In part one I described the more generic varieties of textbooks- new and used. Now as we have learned there are many different shapes, styles, and more importantly conditions of used books. And, quite frankly, all of the additional book varieties also come in new and used also but they will also turn up in more specific searches. The textbook savvy student should be aware of all their choices including the more difficult to find varieties including International Editions, Annotated Teacher's Editions, and eBooks.
International Editions can be HUGE bargains, sometimes selling for 90% less than the same US Edition. Many of these books have big stickers on the covers prohibiting their resale within the USA. But, only publishers and brick & mortar bookstores are really affected as they won't knowingly buy or sell these editions. For the common student the International Edition of a textbook can be similar to finding a $100 bill on the sidewalk. International Editions can be significantly less expensive for a variety of reasons and none of them affect the information in the text. It seems the International textbook audience is less demanding and publishers will use black and white rather than color pictures and photographs; the paper used might also be thinner or inferior to the paper used in US versions. Lastly, there is no market for a $150 textbook in Bombay so the book is priced for that market. Occasionally the book trickles into our market at a huge discount for a lucky student.
Annotated Teacher's Editions can be the envy of a dormitory. You'll be hard pressed to find a more helpful textbook. You might find a textbook chock full of notes in the margins and highlighted in pink AND yellow, but when push comes to shove, those notes in the margins might be dirty limericks and the highlighting might have just been an excuse to color on a rainy day. An Annotated Teacher's Edition however is pure gold. Teacher's Editions differ from student's in they often contain study guides, solutions to textbook problems, and answers to exams. As opposed to the well-highlighted student text, you know the info in a Teacher's Edition is the real McCoy. These books are given to teachers directly from the publishers. They then make their way to the open market. Their resale is restricted and certain websites including eBay will not list them. Other websites such as Campusbooks.com will list them where it is noted within the seller comments.
The final variety of harder to find textbook is the eBook. These are usually tougher to spot simply because they are never seen being lugged to class. This also happens to be one of the eBook's primary advantages. eBooks when found can also be significantly less expensive because you won't need to pay a shipping charge.
It's important to know all the options out there when looking at textbooks. Textbooks are a significant investment and its wise to understand all the varieties that exist in order to make the wisest purchase.
By: Dan Russell
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