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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I am a teacher at an American School in Durango. The library here is terrible. Any suggestions on where to cheaply buy English language young adult novels? Amazon and ebay have them cheaply, but it's so expensive to ship. My school has very limited resources, and I have a feeling I will be spending much of my meager salary on books for my kids. I am desperately missing Half-price books in the US.

Thoughts?
 

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You may try the American Bookstore in Mexico City, but I'm almost positive they will not be cheap
A better idea would be to bring them back from the US next time you go or if someone goes before...
 

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You may try the American Bookstore in Mexico City, but I'm almost positive they will not be cheap
A better idea would be to bring them back from the US next time you go or if someone goes before...
The American bookstore will not be cheap. In fact, no bookstores in Mexico selling new books, whether in English or Spanish, will be cheap. This is partly due to the fact that Mexico is not a nation of readers. In Mexico City I know of a couple of used bookstores specializing in English-language books, one for charity and one for profit, where you can find books for around 25 pesos apiece. In addition, there are a number of used bookstores in the city that have selections of English-language books at good prices. Unfortunately, I don't know what the situation is like in Durango
 

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There is no cheap option, in my experience, but there are ways that are cheaper than paying Amazon shipping or US mail rates from an eBay seller.

Here in Mexico City, I can sometimes find a hidden gem in the used bookstores downtown, but I doubt you have that in your city. If you ever come to visit Mexico City, I’ll invite you on a bookstore tour.

Cheaper online options are Better World books, where you can often get ex-library copies of relatively recent books (a couple years old) for 8 dollars including shipping, and Book Depository, where prices also include shipping and some new books can be had for 12 dollars.

Sometimes I’ve found a book I want on eBay from a UK seller, and if it’s a slender paperback that can fit in an envelope, the postage is very reasonably priced – a pound or so, and the mailing times (at least to Mexico City) can be incredibly fast – a couple times it’s been as little as 6 days.

But the cheapest way of all is if you have someone from the US who’s going to visit you, who doesn’t mind receiving your book shipments at their house and going to Mexico with a suitcase full of your books!
 

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So I am a teacher at an American School in Durango. The library here is terrible. Any suggestions on where to cheaply buy English language young adult novels? Amazon and ebay have them cheaply, but it's so expensive to ship. My school has very limited resources, and I have a feeling I will be spending much of my meager salary on books for my kids. I am desperately missing Half-price books in the US.

Thoughts?
You'll go broke, trying to bail-out the library at the school. My suggestion is that you slow down. You're moving too fast. And moving that fast is likely to create resentment from your fellow teachers.

Teamwork is hugely important in that environment. Talk this over with other teachers and the school administration. One of the unintended missteps you can make quickly is giving the impression that you, the new gringa teacher, have an ‘attitude’ and know how to do things better than the people who’ve worked there before you arrived. You don't want the co-workers to turn on you or doing things to help you fail instead of succeed. You’re not in ‘Kansas’ anymore, Dorothy.

When you expand your network of friends/contacts in the expat community in Durango ask for their help. If you were involved in a church, fraternal or other social organization back home, write to them asking for their help with books. All such groups love to help with worthwhile projects which have a start and end. Especially so when children are involved. Consider communicating with the English-language libraries in Chapala and San Miguel de Allende to see if they will share any surplus in titles they may have. You could contact the nearest U.S. Consular office to see if the Benjamin Franklin Library in Mexico City (operated by the U.S. Department of State) has anything to send you. The British Consular office might offer assistance, as well. Think about enlisting the children to assist by writing letters to these potential resource providers. Those sorts of letters are often very effective. Think about involving the parents of the children, asking them to donate just one book from the list you’ll provide.

Don’t, however, do any of the above without first speaking to the school director/administrator and receiving support/approval. “Lone wolves” aren’t appreciated in the Mexican educational system as they can be in the USA - from what I’ve observed. You need to network with your co-workers and school administrators every step of the way. Teamwork. Teamwork. Teamwork.

So don’t express opinions at school about things you think are deficiencies and failures, or which need improvement … unless specifically asked to do so by the administration. Make notes to yourself. Give it time. Rome wasn’t built in a day!
 

