The Pros and Cons of Using Etextbooks for College Students
A number of college students buy or rent the e-textbooks they require for their courses as opposes to traditional paper textbooks.
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E-Textbooks have become very common and very handy for college students, since they are light and take up no space, they do not need to be carried around in knapsacks, they do need to be stacked on shelves, and since they are electronic, no trees are cut down to create them, which has high environmental utility and impact.
However, several downsides exist to relying exclusively on e-textbooks, namely the fact that they cannot always be easily accessed. This article discusses several of the pros and cons that college students need to consider before they decide to buy or rent e-textbooks for their classes.
College e-textbooks will likely continue to in popularity in the coming years. That said, a few problems still exist. What follows is a list of pros and cons for college students to consider before they make their purchase decisions.
|Cheaper than traditional hardcover paper textbooks||E-textbooks still require hardware to be read upon, which can equate to a high start-up cost if students do not own a Kindle, PC, iPad or another e-reading platform device|
|E-textbooks are searchable. Therefore students can access information faster than traditional indexing||Some e-textbooks are less interactive and do not contain videos, games or other interactive features|
|E-textbooks tend to be significantly cheaper than standard textbooks||However, most e-textbooks cannot be resold, so students lose the opportunity to make a bit of money at the semester end|
|No trees are cut down to create e-textbooks; therefore, they represent an environmental option for students||E-textbooks can malfunction, and they can also seize due to viruses. Students are well-advised to check into their refund options if anything goes wrong with the e-textbook before they purchase or rent the e-textbook|
|Students typically have the option to take notes directly on the screen of the e-textbook reading software or app, as well as to highlight important sections of the e-textbook in preparation for exams, essays or quizzes||E-textbooks may not be appropriate for certain subjects such as art, art history or architecture, since the full-color plates in many of these textbooks will be of superlative quality as yet unmatched in the e-textbook|
By far, the most cost-effective choice for cash strapped college students is e-textbook rental. A rented e-textbook will cost significantly less than a traditional hardcover textbook, sometimes as much as 70 to 80 percent less than the listed price.
In addition, rented e-textbooks offer all of the benefits of the e-textbooks that have been purchased, and students do not need to worry about trying to resell the e-textbooks at the end of the semester. They simply return the rented e-textbook as per their rental agreement. College students can rent e-textbooks for whatever the duration they need – from 30 days to a full year at 360 days.
E-textbooks can also be rented for as little one day, in the event that the student needs a quick study brush-up on the text to prepare for an exam or make-up assignment. Students can also easily transfer their rental agreement into a purchase agreement if they like the book and decide they want to keep it. Cheap e-textbooks are also adaptable to any and all forms of technology, including the Kindle, iPad, a PC laptop or Mac, or a mobile device.
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Campus Textbooks Can Never Be Purchased At Your Campus Bookstore
At the beginning of the semester, a number of college students may find themselves tempted to purchase all of the college textbooks they need for their courses at the campus textbooks retailers such as the college campus bookstore. The beginning of the semester is an exciting time, and it can seem more convenient to get everything you need in one place so that you can get started right away.
However, bear in mind that campus textbooks tend to be significantly more expensive than rented textbooks, e-textbooks, and textbooks that can be purchased online. The following article offers some helpful insight into why students should avoid the campus bookstore and either rent or buy their campus textbooks online or in electronic format to save money.
Traditional campus bookstores are often the most expensive places to buy textbooks. The prices for campus textbooks remain high at the college bookstores for a number of reasons, including:
- printing and production cost
- the costs involved in paying the writers, editors, photographers, and illustrators who create the book.
In addition, the campus bookstore will tack on a mark-up of anywhere from 30 to 40 percent on the list price of the textbook in order to generate some profit for the college. In addition, college students who study in the hard sciences such as chemistry, biology, and engineering typically end up paying the most for campus textbooks, since professors have been slow to embrace the electronic versions of textbooks in these areas of study.
The bias for many professors is still to list the hardcover textbook on the syllabus, especially since the faculties of most colleges have a direct and longstanding relationship with textbook publishers. Until this business model changes, college students will likely continue to be hit with astronomical textbook prices to the tune of $500 to $600 per semester when they purchase their textbooks directly from the campus bookstore.
