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For Americans, Imported Textbooks Can Be Cheaper

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the this-trumps-capitalism-how-exactly dept.

Education 678

mblase writes "The NYTimes has an article (free reg required, someone'll post the Google link any minute now) about how the Internet has trumped capitalism yet again -- the very same college textbooks used in the United States sell for half price, or less, in England. One sophomore imported 30 biology books this fall and sold them outside his classroom for less than the campus-bookstore price, netting a $1,200 profit." Wait 'til they shuffle the problem sets.

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678 comments

Dear timothy (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7276875)

Your websight is totally teh sux!

Love,
Timothy's mom

Not capitalism (5, Insightful)

pavon (30274) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276876)

...about how the Internet has trumped capitalism yet again...

No should be: how the free market internet has enabled capitalism to trump corporate price fixing.

Re:Not capitalism (-1, Redundant)

helix400 (558178) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276922)

Timothy caught the article's error too

this-trumps-capitalism-how-exactly dept.

Re:Not capitalism (4, Interesting)

Otter (3800) | more than 10 years ago | (#7277017)

I also liked "We think it's frightening, and it's wrong, that the same American textbooks our stores buy here for $100 can be shipped in from some other country for $50." in the article.

Wrong, perhaps but isn't "frightening" a little over the top?

A Modest Proposal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7277052)

We need to start pirating textbooks because they're too damn expensive. If we had enough people kind enough to scan their books and distribute them in PDF form, starving students around the world(not so starving that they have access to computers) could save a pretty penny. I'm not advocating piracy in any way; I just think that it's really cool and everybody should do it.

AMERIKA SUXORS A PENIXEN (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7276878)

AMERIKA AM SO GHEY.

ISLAM AM TEHN FUT0R.

soifhokdfhoihfodskhfdshfdl

lskfs;odfhlhfsd
esf
sdfds
fs
dfs
a
dsdeath to heathewns

sdfhdokfglkfdghlf

Did he get the bill from Customs yet? (4, Insightful)

winkydink (650484) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276879)

It often takes a couple of months for the duty bill to show up. Ask me how I know. :(

Re:Did he get the bill from Customs yet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7276892)

OMG how do u know?!?1/1/11

Re:Did he get the bill from Customs yet? (1)

winkydink (650484) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276914)

lol. Uh, I got the bill perhaps? What started as a great deal turned out to be a merely decent one. I still saved money, but once I factored in the cost for my time, it was probably close to a push. Then again, if I'm a student, my time is worth next to nothing and the end result is more favorable. :)

Re:Did he get the bill from Customs yet? (3, Insightful)

Texas Rose on Lava L (712928) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276963)

He'll get the bill from Customs around the same time he gets the bill from the IRS. He did make a profit from the sale, after all.

Trumping Capitalism?? (5, Insightful)

Flounder (42112) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276885)

This is capitalism at it's pure form. Finding a product in demand, selling it at a price that undercuts the competition, and making a healthy profit.

At least until he's trumped by the powers of communism (lawsuits by the school or the textbook becoming illegal to import under the DMCA)

Re:Trumping Capitalism?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7276950)

Chilling!

Refresh my memory, though. Which part of this falls under the DMCA, exactly?

Re:Trumping Capitalism?? (-1, Troll)

Flounder (42112) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276974)

Refresh my memory, though. Which part of this falls under the DMCA, exactly?

Does it have to fall under any particular provision. The DMCA is one of those laws that can be twisted and perverted to accomodate the needs of pretty much anybody, except those needs of the end user.

Kind of like the Patriot Act and the tax code, eh?

Re:Trumping Capitalism?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7277036)

Kind of like the Patriot Act and the tax code, eh?

Well, yeah, in the sense that people like you yap about them without the slightest clue about what you're talking about, and then pat yourselves on the back for your alleged cleverness.

