Books, music, etc. are priced differently for different countries. This has been the norm for a very long time. Text books which are very expensive in the US or UK are available in India at eye catching prices.

So can you buy in India and sell in the US?

technically the answer is yes. Amazon could ask one of its associate companies to buy 5000 copies and keep in their Bangalore godown. When a student from London asks for that book, it could be shipped from Bangalore.

Is this legal? well, the publisher (say Wiley) will be able to do NOTHING about this. Simply because :

a) Wiley will not know about it

b) Amazon can argue that it did not violate any American law, as the transaction happened outside of the US

The sad part is the price will be paid for by the poor students of Asia, Africa, etc. who got access to good quality books at a fraction of the American price.

However, it means a fantastic opportunity arises for the piracy industry….they could come out with pirated editions. The schools, colleges, and students will be JUSTIFIED in buying that, will they not?

‘What to do, we cannot get the original AT ALL in India, and American prices are too high…” will be a valid excuse!

I have got offers to publish investment books which will LOOK LIKE MINE -but has to be a cut n paste of 3-4 foreign books….I did not like the concept, but I guess that will be another opportunity too!!


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  1. Hi Subra,
    If a person/company buys here and sells in USA it sounds like business opportunity. If the same person buys it here and uses it looks like we are saying that as “non-ethical”.

    So it looks to me that it is only ethical, if another person can do it LEGALLY.

    Regarding the piracy, no body thinks it is piracy and enjoys it from new movies to taking book xerox in college. Even I used to think that Britain took all wealth from my country so what wrong in using their pirated book for my education?

    What’s wrong in it, if everyone from politician/businessmen/policemen are doing within their power to become rich, why can’t I take easier route as I don’t have any other choice?


  2. as an unabashed free market capitalist point of view: intellectual property is a sham. IP and patents are anti market and exists only as a favor from the govt to the entrenched interests .
    corporates obviously dont like free markets

  3. Subra, you have missed the caveat that books available here have a tag which says Eastern Economy Edition (John Wiley) or Low Price Edition (Prentice Hall, Pearson). Furthermore, they also carry the “statutory” warning – ‘For sale in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh…”.
    Surely, a British customer would be miffed on receiving a “third world book” at a “first world price”. No?

  4. I attended a program yesterday on patenting in the US. There a few fundementals that I picked up,

    1. First who files will get the first patent.
    2. Process and methods get patented, which is quite different from copyrights which requires one to actually copy to infringe.

    The purpose of patenting is to give person claiming the patent rights and lawyers to draft,defend and block. This about the business of patenting and not about patenting to protect business.

  5. Many tech companies in US had exclusive depts to file patents. Bcoz in a sell out situation tech companies are evaluated on basis of quality of patents they had (ex; motorola)

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