The best option for college students is to circumvent the college bookstore altogether. Although this requires a little leg work, the savings can be as much as 80 percent. E-textbooks are becoming more and more available, even in the applied sciences, and they will cost as much as 60 percent less than their paper counterparts.
Students can purchase and download e-textbooks to their Sony Reader, Kindle, iPad, or another e-reader online. In addition, e-textbooks are often sold on a chapter by chapter basis, so college students are encouraged to find out which chapters the professor will be using for the semester and only purchase those chapters as opposed to the whole e-textbook.
Campus textbook rental offers another economical alternative to pricey textbooks purchased from the campus bookstore. Again, students will need to do a little research to discover which books and chapters the professor will be using and then rent those directly from the college bookstore. Online vendors will also rent e-textbooks.
In 2011, Amazon began to make electronic versions of college textbooks available for the Kindle at a fraction of the cost of their hardcover counterparts for college students in the United States, and other countries will certainly follow suit. Therefore, with a little initiative and elbow grease, students can take charge of their finances and not go broke at the beginning of the semester by avoiding the campus textbooks bookstore experience completely.
How To Pack The Textbooks You Wish To Sell For Textbook Buyback
Textbook buyback online is a service that students can use to earn extra money when they need it most. A number of bookstores and online vendors offer textbook buyback services, including most campus bookstores. Bookstores and online vendors that buyback textbooks typically ask that the textbooks be packaged in a specific way using waybills or tracking numbers that they provide to the customer.
It is imperative that students who wish to take advantage of the college textbook buyback option follow the vendor’s instructions to the letter, otherwise, in some cases, the company will return the textbooks and refuse to honor the textbooks buyback agreement. The following article offers some tips into how to pack your buyback textbooks to ensure that the process goes smoothly and that you get your money.
Textbook buyback refers to the process of companies such as bookstores or online textbook vendors giving students money for the textbooks that they no longer need once their classes have finished. It is a simple and reliable method that students can use to earn some money at the end of the semester and recoup a portion of the front-end costs of their college textbooks.
Textbook buyback is especially popular and useful among students in the applied sciences and engineering since the textbooks for these disciplines regularly cost hundreds of dollars. Bookstores, particularly campus bookstores, can sometimes offer as much as 50 percent of the retail price of the textbook; however, several factors may reduce the amount of money you receive.
- If the textbook is battered, heavily highlighted, or damaged in some way such as stained or missing pages, the company will likely not honor the buyback agreement
- Similarly, if the textbook has gone into a new edition, then the company will not buy it back.
When you enter into a textbook buyback agreement with a campus bookstore or online textbook vendor, you need to follow the packing instructions implicitly. Make sure that you include all of the ancillary items that came with the textbooks, such as CD-ROMs or DVDs. Place the CDs and DVDs within the textbooks to protect them during shipment.
Avoid placing them loosely in the box, since they can often get crushed during shipment. Avoid wrapping the textbooks in the newspaper, since the ink may transfer onto the textbooks during transit and damage the textbooks and lead to rejection. Pack your textbooks in a solid, thick cardboard box, one that is in good shape and can withstand shipping.
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Place the textbooks in a box that fits them all securely, with no large spaces left inside the box, so that the books do not shift around too much during shipment. Include the packing slip and an extra-label inside the textbooks, just in case the packing slip on the outside of the box gets torn in transit.
It is imperative that you tape all sides of the box securely, especially the bottom edges since textbooks are often quite heavy and can slip through an improperly sealed box. The best kind of tape to use is packing tape, which is available at any dollar store. Also, use bubble wrap and some sort of plastic wrapping around the textbooks before you seal the box. This will make sure that they do not undergo any water or moisture damage while in transit.
Go, Green! Renting your Textbooks can Help the Environment
Renting college textbooks is an excellent way for students to reduce their impact on the environment. College students who rent textbooks as opposed to purchasing them can contribute to the following environmental benefits:
- less paper
- in turn, fewer trees being cut down
- better air quality
- overall more sustainable business practices in the publishing industry, which for many years has contributed significantly to environmental damage through carbon emissions from shipping as well as cutting down millions of trees.
Going green through renting college textbooks addresses many environmental concerns, namely because the same textbooks can be used and reused many times, which leads to less packaging and overall far less use of paper. Certain companies will also buyback textbooks from college students; this allows the textbook to be reused again and again. This article discusses how students who wish to go green may want to consider renting their textbooks to affect the environment in a positive way.