Re:Trumping Capitalism?? (4, Insightful)

Triskele (711795) | more than 10 years ago | (#7277002)

I'm sorry but this has nothing to do with capitalism. I know that for some of you capitalism == free market but they are quite separable concepts. Capitalism is to do with capital, the integral of money (i.e., the derivative of capital is money originally in the form of a dividend). What you are seeing here is the triumph of an international free market. It might help if some of you lot had actually read Marx rather than ranting on about "oh this would never have happened with communism". The founder of communism had quite a lot to say about this. "Das Capital" is still the root of much modern economic theory.

BIAA - Re:Trumping Capitalism?? (5, Funny)

leoaugust (665240) | more than 10 years ago | (#7277058)

In the latest news, since the PMCA (Printed Millenium Copyright Act) has passed in the last few hours, the BIAA (Book-ing Industry Association of America) has started printing on books that "books printed in other regions of the world are not to be imported in the USA. First offence is punishable with a reprimand letter, and if the felony is repeated, the crime is punishable with 10 years in prison."

The guidelines for one relevant section invoking Non-Patriotic Book-ing Transactions in the drafting the PMCA had been lifted from the MPAA strategy of dividing the world into "regions" so that products were deliberately crippled to work in only one region out of many that had been drawn up by the MPAA. In addition, the redrawing of the printed-book regions drew upon the recent legislative successes in the re-districting of Texas, also called Xtreme GerryMandering.

In an other related development, the Patriot Act has been invoked to open and check all book packages coming into the US. Additionally, the Ashcroftian-Feds have started entering public libraries and private libraries (i.e. book collections in the homes or dorms) to enforce these laws. As they do not have to intimate the suspects before and after the act, most people are unaware that the feds have been rummaging thru their books. Some private diaries have been exposed, and a clique of people referring themselves as /.'s (WTF) have especially been targeted for subversive reading of "filtered" news that has been the special target of the POTUS.

That's because stuff costs more in general (3, Insightful)

EvilStein (414640) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276886)

Average college tuition is up 40%
Textbook prices have gone up as well.

My paycheck, however, has most certainly *not* gone up 40%. Sad to say that average CEO compensation has gone up 17% over the past year.

No wonder people are importing books.. they can't afford to buy the stuff here!

Book stores are the suck (1)

erik umenhofer (782) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276889)

The ALWAYS charge me like 30-100$ more per book. And I usaully can find new books used on the net. I feel bad for the people who don't take the time to look and end up spending 600$ for stupid text books that they only use like 4 pages from, the system is jacked and I don't see what the professors get out of it. Can someone explain?

Re:Book stores are the suck (1)

Laplace (143876) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276898)

The U. of O. Bookstore is like this, but they take 10% of the final cost off at the register. What a sweet deal!

I have an idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7277076)

We need to start pirating textbooks because they're too damn expensive. If we had enough people kind enough to scan their books and distribute them in PDF form, starving(not so starving that they have access to computers) students around the world could save a pretty penny. I'm not advocating piracy in any way; I just think it's really cool and everybody should do it.

Re:Book stores are the suck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7277081)

I don't see what the professors get out of it

Who do you think writes textbooks?

ahh, arbitrage... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7276891)

I'm sure he'll be smacked down by some obscure provision of the DMCA or something. I mean, put together 1) a benefit to yourself and 2) "intellectual property" and it doesn't matter WHAT it is, somebody will sue you, shut your down, and take your life's savings.

Re:ahh, arbitrage... (1)

SoSueMe (263478) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276921)

Maybe not.
You buy the books, legally. You are free to do whatever you wish with them.

For now, that is.

Re:ahh, arbitrage... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7276947)

ahh, if only life was so simple.

do the textbooks use british spelling? (0, Redundant)

rfmobile (531603) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276899)

The brits like throwing in an extra vowel here and there. Color vs. colour, etc. -rick

Re:do the textbooks use british spelling? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7276919)

Well, if you want to be really accurate (and horribly picky), the Americans like dropping a few vowels here and there, not the other way around. ;)

Re:do the textbooks use british spelling? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7276978)

Sulfur looks ugly compared to Sulphur

Re:do the textbooks use british spelling? (1)

jeffy124 (453342) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276955)

interesting question. I know that for my Software Engineering text (by Ian Sommerville, 6th edition), the book contained British spellings for everything, for example "cheque," yet I think was published in the US. I dont have the book in front of me (it's at work), so I cant confirm.

