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Old 09-03-2008, 12:08 AM
 
3,852 posts, read 12,838,171 times
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If you thought college book publishers were bad at updating the book every year or so wait until you hear this one.

Last summer I went to go buy a book for my calculus class. I went to the bookstore and found the book and wrote down the ISBN (because I wanted to buy it online) So I type the isbn into amazon and I find nothing. Very odd I thought. So I went back to the bookstore and just bought it new. I opened it up and low and behold I found out it was a custom edition for my college. Yup, you heard me right - custom edition.

This means the resell ability of this book is little to none. No one on amazon is going to want to buy a custom edition so I am pretty much screwed if the bookstore doesn't buy it back and we all know the publisher will release a new edition for next semester.

Talk about shady business practices.

When I talked to the teacher about this he said he couldn't do anything because the administrators are the ones who decide on the books. He then told me to basically suck it up.
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Old 09-03-2008, 05:47 AM
 
Location: Pennsylvania
5,725 posts, read 11,673,715 times
Reputation: 9828
Definitely shady, but the college administration bears at least as much (if not more) responsibility for this.
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Old 09-03-2008, 05:55 AM
 
Location: Wilmington Delaware
121 posts, read 516,987 times
Reputation: 85
It is all about the dollar. Some of the faculty had published books themselves and then designated their book as the required text for the class. They always changed and updated editions to keep sales active.
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Old 09-03-2008, 05:58 AM
 
Location: Beautiful Rhode Island
9,243 posts, read 14,798,145 times
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Custom editions are the exact same textbook as the regular edition. They just have an intro and a couple pages added for each school. So anyone looking to buy a custom edition could safely use and buy any school's edition as long as the author, title, date is the same. Perhaps you could explain this if you resell it. By the way Half.com will save you money on texts.
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Old 09-03-2008, 11:25 AM
 
Location: the very edge of the continent
88,640 posts, read 44,381,322 times
Reputation: 13561
Quote:
Originally Posted by killer2021 View Post
If you thought college book publishers were bad at updating the book every year or so wait until you hear this one.

Last summer I went to go buy a book for my calculus class. I went to the bookstore and found the book and wrote down the ISBN (because I wanted to buy it online) So I type the isbn into amazon and I find nothing. Very odd I thought. So I went back to the bookstore and just bought it new. I opened it up and low and behold I found out it was a custom edition for my college. Yup, you heard me right - custom edition.

This means the resell ability of this book is little to none. No one on amazon is going to want to buy a custom edition so I am pretty much screwed if the bookstore doesn't buy it back and we all know the publisher will release a new edition for next semester.
Even if the publisher doesn' t issue a new edition for the next term, the bookstore will buy the book back for $25 or so and then sell it to the next student for about $130 (instead of the $160-$180 'new book' price). I kid you not. It's ridiculous!

If there's not a new edition for the next term, sell your books on Craig's List, etc. You'll get more money for them and the next student won't have to pay as much. It's a win-win!
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Old 09-04-2008, 06:12 AM
 
Location: Southern Illinois
10,364 posts, read 20,734,320 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hollytree View Post
Custom editions are the exact same textbook as the regular edition. They just have an intro and a couple pages added for each school. So anyone looking to buy a custom edition could safely use and buy any school's edition as long as the author, title, date is the same. Perhaps you could explain this if you resell it. By the way Half.com will save you money on texts.
That's probably true, and if so, you might have been able to get it on Amazon, though with the title, not the ISBN #.
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Old 09-04-2008, 02:14 PM
 
Location: ATL suburb
1,364 posts, read 4,136,435 times
Reputation: 1580
Quote:
Custom editions are the exact same textbook as the regular edition. They just have an intro and a couple pages added for each school. So anyone looking to buy a custom edition could safely use and buy any school's edition as long as the author, title, date is the same.
Depending on the class, the custon edition may remove sections from the regular edition that aren't going to to used for the curiculum. Sometimes, things are added. If it's the lab book, the department can customize the photographs and models used in the book. So customized editions can be used to "streamline" the class. However, rarely does the department think about the resale value of the book. At most, we consider the cost of the textbook or packet. But yeah, I'd probably just get the regular edition.

