A package has arrived for me from an unexpected sender from Beijing. It is a book titled 'TCP/IP illustrated Volume I' except the title is in Chinese. Is this the international edition book that I have ordered? This classical networking book from Richard Stevens still commands a premium price. In search for bargain it has led me to various vendors. From Amazon, eBay, the online book marketplace Abebooks, then an unknown book seller from Hong Kong, and at the end this Beijing sender whom I have no previous knowledge of.
What is international edition? The original list price of this book is US$75. This is an astronomical amount for students from many developing countries. Publishers therefore license local companies to print international editional with the same content and sell it at a fraction of the original price affordable to the local market. These books are expected to be sold only in that country. But Internet marketplace has changed all this.
While I was bargain hunting I have no intention to buy any pirate copied. Turns out this book is a licensed reprint of the original English edition. And it appears that it is lawful to purcharse international edition from overseas. The book itself is brand new and is a good quality print. The format is both smaller and thinner than the original. I actually prefer this to hardcover as it takes up less shelf space and it consumes less raw material. The only thing I don't like is the cover does not look very original.
Depends on your point of view the publisher's pricing can either be rightful price differentiation or just price gouging. Anyway I find internation edition to be a good economic alternative.
2006.03.14 comments -