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Do you have the right to resell that book? Dad's Rolex?

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by barbk, Oct 8, 2012.

  1. barbk

    barbk Well-Known Member

  2. A.H.Black

    A.H.Black Well-Known Member

    This wouldn't just affect organizations like Ebay and Amazon, it would really affect every Salvation Army, Good Will and other charity shops in the country - not to mention put an end to garage sales and church rummage sales. Yikes.
  3. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

    That...frankly sounds kind of ridiculous. I guess I'm glad I got my wedding dress used on ebay now while I still have the chance? :lol:
  4. essence_of_soy

    essence_of_soy Well-Known Member

    Me too. The guy only wore it once.
  5. A.H.Black

    A.H.Black Well-Known Member

    There are several threads about this over on the amazon boards. Apparently there is a bit more to it. For example - text books sold in India are marked "not for sale in the US".
  6. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

    Hasn't that meant that first sales are not allowed in the US?

    Software works differently, because you aren't buying the software, you're buying a license, and the license can be limited geographically.
  7. overedge

    overedge Janny uber

    Holy cr*p, how many courses did this guy take if he sold his textbooks for more than a million dollars?

    If he was buying the textbooks in Thailand and then selling them in the US as a business, basically acting as a book broker, that's a little different from reselling his "own stuff".
  8. zaphyre14

    zaphyre14 Well-Known Member

    I think the latter is what he was doing - having his relatives buy lots of the cheaper books in Thailand and ship them to him; he then resold them on eBay for less than the price of the American versions, and pocketed the profits. It doesn't say whether he paid sales taxes on the books he sold.

    And yes, I think that's a big difference from selling personal property or family heirlooms. I know I inherited a couple housefuls of "stuff" that I've been reselling in bits and pieces to make space and a little extra money. I can't prove where any of it came from and a lot of the ones I know are defunct.

    I can't imagine the Supreme Court will ban resales. For one thing, how would they police it?
  9. rfisher

    rfisher Will you rise like a phoenix or be a burnt chicken

    If you drive a foreign vehicle, such as a Honda, how would you trade it? The economic ramifications for this are huge. I sort of understand Wiley's original POV, except for the fact they are greedy pigs and should have charged the same price for the same books here in the US as they are charging elsewhere.
  10. aliceanne

    aliceanne Well-Known Member

    I'm curious as to why U.S. Law doesn't apply. Is the copyright not in the US? If US law doesn't apply then wouldn't the law of the country where the copyright is held apply? People in foreign countries sell their stuff.

    I thought there was some kind of personal use test for reselling copyrighted material. Buying in bulk like that - he was obviously not buying the books for his own personal use.

    I think also the state governments are after sites such as Amazon and EBay because they refuse to collect sales tax. Although I don't think that is an incentive for consumers to use the sites since you end up paying delivery charges instead.
  11. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

    eBay does have an option to do sales tax--not eBay itself as they're not the seller (they take a commission, rather like a real auction) but you do have the option to add state sales tax (if I sell something to a buyer in my own state at checkout I have it set to automatically add tax.) The issue the sites have with adding it isn't so much it'll deter customers as it's not in fact a huge amount, it's that sales tax is a state issue and when you're dealing across state and international lines the math gets fuzzy.

    Copyright's always been an in-country issue, but my question is, when it comes to things like antiques--are there countries where the protection is in perpetuity? Because if I wanted to sell, say, my great-great grandmother's furniture, the "copyright" (highly unlikely something over a hundred years old has a trademark) almost certainly has long expired--in the US it's only good for 95 years after the death of the creator.
  12. znachki

    znachki Active Member

    And that's a case going on right now too. There is a company that's taking digital music, stripping it and "reselling" it for people as second hand.


    I have a hard time believing they thought they could do this, since you are just licensing the contents - you don't own it.

    I think a lot of people are going to be surprised by this though, because no one reads the terms, except folks like my sister. As part of her job, she spends hours going through all of the licensing agreements at their library.
  13. madm

    madm Well-Known Member

    When I purchased a few international editions of textbooks for my college daughter, I knew the only difference between them and the U.S. version was the outside cover. The insides were identical. This was a great savings on science textbooks that cost hundreds of dollars. However, I also knew that the resale value of the international editions is low. If you go on a site like www.textbooksrus.com, and you look at the buyback price for international editions vs. U.S. editions, it is really low. I don't know how the person from Thailand was able to rack up $1.2 million in resale value!!!

    I worked in publishing for a large company, and we always produced different versions of manuals for sale in different countries because we had to by law. Even if the text was written in English (e.g. for sale in England, Australia, India), the outside had to have a custom cover and part number.

    Personally I see nothing wrong with enterprising students saving money on textbooks that are outrageously priced. It's the resale that is the problem, not the purchase. I can see regulating the mass distribution of international editions, but not the single copy sales.
  14. overedge

    overedge Janny uber

    But if there's no way to regulate the resale, then publishers have to set the initial price of the textbook to compensate (for lack of a better word) for the resale revenues that they aren't getting any part of.

