BooksRun Tips On Counterfeit Textbooks

A lot of countrified textbooks and books

Although counterfeit books are not common in US markets, they are often sold as international editions to unsuspecting customers. As many are not aware of the differences between the two, one gets an impression that counterfeiting is practised on a large scale. To avoid such confusion, and to not miss out on chances of buying an international edition for a cheaper price compared to its US counterpart, one must know how to differentiate between the two.

Counterfeit textbooks have to be distinguished from international or Eastern Economy editions. Unlike the latter, counterfeit textbooks are produced illegally, and students sometimes tend to buy them on various marketplaces from third-party sellers because of lower prices (such books are often shipped from China, India, etc.) Afterwards, they may want to sell these books to buyback websites like BooksRun, and we do not accept them for obvious reasons.

In order to teach our customers (and everyone who’s interested) how to spot the counterfeit textbooks and not fall into the trap, we are posting this list of differences between legit textbooks and illegal editions that need to be paid attention to.

1) Binding. It differs from the one issued by authentic publisher books. The glue can be of a different colour and unevenly distributed along with the binding, and the book may generally look poorly made. Fraud books with bindings for which cheap glue was used also smell different than an original quality edition. The curvature of the spine can also be different, i.e. too flat or bent.

Examples of counterfeit book binding:


2) Pages and paper. In some cases, pages are thinner than they are supposed to be, and text from the next page is showing through. Original editions often have glossy paper, and counterfeits have cheaper plain paper.

Example #1: page of a counterfeit book has different colour shade:


Example #2: paper of the counterfeit book is plain instead of original glossy:


3) Width. Counterfeiting books often do not have the same width as ones issued by authentic textbook publishers, as illegal producers aim to use less paper. 

Example #1: counterfeit book on the right looks smaller:


Example #2: counterfeit book on the right is narrower:


4) Thickness. Also, counterfeit items are sometimes thicker or thinner due to the bad quality of the pages (see the example below).

Example #1: the counterfeit item is thinner:


Example #2: the counterfeit item is thicker:


5) Quality. The cover art is often of lower quality as well, the name of the author and the title are not vertically centred on the binding, and the writing may be a bit unclear or pixelated. Illustrations inside counterfeit forgery books may be black-and-white or are somewhat bleak and look fuzzy.

Example #1: a side-by-side comparison of an original and a counterfeit. The item on the right has a different colour tone: 


Example #2: counterfeit item on the right has a different colour tone and is narrower:


6) Letters. Pay attention to the quality of the print as in cases of counterfeit editions of textbooks, the pages often look cheaper and generally worse.

Example: letters on the page of the counterfeit book are thicker and not as fine as original: 


7) ISBN. If the book differs too much from other original editions but the ISBN is the same and there are no other markings indicating it is an international or instructor’s version, it’s definitely a counterfeit copy.

8) Barcode. In case you don’t have any original copy to compare a counterfeit book with, you may take a look at the barcode printed on the backside of the book. It may look slightly fuzzy like a photocopy, offset or even coloured a bit (barcodes are usually black-and-white). In this case, your textbook is most likely to be a fake copy.  

9) Flyleaves. Counterfeit books might not include them. Copyright page can also be absent.

10) Typos. Books are scanned, and their content is copied by special software. However, it sometimes makes mistakes and this leads to various typos appearing in the text. On the picture below, a fake copy on top has two errors that might serve as an indicator of the book being counterfeit.

Usually, pirates only target the top 10,000 books. So if you are holding something that is not popular, it is most probably not a counterfeit. That being said, it’s always a good practice to look for any signs that suggest otherwise.


11. Rare books Differentiating counterfeits from originals gets a bit more difficult once we start dealing with rare books. As most of these belong to the pre-ISBN era and are too rare to compare with another copy this process requires a more sceptical approach.

One fault that experts have found in the process of making a book look like old is fakers’ tendency to overage. That means that when you are looking at a book published 70 years back, but get a feeling that it is over 100 years old, it most probably is a fake.