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Cheaper online options are Better World books, where you can often get ex-library copies of relatively recent books (a couple years old) for 8 dollars including shipping, and Book Depository, where prices also include shipping and some new books can be had for 12 dollars.

Sometimes I’ve found a book I want on eBay from a UK seller, and if it’s a slender paperback that can fit in an envelope, the postage is very reasonably priced – a pound or so, and the mailing times (at least to Mexico City) can be incredibly fast – a couple times it’s been as little as 6 days.
A word of caution about Better World Books. I was very excited when I first discovered them through a friend because shipping is free, and they donate books to schools in third-world countries based on their volume of sales. I placed a couple of orders, and the books arrived in a couple of weeks. Since then, I've placed several more orders, and none of them arrived! I suspect chicanery in Correos Mexicanos, though I can't imagine why a post office employee would want to steal English-language books in the first place. Luckily, I was reimbursed for the lost books by BWB, but I've stopped ordering from them. I've never had orders lost when ordering from Amazon, but shipping charges have recently gone through the roof (even from the States), so I've stopped buying books that way too.:(
 

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Longford stated: "So don’t express opinions at school about things you think are deficiencies and failures, or which need improvement … unless specifically asked to do so by the administration. Make notes to yourself. Give it time. Rome wasn’t built in a day! "

Here in Mexico if you start off complaining about what you "think" is inappropriate you will not find yourself in a good light. Better to keep it to yourself here.

Mexico has it´s own set of priorities that you will eventually understand and comparing Texas to Durango is not wise, not to anyone, even Mexican friends you make along the way. IMO
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thank you for the input. The director of the school is behind me, 100%. It is common knowledge that the library is crap, as far as English language novels, go. Just nobody has done anything about it.

The kids are BEYOND excited about new books and have been adding to our school wish-list, daily.

I will look into all suggestions; thank you!
 

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You need to know that Mexicans do not ever tell you something they think you do not want to hear. So of course the director is 100% behind you but you will not hear when he is not or when you cross the line so as other posters are saying slow down, involve other teachers, involve other people. Do not try to be a hero or the best or it will come back and hound you .It is a country where being a bright star does not go down very well.
Work as part of a team even if you are the leader and drive the team be humble. You are a foreigner and you will need everyone´s help.
 

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You need to know that Mexicans do not ever tell you something they think you do not want to hear. So of course the director is 100% behind you but you will not hear when he is not or when you cross the line so as other posters are saying slow down, involve other teachers, involve other people. Do not try to be a hero or the best or it will come back and hound you .It is a country where being a bright star does not go down very well.
Work as part of a team even if you are the leader and drive the team be humble. You are a foreigner and you will need everyone´s help.
That is the way I understand it also.

Years ago my wife and I were at the mile long Sunday swap meet here and I was constantly complaining to her that all the tarps were too low and when the wind blew even when I was ducking under them some of them would flap and mess up my hair. After getting tired of it she took a picture of me standing in the crowd with her phone and showed it to me and said you are a foot taller then the rest. Stop complaining, please. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I don't understand why some of you are being so negative. This is an American school, and I teach English, and the goal is for the students here to learn English. I'm a teacher, and there are no books in the library for the kids to read. I can't even assign outside reading because the selection is so poor.

I'm not running around, bad-mouthing anything, at the school. Or to anyone who works at the school. I'm not an idiot. I expressed that the library was terrible, HERE, on the forum, and asked for advice on adding new books. I'm not doing a complete overhaul; I was simply asking if anyone knew where I could get some more books for the kids.

And the director is British. He tells me exactly what he thinks. That's what Brits do.
 

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I don't understand why some of you are being so negative. This is an American school, and I teach English, and the goal is for the students here to learn English. I'm a teacher, and there are no books in the library for the kids to read. I can't even assign outside reading because the selection is so poor.

I'm not running around, bad-mouthing anything, at the school. Or to anyone who works at the school. I'm not an idiot. I expressed that the library was terrible, HERE, on the forum, and asked for advice on adding new books. I'm not doing a complete overhaul; I was simply asking if anyone knew where I could get some more books for the kids.

And the director is British. He tells me exactly what he thinks. That's what Brits do.
It sounds like you are on top of the situation.