Last edited by anadyr21; 09-04-2008 at 02:15 PM.. Reason: put in quotation
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Old 09-04-2008, 05:32 PM
 
Location: Maryland's 6th District.
8,358 posts, read 25,170,413 times
Reputation: 6540
Quote:
Originally Posted by killer2021 View Post
If you thought college book publishers were bad at updating the book every year or so wait until you hear this one.

Last summer I went to go buy a book for my calculus class. I went to the bookstore and found the book and wrote down the ISBN (because I wanted to buy it online) So I type the isbn into amazon and I find nothing. Very odd I thought. So I went back to the bookstore and just bought it new. I opened it up and low and behold I found out it was a custom edition for my college. Yup, you heard me right - custom edition.

This means the resell ability of this book is little to none. No one on amazon is going to want to buy a custom edition so I am pretty much screwed if the bookstore doesn't buy it back and we all know the publisher will release a new edition for next semester.

Talk about shady business practices.

When I talked to the teacher about this he said he couldn't do anything because the administrators are the ones who decide on the books. He then told me to basically suck it up.
First, I must say that college text books are not updated every year. Three years is about average length between editions. This is one of the reasons why they cost so much (another reason is because they are printed for a very small portion of the population).

Second, custom editions of text books are fairly common, and has been for years. So, nothing new there. If you are worried about resale value, then just purchase the regular book. Or....

Thirdly, you can always just sell the text book to a student at your college. Trust me, students are willing to shell out $60, $70, even $100 if your price is cheaper then the book stores price for the same book used. Another thing to keep in mind is that with most text books (actually practically all of them, but there are those few exceptions) there really is no difference between consecutive editions (i.e., between the 8th and 9th edition or the 3rd and 4th edition et. al.) so you could probably still get a decent price if a new edition is going to be used for next semester.

I should also add, that text books are not always needed. Most teachers will say that they are required, but in many cases the text book is not required and is only 'required' for the course to either be supplemental or for reference. Talk to students who have taken a class that you plan on taking and ask them. I have wasted so much money on text books that I ended up not using and most of the time I just got the info off the net. I guess that all depends on the subject though.
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Old 09-23-2008, 08:52 AM
 
13,721 posts, read 19,151,310 times
Reputation: 16970
Quote:
Originally Posted by killer2021 View Post
If you thought college book publishers were bad at updating the book every year or so wait until you hear this one.

Last summer I went to go buy a book for my calculus class. I went to the bookstore and found the book and wrote down the ISBN (because I wanted to buy it online) So I type the isbn into amazon and I find nothing. Very odd I thought. So I went back to the bookstore and just bought it new. I opened it up and low and behold I found out it was a custom edition for my college. Yup, you heard me right - custom edition.

This means the resell ability of this book is little to none. No one on amazon is going to want to buy a custom edition so I am pretty much screwed if the bookstore doesn't buy it back and we all know the publisher will release a new edition for next semester.

Talk about shady business practices.

When I talked to the teacher about this he said he couldn't do anything because the administrators are the ones who decide on the books. He then told me to basically suck it up.
Yup. I have three kids in college and they package books with a CD and/or a workbook for that specific teacher for that specific semester. And the price of the books is ridiculous. $150 for a paperback textbook?

And then even when the bookstore buys the book back, they give so much less than you paid for it, and then they turn around and sell it to another student for almost the same price you paid to begin with. It's a huge ripoff.
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Old 09-23-2008, 11:44 AM
 
Location: Connecticut
427 posts, read 1,384,272 times
Reputation: 357
A few tricks for college textbooks.

1. If it is the teachers book ask if they can get a deal, most decent teachers will get you a deal or even give you the book for free. I've had this happen a couple of times.

2. Odds are your school library will have the book on reserve, meaning that you can take the book and make copies as you need them, this nice because you almost never need every chapter.

3. Check with the teacher, I would say 70-80% of the time you can use the previous edition, which tends to be 1/2 the price or less.

4.Find a friend who used the book, especially if it is a book with a cd and workbook, a lot of students will sell their books to another student first to avoid having to mail it.
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