If you’re planning on higher education, prepare your billfolds to be swiped clean by the cost of tuition, hidden fees, living expenses, and textbooks. Over the past few years, American publishers have driven the cost of textbooks to outrageous amounts, handing over a sure financial blow to already insolvent students.
Claire Suddath of Time reported in her article, “Outsourcing the Textbook,” that according to the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance, “U.S. textbook prices rose 186% between 1986 and 2004, or twice the rate of inflation.” (Suddath, Time)
As unscrupulous as college textbook price gouging is, there is an alternative if you’re strapped for cash. The same college textbooks are published by different companies all over the world to give equal opportunity for education in other countries. The international edition textbooks are published at lower costs to be sold overseas and are available to purchase by any interested foreign or domestic buyer via the Internet.
The content in international edition textbooks is exactly the same as their U.S. counterparts. Some inconsiderable differences may be found in a lower quality of paper, the use of only black and white ink, and a paperback cover rather than a hard cover. Also, supplemental material such as CDroms, etc., may not be included with an international edition.
Aside from the material differences, the most significant is the pricing distinction. Abebooks.com for instance, lists “Biology with MasteringBiology,” 8th Edition by Neil A. Campbell and Jane B. Reece for $59.69 as opposed to its $178.20 list price. “Introduction to Quantum Mechanics,” by David J. Griffiths is $1.00 on Abebooks.com. Its list price: $129.33. These books are listed as brand new, some in color, with the original packaging. With shipping around $30, you are still saving an exceptional amount of money, rather than buying books from the school bookstore.
Most sites offering the purchase of international textbooks by U.S. buyers will warn their purchasers that publishers of international editions do not authorize the sale and distribution of these books in the U.S. and Canada as it is an infringement of copyright and trademark laws.
Does this mean that it is illegal to purchase international edition textbooks? No. Purchasing from international distributors or grey market importing is a legal form of commerce. The dissimilarity is that grey market imports are unofficial and unintended by the manufacturer.
There are many sites that offer the purchase of IE textbooks as the website mentioned above. When you are searching for certain textbooks, make sure you have the following information:
Check for any revised or new additions and also ask the distributor before you place your order if any supplemental material comes with the textbook. Also, because you are placing an international order, be sure to allow plenty of time to ship, at least eight weeks. It may be wise to select more expedited shipping. It is also best to order multiple books from the same bookseller. This will help you save time and money, the things that are hard to come by.
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