I think people here were just concerned because we all have had experience with people coming into Mexico with great expectations of changing things rapidly and gotten into trouble because they didn't appreciate the differences in the culture of Mexico compared to the US for example.

I know lots of Peace Corps volunteers in Mexico who have exactly the experience that several posters have commented about. They have ideas, their counterpart sounds very enthusiastic, but it is difficult or impossible to implement their ideas. Or, they get in trouble by trying to change things too quickly.

Your environment may be different, particularly if your director is British. It will be interesting to hear your perspective after a year or so.
 

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I don't understand why some of you are being so negative. This is an American school, and I teach English, and the goal is for the students here to learn English. I'm a teacher, and there are no books in the library for the kids to read. I can't even assign outside reading because the selection is so poor.

I'm not running around, bad-mouthing anything, at the school. Or to anyone who works at the school. I'm not an idiot. I expressed that the library was terrible, HERE, on the forum, and asked for advice on adding new books. I'm not doing a complete overhaul; I was simply asking if anyone knew where I could get some more books for the kids.

And the director is British. He tells me exactly what he thinks. That's what Brits do.
Look, you post questions to a forum such as this and you'll get all sorts of answers. Answers from people who have a lot more experience dealing with these things than your one week. I don't think you have a clue what you've gotten yourself into, and you won't recognize it for some time. That's fine. It's your life. But if you can't accept honestly-offered responses from people who've taken the time to attempt to assist you ... then maybe you should just stand in front of a mirror someplace and talk with the person staring back at you . As for me, I will offer responses to people who are really interested in hearing not just what they want to hear, but what they should hear. But I won't be answering any further questions of yours. Best of luck. Over and out.
 

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"And the director is British. He tells me exactly what he thinks. That's what Brits do."

Wrong again.. I lived in England and taught there , had several British bosses when I worked in the US, if you think the Brits will tell you what they really think you got another thing coming as well. They express their displeasure in a very subtle way that usually goes right over the heads of Americans who are way more direct.

To go back to the books questions, books are expensive in Mexico and you are far from the best source of Mexico city so you may want to solicit aid from people in the US who have kids and may be happy to ship you some books.
There is a reason why the library is terrible and I do not believe that all the teachers before you did not care.
 

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Mexicali I like your story, I have noticed that my husband stick out a whole lot as well,taller than everyone else, cannot find anything that will fit him..
For me I am totally happy to live with people who have the same height, heck in some market I am even taller than most women. What else could I want?
 

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Mexicali I like your story, I have noticed that my husband stick out a whole lot as well,taller than everyone else, cannot find anything that will fit him..
For me I am totally happy to live with people who have the same height, heck in some market I am even taller than most women. What else could I want?
Me too, citlali. I am short, around 5'2", and back in the States I usually feel so, well, short. Here I am of average height, and I like that!
 

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I understand your feelings as far as receiving negative comments.
I agree that books are not cheap,reading is not as common as we would like it to be, in fact there are campaigns for people to read more! (Gandhi bookstores)
I think Isla verde has very good suggestions
2nd good suggestion would be to ask someone who is going to the US, friends, relatives or even here, to bring a bunch of books, it's not that hard to do
I am very pleased to know that you have the stamina, "ganas", chutzpah or whatever to make a change that benefits those children
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Look, you post questions to a forum such as this and you'll get all sorts of answers. Answers from people who have a lot more experience dealing with these things than your one week. I don't think you have a clue what you've gotten yourself into, and you won't recognize it for some time. That's fine. It's your life. But if you can't accept honestly-offered responses from people who've taken the time to attempt to assist you ... then maybe you should just stand in front of a mirror someplace and talk with the person staring back at you . As for me, I will offer responses to people who are really interested in hearing not just what they want to hear, but what they should hear. But I won't be answering any further questions of yours. Best of luck. Over and out.
Do what you must, by all means. But all I asked was if anyone knew of a place to find cheap books for my students.

I am certainly open to opinions and suggestions, including yours. That's why joined this forum.

And of course I haven't got a clue what I have gotten myself into. This is a new adventure for us. Isn't that what life is about?
 
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