I apologise if this is not the sort of question appropriate for MO; it does however seem that mathematicians are the most likely to know the answer:

Many of the Chinese mathematicians and graduate students at my university have softcover copies of some of the older Springer GTMs, usually printed on thin paper with Chinese characters on the front cover, but with the actual text in English. Someone said that they can be bought quite cheaply in China and are legitimate `Chinese Reprints' of the original books. Internet searches on both Google and the Springer website turn up nothing, however, so I presume the origin of these books is somewhat dubious:

Does someone know the actual status of these books and has anyone purchased one outside of China?

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    $\begingroup$ Such things have existed since at least the 1980s: the pricing of books in India and China "had to" make them vastly cheaper, given currency exchange and local economic conditions), or Springer (et al) could not sell any at all. No, they did not sell anything at a loss, or... why bother? The point is that the "Western" market could then (and still now) bear much bigger mark-ups (over cost of production), and has precedents for believing that it's ok, or ... something. $\endgroup$ – paul garrett Aug 19 '15 at 23:07
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    $\begingroup$ My understanding is that they are legitimate reprints of Springer books, but they cannot be sold outside of PRC for copyright reasons. On my visit to Shanghai I bought a bag of such GTMs in a local bookshop :-) $\endgroup$ – Dima Pasechnik Aug 19 '15 at 23:24
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    $\begingroup$ Well, it's very usual to see these "Not for sale in ..." printed in bold on first pages of textbooks. E.g. there are lots of such books on sale in Singapore at a big discount (e.g. "baby Rudin" for 12$US). $\endgroup$ – Dima Pasechnik Aug 19 '15 at 23:45
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    $\begingroup$ I've had a number of my Springer books published in China just as several people have described. This is done via some sort of agreement that Springer has with some Chinese publisher, I guess. They do indeed appear to be cheaply constructed (as per Keith's comment) and contain the "for sale...only" as he says. So they are certainly being legally published in China. I get a few free copies, and there is actually a very small royalty payment, on the order of a few cents per copy, which Springer keeps half of and gives the other half to the author. OTOH, no one ... $\endgroup$ – Joe Silverman Aug 20 '15 at 2:16
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    $\begingroup$ ...in their right mind publishes books at this level with the idea of making large sums of money. One wants them widely distributed and used (and hopefully appreciated) by students and colleagues. Of course, it is also a lot of work writing a book, so I'm not going to object to receiving a couple of dollars for each one sold in the US or Europe. $\endgroup$ – Joe Silverman Aug 20 '15 at 2:19

They are legitimate editions, published by an agreement with China Science Press. They are for sale in China only. These reprints are done not only for GTMs but also many other maths books. See the enclosed photoes for an example. In this case the price is 98 yuan in China.

Kozlov: Combinatorial Algebraic Topology

Copyright page of the book by Kozlov

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