The textbook publishing industry definitely exacts a significant impact on the environment, according to RentScouter. Over 186 million textbooks are produced and purchased each year in the United States. The average tree will provide over 8000 sheets of paper; however, the average length of a college textbook is 500 pages.
In total, therefore, over 11 million trees are cut down each year to produce new textbooks. This number will be significantly reduced if students rent their textbooks and reuse them a number of times instead of buying them once and then stashing them away on a shelf to collect dust.
A number of companies that rent textbooks to college students engage in environmentally conscious and sustainable activities in addition to renting college textbooks. Chegg.com, for example, has worked with the American Forest Global ReLeaf program for the past three years in a concerted effort to go green.
Each time a college student rents a book from Chegg.com, the company plants a tree. Under the American Forest Global ReLeaf program, Chegg.com has planted almost three million trees in locations all over the world, including Guatemala, Cameroon, and Lake Tahoe.
Another company that students can rent textbooks from is BookRenter. BookRenter has been certified by the Santa Clara Green Business program and has developed a partnership with the organization CarbonFund.org to minimize the carbon impact of shipping their products by going green.
BookRenter also works to reduce landfill emissions, including methane gas and is a signatory of the Green Printing Initiative’s Book Industry Treatise, an agreement designed to minimize the environmental impact of the publishing industry as a whole.
Students can also contribute in a significant way to the reduction of trees by renting e-textbooks for their classes instead of buying hardcover paper textbooks. More and more professors and universities are turning to electronic textbooks, and as the technology improves and the availability of e-textbooks increases, fewer and fewer trees will be involved in the publishing industry.
Another way that students can go green is to purchase their e-textbooks on a chapter by chapter basis; in many cases, publishers such as Cengage are actively shifting their business models to more sustainable practices such as these.
The environmental benefits that students can engage will also lead to a much more inexpensive semester. Renting textbooks and renting e-textbooks, therefore, not only help the environment, they help students hold on to more of their hard-earned cash.
The Top 8 Sites to Find Free Textbooks on the Internet
Everyone knows that the Internet is the best place to find stuff for free, and college textbooks are no exception to this rule. A number of sites offer access to free textbooks and also rent textbooks for free in a variety of disciplines that can help students save money on their textbooks and supplies. Free textbooks are available online in virtually every subject matter, from applied sciences to business and economics. The following article lists 10 of the best sites online to find and download free textbooks.
- Open Culture, The Open Culture site, offers free audiobooks and free textbooks in a variety of topics, including Art History, Biology, Business and Management, Computer Science, and Information Systems, Chemistry, Finance and Economics, Earth Sciences, Engineering, and Mathematics.
- Book Boon, The Book Boon website, gathers textbooks written by scholars and professors all over the world and makes them available to students at no charge. Book Boon provides free textbooks in a number of disciplines, including Accounting, Law, Civil Engineering, Biology, Economics, Marketing, Finance, and Mathematics.
- Free Textbooks Internet Library. The Free Textbooks Internet Library houses a vast collection of online resources where students can access free textbooks in a variety of different subjects and sites that rent textbooks for free, including Accounting, Languages, Computer Sciences, Education, Health, Business, and Economics.
- Free Books 4 Doctor. Free Books 4 Doctors provides medical textbooks online free for medical students in a number of topics, including Pharmacology, Radiology, HIV and AIDS, Cardiology, Anatomy, Dermatology, Oncology, Neurology, Pediatrics, Dentistry, and Plastic Surgery.
- Open Textbooks. Open Textbooks provides free textbooks for college and community college students in a wide variety of subject matters. These include Art, Anthropology, Archeology, Biology & Genetics, Sociology, Political Science, Mathematics, Nursing, Business, Physics, History, Communications, and Literature.
- Worldwide Mathematics. Worldwide Mathematics provides free mathematics textbooks for students in a number of different topics, including Calculus, Statistics, Algebra, and Matrices, Vectors and 3D Mathematics.
- Project Gutenberg. One of the oldest and most well known free textbooks sites on the Internet is Project Gutenberg. This site offers free textbooks in a number of subjects, including Biology, Literature, Psychology, Philosophy, Sociology, and Mathematics.