Re:do the textbooks use british spelling? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7277011)

I doubt it, because vowels cost money( isnt it like $200? ) The books definately wouldn't be cheaper then.

Re:do the textbooks use british spelling? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7277067)

It's $250, you insensitive clod!

Lol, this reminds me of spelling in 3rd grade (1)

BoomerSooner (308737) | more than 10 years ago | (#7277032)

I argued with my teacher that armor could also be spelled armour in english.

Damn you Lord British!!!! Ultima III was my speak & spell.

Boomer Sooner

Re:do the textbooks use british spelling? (1)

Wakkow (52585) | more than 10 years ago | (#7277033)

"The brits like throwing in an extra vowel here and there."

You'd think that would make books over there more expensive.. The extra paper and ink, you know?

I'll second this-I imported my mMath book (5, Interesting)

BigDish (636009) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276900)

I imported my math book for my freshman math class last year from England. I bought it from a big UK bookstore (I think it was Allwell) and I paid something like $45 shipped for it to the US. Same edition as the one the bookstore had. Same ISBN number. Hardcover, etc...all in all, identicle to the one I would have bought at the bookstore on campus. The bookstore (and all US bookstores) sell that book for $120 or so, even used it's $80 at the bookstore.
I hate textbooks....99% of the time they are total ripoffs. The only textbooks I own that I think are useful I saw in the college bookstore, and bought used on half.com for my own personal use-not needed for any class.

Re:I'll second this-I imported my mMath book (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7277024)

It must have been cheaper because it mis-spelled "identical". ;-)

I've purchased textbooks from other countries (4, Informative)

muon1183 (587316) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276901)

This semester, I purchased several of my books online from sellers in other countries. One of the books, which came from Hong Kong, arrived the morning after I had purchased it. I purchased the book for less than 1/3 of the US price, and the seller was still making enough profit to be able to overnight the textbook to me. If this isn't a sure sign of an overpriced book, then I don't know what is.

In New Zealand... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7276902)

I live in New Zealand, and textbooks here cost about half price in retail shops than they would to import them from the US. In one of my papers a couple of years ago, the lecturer's recommended textbook was only available in the US and cost around $NZ230. Typically, a textbook here will be around $NZ100. Because of this huge cost, hardly anyone bought the textbook, even though the lecturer had arranged a deal where we wouldn't have to pay for shipping. Most of us were very surprised to hear that the situation was the same for most textbooks (ie, about twice the price in the US for exactly the same book).

fee's (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7276903)

How much would the duty fee's be? Enough to ruin his profit margin ?

Yeah (3, Insightful)

blackmonday (607916) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276905)

First medicine for the sick and elderly, now college textbooks. Why are Americans pushing profit margins up for these companies by paying higher prices than other prosperous countries?

Re:Yeah (2, Interesting)

HBI (604924) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276965)

The trade barriers that exist based upon national borders allow companies to practice alternative pricing schemes. Obviously, people are willing to pay the higher book prices in the US.

Those who are smart enough to figure out a way to evade it just won. Those who don't, lose.

Re:Yeah (1)

BWJones (18351) | more than 10 years ago | (#7277023)

It's not just the U.S. For instance in New Zealand, there is a 12% tax on books. (or at least that is what I was told when considering purchasing them here or there)

Re:Yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7277080)

uh, because they can?

What about safety? (5, Funny)

eap (91469) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276915)

How can we be sure textbooks imported from other countries have the same strict safety guidelines as those bought in the U.S.?

We must enact strict legilation to protect American citizens from this threat.

