Higher education textbooks sales account for a significant portion of the overall book market. This study makes an important contribution to the extant literature by examining students’ purchase of original textbooks in a developing market, Vietnam. Notably, it seeks to investigate why students do not purchase original textbooks as well as the difference in purchase behavior between different groups of students. The findings reveal that some key obstacles to students’ purchase behavior include high prices, insufficient availability, low perceived value, and the emergence of pirated textbooks. Another notable finding is that senior students who are female tend to purchase more textbooks. In light of these findings, marketing strategies are suggested for publishers, bookstores and universities who aim to promote the sales and consumption of original textbooks.