Are International Edition Textbooks Legal?
For years now, we have been hearing that question asked by concerned students, booksellers, publishers, and college professors. The selling and buying of International Editions within the US has been considered a grey-market area for many years – while not specifically restricted by law, it is definitely frowned upon by the publishers themselves.
An International Edition textbook is a version of a textbook that has been published for intended distribution outside of the U.S., and they are much more cost-effective than the new U.S. editions.
On March 19, 2013, the recent Supreme Court decision of Kirtsaeng vs. John Wiley & Sons upheld the “First-sale” doctrine, which means that International Edition textbooks are allowed to be sold and purchased within the US. It also upholds the right of anyone to sell or otherwise dispose of their purchased material however they choose, which means that college students are still able to resell their textbooks when the semester is over!
For more details about exactly what an International Edition is, and the potential differences between US and International Editions, check out this post: What is an International Edition textbook?