Re:What about safety? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7276927)

OH MY GOD WILL SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN???? (caps is like a histerical woman yelling this sentence is to reduce the UC/lc ratio)

Re:What about safety? (1)

decaying (227107) | more than 10 years ago | (#7277012)

Americans have all the paper edges turned to protect innocent fingertips from paper cuts do they?

Not just the books (1, Interesting)

BenjyD (316700) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276916)

For example, tuition alone for undergraduates at Harvard is currently $26,066 a year as compared with $1,840 at Oxford University.

I guess we British students should stop moaning so much.

Re:Not just the books (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7277008)

Of course that will soon go upto $10,000 per annum and almost certainly more after the end of the next Parliament, you have to remember that your average middle class family has a much higher tax burden in the UK, so you're being asked to pay for your education twice over! Like paying for the NHS then going private.

why are you an idiot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7276925)

if someone will post the google link "any minute now", then what exactly is stopping you from taking the 20 seconds required to find it yourself?

slashdot is run by retarded kindergarteners, admit it...

Imported textbooks from England ? (0)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276929)

For Americans, Imported Textbooks Can Be Cheaper

Yes, they come out of the printer's estate in big cardboxes, are stocked on his car park for a while, then lorry drivers arrive and queue up to load them, they transport them on the motorway to the nearest port, then it's shipped over the pond.

America just has to post the order to get them, and the shipment arrives some weeks later in the port of Bostom. I hear there are complaints about the price of postage stamps to mail the orders though ...

Internet furthers capitalism (4, Insightful)

DeepDarkSky (111382) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276930)

The Internet, if anything, empowers capitalism even more precisely because of this kind of thing. The Internet enlarges the market, making it possible to compete at a level like never before by eliminating geographic boundaries (to an extent) and reduce localization of markets.

Why do these kinds of exclamations make it into the story anyway? I thought there were editors for these things....oh wait, this is slashdot, nevermind.

Re:Internet furthers capitalism (3, Insightful)

cgranade (702534) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276985)

Why do these kinds of exclamations make it into the story anyway? I thought there were editors for these things....oh wait, this is slashdot, nevermind.
Look at the tagline for the article: "from the this-trumps-capitalism-how-exactly dept," and you'll see that the editors did in fact take issue with that exclamation to some degree, though not strongly enough to edit the article itself.

buying from the US (2, Informative)

rendermaniac (688883) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276931)

Funny. I always find it the other way around. Admittedly my only experience is really with Amazon. The UK version often has less books on offer, at higher prices and longer delivery times. It's often been simpler for me to buy at the US store in US dollars and wait the extra 5 days than buy it here.

Re:buying from the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7276997)

USia produces cheap bad food, guns, and all kinds of products for very cheap, yes. Education however is rare there, so they have to import.

Now I wonder... (1)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276933)

...when e-books will be accepted as widespread classroom help. In this case, you buy a reader (a laptop?) at the start of the school and then, well, we all know how it's with all software and other data with students... :) No more paying for books!

Ah well, if you're entitled to free education, why can't it be really free?

So... (1)

ForestGrump (644805) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276935)

Once again, it proves that college bookstores aren't "Non-Profit" and like the university as a whole is out to "rape the students".

University cafetria, housing, fees, text books, parking, parking tickets, this feee, that fee...

Which is worse? The "University" or the RIAA?
-Grump

Re:So... (1)

peeping_Thomist (66678) | more than 10 years ago | (#7277065)

the university as a whole is out to "rape the students".

Many, many schools have contracted out cafeteria, bookstore and even housing to outside companies, because they couldn't afford to run them themselves. I personally know of several universities that have done this. It's not the university as a whole out to rape you. The university as a whole realized that it was losing a lot of money on things like bookstores and cafeterias, so it has handed over those operations to outside companies -- which in turn are definitely out to rape you!


The university as a whole, however, continues to wish you and yours well.

The Whole Thing is a Scam (1)

mhlandrydotnet (677863) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276944)

Personally, I think the whole textbook thing is a scam. The textbook makers and campus bookstores have teamed up to see exactly how much money they can screw students out of.