- Free Tech Books. Free Tech Books specializes in free textbooks for Computer Science students. Some of the computer science topics include Information Security, Object-Oriented Programming, Compiler Design and Construction, Information Theory, Microsoft.NET, Open Source Productivity, UNIX, Linear Algebra, Parallel Computing, Web Design and Development, Logic Programming, Algorithms and Data Structures, Artificial Intelligence, Operating Systems, Game Development, Software Engineering and Data Communication and Networks.
The Top Ten Tips for College Students Renting Textbooks Online
Renting textbooks online offers multiple advantages for college students. Aside from the obvious cost savings involved in renting textbooks online as opposed to purchasing them, renting textbooks also means that
- fewer books are produced
- which in turn means that fewer trees are cut down to create the textbooks in the first place.
Renting college textbooks is a simple process; however, there are a few tips that can help students navigate renting textbooks quickly and ensure that they get the best deals when renting textbooks online.
Renting textbooks cheap definitely represents the primary goal and motivation of any college student, particularly those who are faced with textbooks costs that can easily exceed $500 each semester. The following article discusses the top 10 tips for college students seeking to begin renting textbooks online.
- Choose a reputable bookstore when renting college textbooks online. Good choices include CampusBookRenter.com, Chegg.com, Barnes & Noble, and Valore Books. Renting college textbooks from well-known firms ensures that your rental agreement will be properly formatted and legally sound and that your credit card information will be kept secure.
- Keep a hard copy of the rental agreement. Place it somewhere safe, such as a filing cabinet. Electronic copies can sometimes be lost if something goes wrong with your hard drive.
- Read the rental agreement in its entirety before you sign it. Pay close attention to the clauses that stipulate what happens if something goes wrong, such as if the rented textbook gets lost or damaged.
- Check to make sure that any ancillary items such as CDs, DVDs, software, and study guides are included with the rented textbook. Do not assume that they come with the textbook. Some companies charge an extra fee for these materials.
- Compare several different textbook rental companies before you enter into the rental agreement.
- Time your rental agreement carefully. You will need to rent the book for the entire semester plus the exam period. Late fees apply if the rented textbook is not returned according to the original agreement.
- Avoid any undue use of the rented textbook, such as highlighting, folding pages, or making notes in the margins. Since the textbook is a rental, most companies expect the book to be kept pristine, and charges will apply if the textbook is returned in what the renter deems to be the poor condition.
- Place the order for the textbooks you will be renting well in advance of the beginning of the semester. If you wait too long, you may not receive the textbooks you need in time for the start of classes.
- Be aware of any additional fees that the rental company may charge for shipping and handling. Sometimes these can get very pricey. Do your homework and find out what the company intends to charge you for shipping your rented textbooks. Some companies include waybills that cover the cost of shipping the textbooks back to them once you have completed the rental term.
- Do your research into the specification of your textbooks before you order the rented textbooks. Make sure you order by ISBN so that you get the proper edition of the textbook you will need for your classes. Nothing is more aggravating than having to fuss with a rental return after classes have already started.
The Best Time to Purchase Textbooks to Get the Best Deals
Many college students dread the beginning of the semester from a financial standpoint, especially those studying in the sciences such as engineering, chemistry, or biology. The required textbooks for these and other courses can easily run into hundreds of dollars and take a huge bite out of the cache of money that the students have saved for the school year.
Buying textbooks cheap is certainly every college student’s goal, and with a bit of strategic thinking and leg work, it is possible to find very low prices on the textbook you need for your classes. This article includes some insight designed to help students find the best time to buy textbooks and save money.
The rule of thumb to follow when buying textbooks cheap is to buy them when they are not in demand. For example, the absolute worst time to purchase a textbook is at the beginning of the semester.
Demand is high because students need the textbook right away; therefore, publishers and bookstores can get away with charging premium prices to meet this demand. However, when textbooks are not in demand, such as during the summer months, publishers and booksellers are more likely to offer deals as a means to generate sales during the low demand period. In low selling times such as the summer months:
- it is also often possible to bundle two or three textbooks into one order and save an additional 10 to 25 percent
- In addition, publishers and booksellers also often provide coupons and discounts during their lean selling periods during the summer months to boost their sales. You can find these coupons on the Internet on the deal sites, on the publishers’ websites, and on the booksellers’ websites.
