A great New York Daily News investigation into the New York City Department of Education book purchasing practices. The bottom line: Amazon and Barnes and Noble are much cheaper! Despite massive buying power that could muscle big discounts, the city’s Department of Education pays more for some books than everyday online bargain-hunters, a Daily News investigation found. An analysis of 25 popular children’s books and literary novels found that principals and teachers who buy through the department’s Fastrack purchasing system spend an average of $1.76 more per tome than shoppers who choose the lowest-priced book on Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble’s Web site. With 1.1 million students, city schools could negotiate rock-bottom prices for nearly anything they need to buy, yet a paperback copy of the Dickens classic “David Copperfield” costs them at least $5.94 – $3.30 more than the price on Amazon.com. A school that wants “The Complete Chronicles of Narnia” in hardcover would have to spend an extra $19.50 to buy the collection at the school’s $51 price, instead of Amazon’s $31.50.