I am taking my first night class this term. The text book for this course is expensive. The prof has even apologized for the price. The price at UBC Bookstore is somewhere around $170. At Amazon.ca, it’s for sale for $150. If I were younger, in my first-year, I’d probably just bite the bullet and pay the $150 (plus shipping) on Amazon and get the book that way. I am, however, an old, ornery, and penny-pinching SOB.
In light of this, I went in search of a cheaper alternative. I found it on Ebay. There is an Ebay store that sells cheap text books. At first, I wasn’t too sure of the whole operation. It listed fifty copies of my text book for sale at $27 (plus $10 shipping) each. What a deal! The only difference between the Amazon copy and this one was that it’s a softcover edition. The dealer was listed in Chicago and his feedback was mainly positive, so I decided to go for it. I was expecting for it to take at least a week to get to me, with Canada Customs and all.
I ordered late Thursday night, so essentially the order was processed on Friday. On Monday night, I received the tracking number for my package. When I entered it in on the web site, I discovered my text book was being sent from India! Whoa! The good news is that on Sunday it went all the way from India to Montreal. By the time I had checked it had already been in Canada for almost a day. Today, Tuesday, I checked again and it had been delivered to the front desk of my residence.
After class, I picked up my text book. As I opened up the package, I saw that indeed it was the softcover edition. Across the top of the book was labeled “Pearson Education Low Price Edition”. More telling was the text near the bottom of the cover:
“This edition is manufactured in India and is authorized for sale only in India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives. Circulation of this edition outside of these territories is UNAUTHORIZED.”
I’m not sure if the seller actually broke any laws, but I am sure glad he sold this book to me.
What’s between the covers is also revealing. The pages of the book have been printed on thin paper. It’s not quite as thin as what you’d find in a Bible, but it’s certainly not what you’d find at the UBC Bookstore. You can see the text on the other side of the page and the one after that as well. I highly doubt that the paper is acid-free. As for the ink on the paper, boy is it a doozy. The ink emits an odour on every single page. It’s not overwhelming, but I’m going to try to keep my head away from the book when I read it. I’m almost sure that the ink is carcinogenic, so I’ll attempt to decrease skin contact as much as possible.
Overall though, it was a hell of a deal. I saved over $100 on this text book and it should last me ten to twelve months before my fingers fall off.