    The quickest way to reduce the prices of new textbooks would be for people to stop buying used copies. I know that's idealistic and it isn't going to happen, but that's what it would take.
  15. Anita18

    Anita18 Well-Known Member

    I was :eek: when I saw how much cheaper my college science textbooks were in Taiwan than in the US. I thought about doing something like that with my dad (who was working overseas in Taiwan many months of the year at the time), but was too lazy and thought it was a little unethical considering they did have the "not for sale in the US" disclaimer. :lol:
  16. madm

    madm Well-Known Member

    There is nothing wrong with buying something from a foreign location and having it shipped to you. However, the issue in question is whether or not the seller can market and sell the foreign edition of a book from a sales outlet located in the U.S. Just for fun, I looked up one of my daughter's textbooks to see what the comparative prices are:

    Human Physiology 12th Ed. by Stuart Ira Fox
    New U.S. Hardcover = $217
    New International Soft Cover = $55
    Rental price for 1 semester U.S. Edition = $44
    Buyback price U.S. Hardcover = $16
    Buyback price Intl. Softcover = $3

    If you think you'll want to keep the book, it will cost you only $11 more than renting to buy the intl. version. Or you can try your hand at selling the book yourself on Amazon and eBay.

    There's a good explanation of the topic of selling international editions at:
    http://www.textbooksrus.com/books/information/ieinformation.aspx. It is completely legal per past Supreme Court decisions.
  17. barbk

    barbk Well-Known Member

    Well, you'd have bought them in Taiwan, so I can't see how that would be violating a "not for sale in the US" provision. If they meant "may not be taken into the US" then they should have said so, though I still don't think that should be enforceable.
  18. PDilemma

    PDilemma Well-Known Member

    I interpreted the post to mean she thought about getting some to resell in the U.S.
  19. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

    Re: the underlying case in question, I'm not sure how he could have made that kind of profit had he declared the items as for resale and paid duties on them. If he didn't declare them as resale items, then I'd think US Customs would be on his case for their cut.
  20. mkats

    mkats Well-Known Member

    I did this for my senior biochemistry class and life was good until he decided to ask "What is the molecule on the cover of our textbook" on our final exam :p
  21. milanessa

    milanessa engaged to dupa

    Ooooh - he was on to you. :lol:
  22. vesperholly

    vesperholly Well-Known Member

    My question is, why the hell are the US editions so much more expensive?! Maybe there wouldn't have been a market for buying quasi-legally imported international editions if the US books were reasonably priced. This guy should be commended for being so enterprising. :lol:

    I was a journalism/graphic design student, so the most outrageously expensive book I ever had to buy was maybe a $100 art history book. The "rocks for jocks" classes I took had teacher-published booklets for $15. Then again, I spent a LOT of money on design supplies, since the program was designed not to let us do anything on computers until we were juniors. So, so many pens, pencils, erasers and rulers!
  23. danceronice

    danceronice Corgi Wrangler

    Admittedly, grad school's a little different since it's assumed to be specialized, but I still spent $268 on textbooks one semester...textBOOK, I only needed one. (Accounting For Non-Profits, which is basically the only comprehensive book on the subject. There aren't much in the way of up-to-date used copies, so we were stuck. The instructor apologized profusely.) I refused to resell books, either, after I resold a $112 calculus textbook I'd bought used and only got $30 back.
  24. kwanfan1818

    kwanfan1818 I <3 Kozuka

    To sell books is one of many possible reasons. If the price of a textbook was the equivalent of buying a Rolex watch in a country, not many would be sold.

    There are plenty of examples of goods and services that are priced for the market: drugs, software, and consulting services are three. Sometimes the selling strategy is not a matter of profit by unit, but establishing brand, dominating the market share, getting manufacturing quantities of scale, being allowed to do other business in the country, or getting huge tax breaks.
  25. nubka

    nubka Well-Known Member

    What did you do with your other books, then? $30.00 is better than nothing.
  26. madm

    madm Well-Known Member

    Here are a couple of reasons for the high cost in general:
    - Most academic textbooks are expensive because they are printed in low quantities.
    - Hardcovers are more expensive than softcovers.
    - Textbooks are expensive to produce since they have extensive technical review, editing, and scientific illustrations.
    - Color printing is a lot more expensive to do than black and white.
    - One edition is usually good for 4-7 years, before a new edition is needed to stay current in one's field.
    - If the printing is done overseas, there are additional shipping costs and taxes.

    One problem with the cost of U.S. textbooks is that they are often offered for sale in hardcover only. If softcovers were available (which don't last that long), the price would be perhaps half. Publishers cannot sell textbooks in every country for the same price, so they cut production costs with cheaper binding and paper.

    In some countries people make a lot less money and have less to spend on education. There may be government subsidies and tax breaks for academic books. Perhaps the U.S. editions are high priced to compensate for the lower prices in other countries. It's all about what the market will tolerate.