, and we save a few trees in the process.
||+ I am the autoboner's evil twin.
||I don't think the textbook companies particularly care whether you save money.