So I have to buy a half inch thick book for $120. Fine, I can put up with that. But next semester, I sell it back and get $20 if I'm lucky (and the bookstore will sell it for $90!). And then there's the whole bs about changing edititions every semester or every other semester. Half the time, I can't even sell my book back for that crappy price because there is a new edition. And when you are buying books for a class and come upon a book with a new edition, you obviously can't buy any used copies so you have to shell out another hundred and change.

Pleh. Pardon my ranting.

currency exchange (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7276945)

Oh wait, those prices were in pounds! Damnit! I thought I was going to be a millionaire.

Does amazon.co.uk pay return shipping???

Cheaper over here? (0, Troll)

nanoakron (234907) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276946)

Things cheaper on this side of the Atlantic?

First I've ever heard of it...

Petrol (Gas) - about US$5/gallon
Cigs - About US$7/pack
Average CD - About US$22
Tiny house, no land - US$300,000 even outside cities.

So stop bitching already.

-Nano.

Re:Cheaper over here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7277064)

B-o-o h-o-o. Choke on a bowl of cocks and die!

Cheap overseas textbooks are harmful to them (4, Interesting)

u19925 (613350) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276949)

American publishers sell their books cheap in third world with the pretext that the students can't afford expensive text books. However, the truth is that they are doing dumping and hurting the local publishing industry. If you can get K & R C programming book for less than $2 in India, why would any Indian professor write another book on C? The only way to prevent such dumping is to send back these books back to US and that would teach a nice lesson to big publishers here

I bought mine K&R C book and many other books from India and good to hear that others too are getting the word out.

URLs please? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7276989)

Post URL to some good online bookstores in India, please. (I'm pretty sure the best advertised ones are the most expensive so first hand links are preferred)

Google link to the article (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7276952)

Ha! Tricked ya! No Google link here.

Subscribe to NY Times, you GNU hippies!!!

example (3, Informative)

Wakkow (52585) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276958)

Here's an example for a book I needed this quarter:

Digital System Design Using VHDL [addall.com]

$59 (shipping included) to get it from the UK shipped priority to me in California. $115 at amazon new, $65 or so used. Took only a few days, the same it'd take if I bought it in the US, and probably quicker than the Media Mail that amazon marketplace and half.com usually offer.

Once there was an optional book I wanted to study from that went for about $50-$60 on half.com. Saw a used one on ebay for $15 that looked pretty much new when I got it.

bok store r teh suk (1)

calcifer (649855) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276959)

well, some people steal their text books, some people buy them used, some people import them. I on the other hand have a solution that gets me FREE albeit illegal textbooks. borrow the text book from someone, spend a couple hours photocopying it at my fathers office, and i save myself $150. not bad for 2 hours work. sure its illegal, but morally i feel pretty fucking righteous, considering the inflated cost of the text books at the store.

education? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7276961)

this proves, yet again, that american colleges care more about making money than anything else.

how about the insane WRONGITUDE of textbooks (1)

treat (84622) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276964)

Children in public schools in the US are given textbooks that are full of inaccuracy. It ranges from the misleading, to the incomplete, to the completely incorrect. There is no proper system to have the books reviewed by intelligent people with the interests of truly educating the students. Feynman tells an interesting story [redshift.com] in one of his books about what really goes on. Of course this isn't how they screw it up every time. The other half of the time they don't even pretend to have a review process.

Well, back when I was in college..... (1)

g0hare (565322) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276971)

I just went to class and took notes (actually I went to the first class, found some girl and stole notes from her for the rest of the semester) and checked the text out of the library. they normally had several copies of the required materials, I never had a problem getting the texts.

My expeirence. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7276972)

Textbooks are cheaper online but the shipping on most books just about makes up for the price difference. Hard cover books are heavy.

