International textbooks vs us print

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I am one of many poor college students looking to save some money this upcoming academic year and I am thinking of buying international versions of my textbooks. Specifically,

Classical Mechanics by Robert Taylor
Optics by Eugene Hecht

I was wondering if anyone knew in general the differences between international textbooks and their us printed versions. I am hoping to hear some first hand experience of people who've taken this route. It worries me that some of the problems might be different which would be significant in my courses. I appreciate your help! Thank you!
In my experience, there is no difference in the content of the international edition and the U.S. edition of any given textbook.
I have used an international edition of Electrodynamics by Griffiths

It was the "Eastern Economy Edition" made for countries like India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, etc.

It was $30 as opposed to $100+ for the US. Edition.

They are generally paperback, bad quality paper, but Perfectly Readable

I did not notice any mistakes, the page numbers were more or less the same, the problems for homework are the exact same. It really is the same book just made in cheap quality to be able to be sold for cheap.

I got it on ebay, there has recently been a flood of people selling these editions for all sorts of school books now on ebay.

I had a good experience with it, it saved me boat loads of money


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Are you sure you're allowed? All the textbooks I've had say strictly 'not for sale in the US or Canada.'
Such disclaimers that companies write on their products don't carry any legally weight. Same goes for the EULA on software.


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Is the opposite true, that is, can US textbooks be used outside the US?
Half of my texts are international edition..

Griffiths E&M and Quantum, Shankar Quantum, Fowles Mechanics, Arfkan and Boas Math Methods, Thermal Physics, even my university physics.

I have the Hecht Optics too. Its fine, light weight and sane price.

International Edition FTW


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Homework Helper
Is the opposite true, that is, can US textbooks be used outside the US?
Yes but you have to add the chapters on global warming and evolution yourself.
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Yes but you have to add he chapters on global warming and evolution yourself.
This put a huge smile on my face.

Well sounds like I know what route I am gonna take then with the books. Thanks guys.
Content is identical. The only difference is that international books tend not to be colorful, ie. written in black and white (no deal if US book is b/w). Also, I think the binding is cheaper.

Other than that, you're reading the same book.
Is the opposite true, that is, can US textbooks be used outside the US?
I can't see any textbook publisher objecting to you paying up to ten times more for the same content... :rolleyes:


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Such disclaimers that companies write on their products don't carry any legally weight. Same goes for the EULA on software.
Actually EULA's do carry weight - at the discretion of the seller.

Textbooks are copyrighted material, and foreign publishers selling products in the US or North American would be in violation of copyright/trade law (if textbooks are pirated) or licensing agreements (if their license agreement expressly forbids such activity). Legal action is at the discretion of the seller and authorities.

One can find discounted used books on-line.
Anyway, where do you get these international editions? I am an international student btw.
A good place to look is" [Broken]
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One can find discounted used books on-line.
Although be careful when buying used textbooks from online sellers (even the big one!). I actually don't want the international version since I want a textbook that will last and won't disintegrate shortly after the class is over. However, I have been sold international versions by sellers who weren't very clear (I won't guess if intentional or not) on what they were actually offering. The international textbook on mechanics that I accidentally purchased looked like it was printed on tissue paper.
Really? The few international books I have are pretty much phone book quality. Not ideal, but readable - definitely worth it if you want to save hundreds of bucks.
Honestly there is NO DIFFERENCE page for page, problem for problem. In my experience, page 84 in the international edition is page 84 in the US version, but you just saved yourself sometimes over $150! No joke, I did this all through my undergrad physics degree and now into my masters. The only differences I've found is that the cover is different (is soft, with a different logo) and the text can sometimes only be in black&white. Big deal. $150 can feed a college student for weeks.

That being said, I didn't order ALL international copies. I'd advise you to buy your 'reference' materials in hardcover. You don't want to buy your calculus book in softcover, because you'll be using it as a reference for years to come. And do you really want your first quantum mechanics book in softcover? Buy in hardcover what you really think you'll be using for years, otherwise the international version is a great way to save much needed cash. Don't be afraid of international versions- you'll be laughing all the way to the bank! :cool:

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