Supap Kirtsaeng was a graduate student that made around $900,000 in revenue by purchasing textbooks at discounted prices in Thailand and selling them in the United States for a profit. He was sued and now the Supreme Court is facing the decision whether to allow importation of textbooks from countries where they are sold at significantly lower prices than the United States. Some might think the price of textbooks would drop if the court rules in favor of Kirtsaeng, but one author describes why textbooks will continue to be expensive regardless of the Supreme Court's decision. Her argument involves the issue of price discrimination. In the United States, we are willing to pay a higher price than students in other countries so we get charged a higher amount. If the prices were lowered here, then they would need to be raised in other countries and sells would drop.
I have always been frustrated by the amount I spend for textbooks, but prior to this class I never realized that it was due to price discrimination. As students we know that we need to purchase the textbooks in order to perform well in a class so we pay the price no matter how outrageous it may be. I have usually tried to shop around for the best prices when purchasing textbooks, but this article encouraged me to be even more price-sensitive and do all that I can to find the best possible deal.