In today’s global markets, where people from different countries are selling their old books online, it becomes necessary for book buyers and hunters to be able to differentiate between fakes and originals. A book that looks different from the one you have back home might just be another edition, whereas a book that looks similar to the one you have might be a fake, everything becomes clear with close scrutiny.

Now you know the differences between fake and real textbooks, so feel free to share this information with your friends on how to protect themselves from counterfeit books. After sharing the most important hacks on what are counterfeit books and how to spot them, it is time to share our list of top counterfeit textbooks that you should be aware of when you go used textbooks hunting.

 As a company, we care a lot about making the best possible experience for each and every our customer, that sells (or buys/rents) textbook. We aspire to offer the best quotes for the textbooks we receive, but, unfortunately, there are some that cannot be accepted: counterfeit ones. The thing is that these items are produced illegally, and even if they have high quality and practically the same content, they lose their value on any self-respecting marketplace. is proud to buy back and sell only legal editions of textbooks – visit our website and learn which books are accepted for buyback and why textbooks from the bookstores are so expensive. In this article, we want to present you the textbooks that are most likely to be counterfeit. Amongst them, you will find a lot of worthy books, and that is exactly the point for those who produce them: these textbooks will always fill in the market niche due to them being in high demand. Be careful: check textbook reviews on the websites of textbook suppliers!

The Art of Public Speaking


ISBN-13: 9780073523910

Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education

Author: Stephen Lucas

Category: Public Speaking

Theory and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy


ISBN-13: 9781305263727

Publisher: Brooks Cole

Author: Gerald Corey

Category: PsychologyPsychiatry

Drugs, Society, and Human Behavior


Sell ISBN-13:  9780078028649

Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education

Authors: Carl HartCharles Ksir

Category: Nursing

Essentials of Economics


 ISBN-13: 9781259235702

Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education

Authors: Bradley Schiller, Karen Gebhardt

Category: BusinessEconomics

Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry


ISBN-13: 9781429234146

Publisher: W.H. Freeman

Authors: David L. NelsonMichael M. Cox

Category: BiologyChemistry

Principles of Anatomy and Physiology


ISBN-13: 9781118345009 (Hardcover)
ISBN-13: 9781118958070 Paperback)

Publisher: Wiley

Authors:  Gerard J Tortora/ Bryan Derrickson

Category: MedicalAnatomy

Mass Media Law


ISBN-13: 9780077861421

Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education

Authors: Don PemberClay Calvert

Category: Law

Social Psychology (9th Edition)


ISBN 9780133936544

Publisher: Pearson

Authors: Elliot AronsonTimothy D. WilsonSamuel R. Sommers

Category: PsychologySociology

Understanding Business 11th Edition


ISBN-13: 9780078023163

Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education

Authors: William NickelsJames McHughSusan McHugh

Category: Business

Developing Management Skills (9th Edition) 


ISBN-13: 9780133127478 

Publisher: Prentice-Hall

Authors: David A. WhettenKim S. Cameron

Category: Management

Global Marketing (9th Edition) 


ISBN-13: 9780134129945

Publisher: Prentice-Hall

Authors: Warren J. Keegan, Mark C. Green

Category: BusinessEconomicsMicroeconomicsMarketing

A First Look at Communication Theory 


ISBN-13: 9780073523927 

Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education

Authors: Em GriffinAndrew LedbetterGlenn Sparks

Category: Public Speaking

Campbell Biology (10th edition)


ISBN-13: 9780321775658 

Publisher: Pearson

Authors: Jane B. ReeceLisa A. UrryMichael L. CainSteven A. WassermanPeter V. MinorskyRobert B. Jachson

Category: Biology

Organizational Behavior: Improving Performance and Commitment in the Workplace


ISBN-13: 9780077862565 

Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education

Authors: Jason ColquittJeffery LePineMichael Wesson

Category: Human Resources

Of course, it may be hard to define whether the book is original or just a fake and inauthentic copy, but with knowledge comes to experience.  And so if in this list you have found the book you want to sell, don’t worry: you need to check your book’s ISBN number!