"The data collected by Ms. Chevalier and Ms. Goolsbee - covering sales at more than 1,000 colleges over five years - suggested that, if anything, students pay more attention to the age of an edition than they should. They almost seem more sensitive to a book's potential for resale than to its purchase price.
But there could be a rational explanation for that, too. Parents sometimes pick up the bill for the new textbooks that a student buys at the start of a semester. The cash that comes from reselling the book often has a way of not making it back to mom and dad."