Query: Books International Edition

Hi All,

I am looking at the books that I need to use for my classes in Spring and found that they have international editions for them, which are actually cheaper than used ones from amazon.


  1. Is it legal to buy International edition book in US?

  2. Do a lot of students at school use Int Ed?

    What is your experience with these books if any?


I have never heard of this, but am curious to know. Of course in my mind I am seeing a RIAA type thug squad knocking on your door to question and sue you for buying “illegal” books.

Check this … I am tempted to buy, but trying not be a bad citizen (which I am NOT yet.). This is more than 50% less for a new book on amazon.


Supreme court says it’s legal


Thanks. It could be a political issue, I guess I will have to hide it if I decide to take it to school.

Or for next semester everyone in my class will be buying international Eds (assuming they do not know this already).

I would go for it. I hope that more students will do that actually. Hopefully this will bring in some good competition to see a decrease in the prices of books here.

There are no reasons that a book should be more expensive here than elsewhere (except for local competition and the common corporate wisdom that says that US students must be ripped off). I think that publishers would still do just fine if their books were a little cheaper.

I get a little concerned by the education issue. With two kids that will go to college in 15 years or so, I keep wondering what the cost of higher education will be. I am not even sure, given the salaries, that getting a diploma will be a good deal in the future. We’ll see.

bought it!

Great, i used international version for BIO and orgsnic chemistry; more than half of the students in my class used this version as well.

They are a lot cheaper and has the same material.

What I’ve seen is that the binding is different for international editions - paperback vs hardback, usually. That would account for the difference in price.

Would anyone know if International Eds have the access code as US Eds?


Is online content helpul/useful?

Is online content not covered in the text?

Is it possible to buy a 2nd hand US Ed, and not buy the online access code and still not miss out on much?

Thanks for all your replies.

You definitely enter a mixed up world here. A lot of online retailers will list a book, cheap, and not tell you it’s the international edition. Lots of people will also tell you that the international edition could be different, and not to risk it for classes. Lots of weird monkeying with ISBN numbers too.

I know a few people that bought them for classes I’m also in, and have not had any issues at all. Yes, the books are paperback, and probably have a cheaper overall level of quality to them, but screw it. $290 for an Organic Chemistry book (retail price) is just stupid. If you can get it for $40, I would do it (as an example). I spent over $700 for needed books this past semester. In the future, if available, I will by the cheap ones.

I have never used the online codes in my textbooks. That being said at one of the schools I attended they had online access to that stuff and allowed everyone to use it. I did use that and found it pretty helpful, depending on how you study. There were activities to help you remember vocab and extra study questions. Do I think having them helped, yes. Do I think I would have gotten the same grade without them, yes. The only professors who ever talked about the online stuff were the ones who had access codes for everyone, not just those that bought a new book.

P.S. I kind of think the online code stuff is just a way to try to keep folks from buying used or renting texts.

As far as I know (an based on my own experience), it is sometimes possible to buy an access code separately. The new book is usually the price of the book+access code. If you buy an used book, you may still purchase an access code (again based on my own experience).

Note that I can’t say if this is a rule. It has been for me thus far. I haven’t bought new books yet. Just used one or borrowed them.

I used international editions for most of my text books when doing my postbacc. They usually had the access code, however I bought these new from Amazon UK or CA. I found that they lighter with softcovers and cheaper. For example, I got my organic chem text and solutions manual cheaper from amazon UK than the cost of the US hardcover text alone.

My particular school made extensive use on online internal BlackBoard website as well as quizzes from publisher’s site.

However, for a few courses, where the professor told us we could use the previous edition ($20 bucks vs $100 bucks) I had to buy a separate online code.

Lastly, I found a few publishers sites had the instructors site freely open, particularly for previous editions so I could download the powerpoints prior to class

Perfect, thanks everyone.

  • Kate429 Said:
What I've seen is that the binding is different for international editions - paperback vs hardback, usually. That would account for the difference in price.

A bit of an old post here (and I suppose a weird first post, but, eh).

The difference in cost to the publisher for hardcover vs softcover is roughly a quarter. Not a quarter of the price: 25 cents.

But we've been socially programmed to think of them being worth far more, so we all assume the 300% markup is reasonable.

And I'd do some checking when buying International versions-I've run into a one that a little research showed was significantly different than the US version. Annoying since that ended up being a $165 used US version book vs $50 new international =x