Background: I am a student. I didn't have anything in life for four years, and I worked myself silly at times for it. So now I ask - when I pay hundreds of dollars over the production cost (new textbooks are over a week's pay each) what and whom am I giving my money to?
It's probably not those working in the publishing factory, I don't think it's the professor who wrote the book; I imagine a rich entrepreneur , who, by positioning himself well in life, makes an immense amount of money while directly producing nothing of value, aka, the brass of a publishing company (correct me if I'm wrong). In fact, when our college tried to use an "open source" textbook, publishing companies promised to stop selling us books - all over that one class!
Now, I can buy an international version for some 20 or so hours of my life (aka, payrate) for each and every class. However, there are plenty of people in this process who deserve to be paid (yes, even the brass.) That said, books are so (over)priced I think it is more unethical not to pirate the book or buy a used or international edition - by feeding the predators, I become part of the problem.
However, there are many people on this site who are vastly more informed and experienced in academia than me and so I ask the following questions.
- Is it ethical for me to buy international textbooks?
- Incidentally, is it legal in the United States to buy international textbooks?