Economies of scale and customer service (3, Interesting)

jrsimmons (469818) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276973)

The only piece of this that really surprises me is that the kid was able to sell enough books to make up for the overhead of shipping. One would expect some guy selling books to be cheaper than the on-campus store. No rent, not utilities, and no customer service. What happens when, say, someone who bought from this kid finds that half of chapter 6 is missing? He's out of luck. Theoretically, at a book store (I know, I know, university books stores are reknowned for "you bought it, you deal with it" attitudes), you could return it for a whole book.

This kid has become an active participant of our free market economy. Identify a product people want or need (the book), identify a way to cut the cost to that customer (resale and no guarantee), and do business where the customer already is (outside the class where the book is needed).

We know the nytimes requires registration already- (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7276976)

so stop telling us every time! It's annoying!

Re:We know the nytimes requires registration alrea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7277082)

BTW, TJI: NYTimes requires you to register to see the story. Just wanted to keep you in the loop.

I'd go insane. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7276979)

I think I'd go insane if I imported a text book. All of the misspellings; It's COLOR DAMNIT!!!

CD's and DVD (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7276983)

Hurray, but whilst you're on Amazon UK just take a look at the price of CD's and DVD's, that's enough to make your eyes water.

Books are one of the few items exempt from the universal 17.5% sales tax imposed by your friendly British Government, much unlike 85% fuel tax or being left with $50,000 worth of debts when you leave Uni after your parents have paid 40% tax all of their working life.

Language Differences (1)

CybrGuyRSB (410357) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276986)

Just wondering, is anything worded or spelled differently in the British ones?

Re:Language Differences (1)

grub (11606) | more than 10 years ago | (#7277042)


Just wondering, is anything worded or spelled differently in the British ones?

Yes.
In the US versions a book may say "Micro$oft iz teh gay" where the Brit versions say "Microoft iz teh guay, mate."

Re:Language Differences (1)

Triskele (711795) | more than 10 years ago | (#7277071)

Just wondering, is anything worded or spelled differently in the British ones?
Yes, the British textbooks use a language called English and (modulo the author's ability) demonstrate correct spelling and grammar. You won't find words like 'color' or 'gray'.

college bookstores are the problem (4, Informative)

markov_chain (202465) | more than 10 years ago | (#7276999)

A textbook was selling for $120 at my local college bookstore. This was the list price! I bet they would charge more if the list price let them. Anyway, I got the same book on Amazon for $60, free shipping, which was in the US. So it's not the foreign books that are cheaper-- the markup happens in the college bookstore.

Intro to marketing... (1)

winstarman (624536) | more than 10 years ago | (#7277003)

In my 375 level Intro to Marketing class I use an english paperback version of the textbook imported from India of all places... saved me about a bit of money. Brand new would have been over $100, I paid $35 on half.com

I'm all about it :-)

Great deal, but ... (3, Interesting)

mfago (514801) | more than 10 years ago | (#7277005)

the printing and binding is often pretty bad.

Most of the students from South America and Asia bring these books from home, and often they are essentially softcover photocopies. Still worth it to get a $120 book for $20, as long as you don't need it for a life-long reference.

Both prescription drugs and books -- 10x the price in the USA than anywhere else.

Only half? (0)

arak (632721) | more than 10 years ago | (#7277007)

Forget England. My brother wanted a text book that cost 125$, way too expensive for a student. The exact same book cost me Rs.400 in India (thats about 10$)!!!. Sure it wasent hard-bound and the paper quality sucked, but otherwise it was the exact same book. Even with courier delivery my brother saved a cool 100$.

Woo-hoo for the UK. (1)

leastsquares (39359) | more than 10 years ago | (#7277016)

The UCSD Campus bookstore regularly has second-hand textbooks at a higher price than new versions from England.

Looking at the shelf by my head, of the 26 books there, 18 were bought from England.

(about half are technical books, they all came from England. 25% are extreme sport guides and 25% are travel guides, most of these came from the US, and the remainder are popular science books, these all came from England. Oh, and there is a book about brewing real ale which, ironically, came from the US.)