Another good tip for buying textbooks at a fraction of their cost during peak periods is to sign up for several of the daily social group buying and deal sites such as Living Social, Groupon, Yipit, Dealster, and Eversave. Once you sign up for these sites, the coupons and discounts flood into your inbox on a daily basis, and you can often find deep discounts at bookstores, which you can apply to the cost of your textbook.
Since one of the best times to buy textbooks at a discounted rate is during the summer months, sign up for a number of deal sites well in advance of the beginning of the semester, and make sure you register for your classes early and do the research into all of the textbooks you will need for your classes so that you have several weeks to generate the deal coupons and discounts.
Buying textbooks cheap also means that you need to think strategically and buy textbooks when the booksellers are highly motivated and needing cash. For example, between semesters, students are often strapped for cash and highly motivated to sell the textbooks from the previous semester to generate much-needed funds.
Typically two to four weeks before the new semester classes begin at the best time to start looking for deals on textbooks from the previous semester.
Again, make sure you take careful notes of the ISBNs of the books that you will need to make sure that you purchase the right edition for your classes. With a little ingenuity and strategic timing, students can save a lot of money by avoiding the peak buying periods and buying textbooks during the off periods when prices are at their lowest.
The Best Time to Sell your Textbooks to Get the Best Prices
The textbook market, like any market, runs through economic ebbs and flows according to supply and demand. Often college students rely on the income that they generate from selling their used textbooks to pay for a textbook they will need for the upcoming semester. There is a lot of competition between the following entities:
- from other students
- from campus bookstores
- from online book vendors at certain times of the school year, and college students are well-advised to cut their exposure to this competition as much as possible.
The following article gives college students some pointers as the best time to sell textbooks in order to earn the most money.
Selling textbooks requires some strategic thinking in order to avoid competition and make your textbook available when the demand is at its highest so that you can secure the best price. The best time to sell your books is during periods when demand is high, such as in August and early September, or between semesters in January and February.
It is vital that you research what prices the online booksellers are charging for the book you want to sell to make sure that you do not list your book at too high a price and place yourself out of the running.
Similarly, pricing a book too low will certainly help you get rid of the textbook quickly, but you will earn far less money. Therefore, it is wise to research three or four sites and price your book in the medium-high range to generate a quick sale with the highest return.
When selling textbooks, there are a few things that you need to avoid. The first thing to avoid is to sell textbooks back to the campus bookstores. Campus bookstores are somewhat notorious for offering spectacularly low and disappointing buyback prices on textbooks, even textbooks that are in pristine condition, and that you paid hundreds of dollars for only a few months earlier.
In addition, if you intend to sell your textbooks at the end of the semester, keep in mind that the better condition your textbook is in, the higher the price it will fetch on the resale market. Also, when selling your textbooks online, make sure that you deal with a reputable company such as AbeBooks.
There are several reasons for this. Reputable companies typically use PayPal or pay by check once the transaction is completed, and the payment is made quickly and efficiently. These companies also provide students with free UPS or FedEx shipping vouchers so that they do not have to cover the cost of shipping, which can get very expensive, especially with heavy hardcover textbooks, and cut steeply into the amount of money you receive for your textbooks.
Also, reputable textbook buyback companies will often offer college students a quote that is valid for several weeks. This is especially useful because it gives college students the time to shop around for a number of quotes and choose the best price.
Therefore, with a little bit of leg work and the application of some strategic timing, students can earn a lot of money by generating sales on their textbooks throughout the peak buying periods and selling textbooks during the high demand periods when prices will be at their highest.
What are International Edition Textbooks and Why you Should Care
For college students, the cost of textbooks often leads to a frightening drain on the finances they have saved for the entire semester. Students in engineering, biology, chemistry, finance, business, and accounting often feel this the most, since the textbooks for these types of disciplines can easily cost several hundred dollars.
Therefore, faced with the prospect of paying anywhere from $500 to $1000 on textbooks every semester, college students have made buying cheap textbooks into fine art. One of the most ingenious ways that college students can save bundles of money on their textbooks is to purchase an international edition textbook.
An international edition textbook is a version of the textbook that has been created for international consumers, such as those studying in India or elsewhere in Asia. International edition textbooks are significantly cheaper than their North American and European counterparts. For example, hardcover textbooks that a college student’s campus bookstore charges anywhere from $125 to $225 will only cost $20 for international edition textbooks.
