2006_01_22_tweedcourthouse.jpgApparently, the Department of Education doesn't know how to shop effectively. Despite having 1.1 million students to purchase books for, the Daily News is reporting that the DoE is paying on average roughly $1.76 more per book than a shopper "who choose the lowest-priced book on Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble's Web site."

To be fair, the News skews the numbers just a smidge to make the DoE look worse than it actually is. When purchasing text books and required-reading books the DoE works with an exact number of books that are needed. Those numbers are so large that, according to Deputy Chancellor Kathleen Grimm, "when we buy on that scale, we have been able to get tremendous prices."

It's the $36 million worth of the books that Teachers are given discretion to order through a system called Fastrack where the city bleeds cash ("David Copperfield" on Amazon? $2.58, on FastTrack? $5.94).

That a city department that runs out of the Tweed Courthouse overspends on something should come as no surprise to anyone. But needless to say, the DoE says it's "in the process of installing"a newer system to better take advantage of good deals.