Oh my God!!!! (1)

frank_adrian314159 (469671) | more than 10 years ago | (#7277018)

... the very same college textbooks used in the United States sell for half price, or less, in England.

The FDA has already warned everyone about low priced and "possibly dangerous" foreign drugs. We need a new government agency to prevent the terrible prospect of people getting their hands on this potentially hazardous foreign knowledge.

I'd put it under the National Security Advisor and military - they've been pretty good about keeping any reliable foreign intelligence out of the White House...

how does the textbook system work? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7277025)

as i recall from my days at uni the profs holy grail was book publishing, alone or with jointly with other profs. publish or perish and all that.

thus there is a small market for these very specialised books. the average joe is not particularly interested in theory and practice of microwave antennas, etc.

my upper level courses all averaged about $100 per course in textbooks...and that was buying them used. everyone i knew sold them back at the end of the semester and hoped they did not have a new edition out, rendering our books worthless.

we also had a number of independent college bookstores up the street, they were kind of cool because they would buy our books back if they were in use at another campus, the bookstore didn't do that, as i recall.

it's giving me the heebie jeebies just thinking about all the time and money i spent in college, my parents gave me about $10,000 and I had $21,000 saved up from a job, plus i worked a ratty part-time to get through. never had any financial aid or grants. i ran up about $7,000 on credit cards, too.

overall i think my 6 years cost me $68,000 here in california but it was worth it now i have it all paid off, twice that amount in liquid assets, a house, motorcycle and two year old truck (all free and clear) and a fun job working on linux stuff so i guess it worked out.

Overseas textbooks are the way to go. (1)

playbass (683381) | more than 10 years ago | (#7277026)

I ended up saving $150+ this semester by buying textbooks online from private individuals. Many of them from overseas. A systems analyst and design book that normally goes for $100 in the states I got for $25. Same book, except that it was an edition that was only supposed to be sold in India. A calculus book I needed went for $30 instead of $100...the list goes on. My trick is to go to the University bookstore and lookup which books are required for my class, then record their ISBN numbers so I can find it online!

Finding the lowest prices (1)

Ellen Spertus (31819) | more than 10 years ago | (#7277027)

I refer my students to addall.com [addall.com]. Instead of paying nearly $100 for one of the best CS books ever [mit.edu], they paid about $30 per copy. I hope the authors still get their share.

Re:Finding the lowest prices (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7277074)

...they paid about $30 per copy.

Or, following the link directly on the page [mit.edu], then could essentially have the book for free.

Re:Finding the lowest prices (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7277087)

You paid $30 for a book that is available for free (as in beer) from that very same url?

This is outrageous! (3, Funny)

Heghta' (246911) | more than 10 years ago | (#7277050)

"This is outrageous" was among the comments heard fom Jack Ripov, spokesman of the TBAA, the Text Book Association of America.

He also stated that, "Selling those books at such low prices in America is obviously going to hurt quality. We spend a lot of money to make that our customers only receive top notch quality products. Now the market gets swamped with british textbooks that spell words like color or aluminun wrong, hurting the spelling of many students here, yes, very undermining what this country stands for. But we will not watch this idly!"

This comment is obviously a reference to the soon to be introduced move to region-encoded textbooks.

When asked how region-encoded textbooks would work, Mr Ripov was kind of enough to supply us with some basic details.
"You see, everyone who wants to use a textbook will get a new device implanted into his brain ensuring that they only use textbooks from their Region. If you would start to read a textbook from another region, the device would simply tap into a neural interface and deactivate your eyes, effectively stopping you from violating our IP rights."
When asked what about persons who would not have such a device implanted into their brains, Ripov replied: "Well, obviously we will have to deal with those unamerican IP-terrorists as well, but we have a strong case there that reading a textbook without a brain control device is in violation of the DMCA, and we will not hesitate to enfore our rights in court."

wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7277053)

wow, just checked it out and sure enough, Boyce & Diprima's ODE book is $126.40 from Amazon US and 31 pounds (~$54) from amazon.uk. It's 7 pounds for airmail shipping to CA so I can get it for under $70. The scary thing is that I paid less than $50 for this book in 1985 and I'm sure the underlying math hasn't changed since then. :(

You get what you pay for? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7277055)

The Guardian [guardian.co.uk] reprints a story that may explain some of the difference in price.

