Our View: Buying internationally saves you financially
Published: Monday, February 18, 2013
Updated: Monday, February 18, 2013 17:02
At this point in the semester if you purchased your books using a credit card you may just be finding out how expensive your textbooks really are.
The high cost of textbooks can act as the Achilles heel for college students. According to the National Association of College Stores, in 2012 students could expect to pay $655 for their classroom supplies. Other sources quote the price of required textbooks and supplies cost over $1,100.
To combat these high prices, students seek to buy used books from local book stores. Students also purchase books new or used online which can further scale back the price of paying for the overhead of a brick and mortar store. Some students have purchased tablets, giving them the option of buying eBooks. If students don’t care about owning textbooks, there is usually a renting option.
What if there was was another option that allowed students to buy their textbooks brand new and up to 75 percent less than the normal retail price?
International textbooks have been sold in our country for the past decade or so as the Internet and improved shipping removed shopping barriers in foreign markets.
Don’t be confused by the title “International Edition,” as these books are simply printed by the same major publishing companies in foreign countries and have a slightly different cover picture. While not all textbooks have international editions, the ones that do are guaranteed to have identical content and of course are written in English.
Buying international textbooks is an easy way for students to get the books they need at a more bearable price.
In the U.S., book publishers base their book prices upon the strength of the economy. Since the U.S. has a strong economy, textbook publishing companies artificially raise their prices.
Whereas, in foreign countries prices are reduced so that students can afford to purchase them, changing our $125 biology book into $25.
With the global recession in 2008 you would have expected a reduction in book prices. Sadly students have had no such luck seeing a reduction in prices.
In fact major publishing companies have brought lawsuits against sellers of their international textbooks. Although it is legal to purchase and use international textbooks, it is still being determined whether or not it is legal to sell these books on the open market. The Supreme Court is expected to rule on this issue in June.
Until publishing companies can establish reasonable prices for their American markets, students will continue to be forced to pay exceedingly high prices or go without textbooks for classes.
Thankfully not all the loopholes have been filled for students to purchase some of their books from international markets. . . at least for now.
“Our View” is written by the editorial staff. The opinions are not necessarily reflective of the student body, faculty or administration of Arkansas State University.