The main difference between the two textbooks is that the international edition textbooks typically come in softcover versions, and they will be stamped with the warning “Not for sale in North America.” For most college students, however, these are minor nuisances, particularly when you consider that a cheap international edition textbook can save hundreds of dollars on the list price of a required textbook.
Cheap international edition textbooks are technically not legal to be sold in North America, as the stamp will attest. However, cheap international edition textbooks can be found relatively easily online and sometimes even in local bookstores. A cheap international edition textbook will differ in several ways from the North American version of the textbook:
- As mentioned, they are usually softcover textbooks
- In addition, international edition textbooks will have different design qualities, such as different covers; however, these changes are typically very small
- Also, an international edition textbook will typically list a different International Standard Book Number (ISBN) on its outside cover. However, a lot of the international edition textbooks will list the ISBN from their counterparts in the United States inside the front cover, which is a handy way for college students to ensure that they have the correct textbook for their classes.
Some college students may be concerned that the content of an international edition textbook will differ from the United States addition, and as a result, they will not be able to follow their professor’s assigned readings in the textbook for their classes. However, the international edition textbooks possess the exact same content as the United States editions.
They will also use the same pagination so that when the professor assigns a reading, the page numbers will correspond. This is also true of all of the problem sets, graphs, illustrations, and units. Publishers guarantee that these elements are all the same as the United States edition of the textbook. Therefore, the only real difference at the end of the day is the stamp on the front cover of the textbook.
Buying international edition textbooks is a great way for college students to save hundreds of dollars on their textbooks each semester. Buying international edition textbooks ensures that college students receive the content that they need for their classes at a fraction of the cost of the textbooks in their home countries.
Where College Students Can Buy International Edition Textbooks
For college students, buying cheap textbooks demands their full attention in order to offset the increasingly harrowing cost of textbooks. According to Time Magazine, the average student in the United States spends around $900 every year on the textbooks he or she is required to have for classes.
Between 1986 and 2004, the cost of a textbook in the United States has risen by over 180 percent, which represents double the rate of inflation. Students in engineering, biology, chemistry, finance, business, and accounting often feel the pinch of expensive textbooks the most, since the textbooks for these types of disciplines can easily run into hundreds of dollars, which often creates a significant dent in the nest egg they have saved for the entire semester.
Therefore, faced with the prospect of paying anywhere from $500 to $1000 on textbooks every semester, college students have made buying cheap textbooks the main focus of their attention behind their classes. One of the most effective ways that college students can save a lot of money on their textbooks each semester is to purchase the international edition textbook.
An international edition textbook is a version of the textbook that has been produced for international consumers. International edition textbooks are typically sold to students studying in India or elsewhere in Asia. International edition textbooks are significantly cheaper than their North American and European counterparts.
For example, hardcover textbooks that a college student’s campus bookstore charges anywhere from $125 to $225 can cost as little as $20 for the same textbook in an international edition textbook format. Cheap international edition textbooks can be purchased in a number of locations. The following article gives college students some tips on where to find cheap international edition textbooks and save money each semester.
Buying international edition textbooks is an easy process. A cheap international edition textbook will often be printed in India, and also in some other Asian countries such as China, using pre-established copyright arrangements with the publishers in the United States.
These agreements allow the international edition textbook to be printed in English and sold for a deeply reduced price in the international markets. For college students interested in buying cheap textbooks, the Internet has made these textbooks available to students in Western countries also. A cheap international edition textbook can be found online at a number of reputable Internet book vendors such as:
- Textbooks R Us
- Amazon.com Marketplace
- Half.com by eBay
Technically, as many copyright experts will warn students, it is not legal for these editions of the textbooks to be sold outside of their intended countries. Therefore, a number of copyright infringement lawsuits have launched against online vendors on behalf of the publishing houses.
However, eBay was recently victorious in a court battle that deemed the company not liable for selling international editions online. Since the demand for buying cheap textbooks is so high among college students in the United States and Canada, it is unlikely that any lawsuits can stem these online transactions between students and online booksellers.
Since there is no legal precedent as of yet, college students are not liable and can, therefore, continue to purchase cheap international edition textbooks without fear of being sued. This may change, of course, if the publishers have their way, but for now, students can safely save hundreds of dollars buying international edition textbooks online.