For what it's worth, books in India are cheaper yet; I know people with some books (e.g., Radia Perleman's "Interconnections") purchased at a tenth the US price. It's a special India-only edition (or so it says).

Banning imports? (1)

kscguru (551278) | more than 10 years ago | (#7277061)

"This is a season when textbook publishers get kicked around a lot, and they're feeling vulnerable," Mr. Adler said. "The practice of selling U.S. products abroad at prices keyed to the local market is longstanding. It's not unusual, it doesn't violate public policy and it's certainly not illegal. But publishers are still coming to terms with the dramatic change in the law."

It is longstanding, it makes economic sense, but it's not necessarily legal. More specifically, banning imported books in the US is illegal (everything else is fine, and business as usual).

When a company puts that "not for sale in the US" sticker on a book, they are artificially creating two markets. This is ONLY legal if the company is not a monopoly - it's the basic definition OF a monopoly! And I have yet to see one of my textbooks distributed by more than one publisher. (Hint: anyone heard of a legal case involving someone disobeying a "not for sale in the US" sticker?)

My take:
Importing "International edition" and selling it on the cheap = OKAY.
Publishers sueing/punishing/criminalizing imported books and importers = NOT OKAY.

But then again, I'm just a Slashdotter, IANAL, who's gonna listen to me? :-)

This just in! (1)

Anubis333 (103791) | more than 10 years ago | (#7277072)

New Paper DRM created by the Publishing Indusrty Association of America (PIAA). The book is shrink wrapped in a EULA that you agree with upon breaking said wrapping. The EULA makes it illegal to to take the ship the book out of your specific region. It utilizes a small GPS chip in the back of the textbook, upon leaving a publisher designated geographic region or tampering with said chip, the digital "paper" the book is printed on turns black.

-----------just kidding-------------
Quick! patent this technology! Before they do!

Obgligated (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7277077)

This time it actually works!
1) Import expensive textbooks inexpensively from other countries
2) Sell them at a much more expensive-yet-less-than-they-sell-it price
3) PROFIT!!!!!

screw the books, its the answers that matter. (0)

nealrs (75987) | more than 10 years ago | (#7277088)

so. regardless of how cool it is to be getting your books online, thats not the cool part. Ive been doing that for three years. Youd be surprised how fast books get here via DHL from Honk Kong or anywhere else. You have to check to make sure the problems match up - but they usually do

Like I said, the real cool part is how easy it is to get solution cds to the books now. I can get the entire solution manual scanned into pdfs or jpgs on a cd for maybe 30 bucks. Thats a huge timesaver when I need the answers to problem sets before a test, or when I need to prove to myself that a book's answer is wrong.

Granted, you can abuse these solutions easily and lose the motivation to actually do your homework. Still, I think the availability of these solution discs is a huge boon to my college education. -nrs

KNOWLEDGE IS FREE... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7277091)

So why do my damn textbooks cost so much?

I have 2 professors - with no textbooks.

One writes his notes neatly for the overhead projector, and passes copies of the notes out to the class, so you don't even have to scribble while he talks - THIS MAN IS A GOD.

The second professor had students break into groups of 2, and each day a group presents all the useful info they could find on their assigned topic, then the professor would add additional info from the latest publications. By the end of the semester, we will have assembled a state-of-the-industry textbook!
THIS MAN IS A MEGA-GOD!

Math, Physics, Chemistry, History - all this info needs to be free - without the 'textbook tax' universities insist on charging students.

p.s.

CAN WE SUE THE PUBLISHERS FOR BACK INJURY?
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