Although accounting professors around the globe have addressed various social aspects of accounting, very rarely does that research address the concerns of students. This is despite the fact that students are the focus of the educational mission of most universities. In an effort to address this gap, this chapter extends the field of social accounting to an issue critical to students: the cost of accounting textbooks in the United States. Textbook cost is drawing increasing attention from public interest groups and government regulators as costs are growing at a more rapid rate than many other costs, and constitute a significant portion of the total cost of obtaining a higher education degree. For accounting students, these costs are exacerbated by the fact that accounting textbooks are among the most expensive of any major, and they are being revised with increasing frequency – which eliminates students’ ability to buy less expensive used books – often with little or no discernible benefit to students. We argue that in some subfields of accounting – especially managerial/cost and introductory courses – topics are relatively stable, and that frequent textbook revisions are unnecessarily costly for our students, many of whom, along with their families, are making significant financial sacrifices to earn their degrees. In this study, we provide background on the textbook pricing issue, include data from a survey of accounting faculty demonstrating that they consider the revisions too frequent, document the increasing frequency of accounting textbook revisions over recent decades, analyze content in a leading accounting textbook, and discuss options for reducing the cost of accounting textbooks, including following student activists’ lead in advocating for open-source, free textbooks.
For their help with the development of this work, the authors would like to thank Patricia Arnold, Betty Bagnani, Cal Bouchard, Elizabeth Chambliss, Joaquin Chung, Dave Coduto, Jeffrey Cohen, David Cooper, Jesse Dillard, Cheryl Lehman, Todd Sayre, two anonymous reviewers, and our students at San Francisco State University.
Hammond, T., Danko, K. and Landis, M. (2014), "Social Accounting and Accounting Textbooks: Professors’ Responsibility to Promote the Interests of Students", Managing Reality: Accountability and the Miasma of Private and Public Domains (Advances in Public Interest Accounting, Vol. 16), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp. 145-185. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1041-7060(2013)0000016009Download as .RIS
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