Are US students being ripped off by Amazon.com? Jonathan Dingel at Trade Diversion blog points to a forthcoming paper by Yale's Christos Cabolis and colleagues, A Textbook Example of International Price Discrimination (PDF). The paper finds that although books for general audiences are similarly priced internationally, "textbooks are substantially more expensive in the United States" (on amazon.com) than the UK (amazon.co.uk). They argue that "cost factors cannot explain this phenomenon and discuss several demand-side explanations."
Dingel, meanwhile, provides a comparison of prices for economics and statistics textbooks in the US and UK that appears to confirm those findings:
I've found a number of cases where American customers can save money by purchasing their textbooks from amazon.co.uk and paying for international shipping (£6.98) rather than using amazon.com. Check it out:
Title Authors .com .co.uk $ diff % diff Mathematics for Economists Simon & Blume 126.74 84.69 42.05 33 Advanced Macroeconomics Romer 56.25 83.56 -27.31 -49 Econometric Analysis of Cross Section and Panel Data Wooldridge 80 89.98 -9.98 -12 Economics for Business Sloman 95 73.39 21.61 23 Mathematics for Economics and Business Jacques 115 75.84 39.16 34 Options, Futures and Other Derivatives Hull 158.99 88.45 70.54 44 Statistics for Business and Economics Newbold et al. 153.33 91.84 61.49 40 Introductory Econometrics for Finance Brooks 35.5 61.17 -25.67 -72 Statistics for Economics, Accounting and Business Studies Barrow 100 75.84 24.16 24 Microeconomics: Principles and Analysis Cowell 78.35 79.32 -0.97 -1
Prices reported in USD with an exchange rate of 1.88 USD per GBP.