International Edition textbooks are a tremendous help to high school and University students that are trying to save money whenever possible while on their road to academic success. In fact, some students often report saving as much as 75% when they buy the international edition textbook rather than purchasing virtually the same textbook at their college’s bookstore. While you may not be fortunate enough to save 75% on all of your textbook purchases, most students report saving around 50% on average when they choose to buy international edition textbooks.
So, why are international edition textbooks so much cheaper than their “local" counterparts? There are a few common answers to this question. Essentially, these textbooks were developed in a way that they could be sold to often impoverished students around the globe for the lowest cost possible, while still maintaining a profit for the textbook publishers.
Many of these international edition textbooks use a slightly different cover page. Most of them also use a different ISBN than the U.S. Version. Sometimes the binding on these textbooks may not be as durable as their American counterparts as well. Oftentimes, international edition textbooks will be printed completely in black and white too. Most often these textbooks will include the exact same supplementary material as the American version, but sometimes they do not. Despite these few minor differences, international edition textbooks usually contain the exact same content and the exact same page layout as the American versions. The textbook publishing industry can be likened to the healthcare industry in the sense that both of these industry’s products are often much cheaper overseas than they are the United States.
International edition textbooks have gained in popularity over recent years as the economies of many major countries have taken a severe hit. As one can imagine, textbook publishers would prefer to keep a lid on the fact that students, especially American students, can oftentimes purchase the exact same textbook that they are currently using for half the price they paid at their college bookstore. The textbook publishing industry has launched several advertising campaigns in the past that were geared towards insinuating that students who were buying these international edition textbooks were violating various copyright laws.
Admittedly, the copyright laws of different countries and how these copyright laws interact with one another in regards to this particular issue of international edition textbooks can quickly become a confusing mass when attempting to make “heads or tails" of what is legal and what is illegal. The textbook publishing industry took advantage of this confusion and used it to play on students’ fears of being charged with a crime for simply finding the best deal on their required textbook. In fact, in a recent United States Supreme Court decision, it was clarified that students in the United States have every right to buy international edition textbooks. Read The NY Times article on the ruling here.