What's the difference between a cutout and a roughout?
A: It's as simple as 3 dimensions or 2.
A cutout is simply a block of wood where 2 dimensions of a pattern (front and side) are cut from a block usually with a bandsaw.
A roughout is formed from a duplicator where the excess wood is cut away with a router. This method removes a greater amount of wood.
When purchasing either of these it is typical to receive multiple pictures or a copy of the pattern showing both views.
Both Cutouts and Roughouts are available from individual carvers, instructors, and retailers. If you are buying in person take the time to inspect the wood and pick the best one. There is no guarantee that you won't find a surprise in the wood, but a careful inspection usually will eliminate most of the issues. Also pay attention to the color of the wood, the color should be pale. Be on the lookout for knots (can appear as tiny blemishes on the wood but when cut into can be much larger).
As for price, that will vary greatly so it will be up to you to decide if it's a good deal or not. Carving from a cutout or roughout is a good way to get started in the hobby and its even easier when a companion book or DVD is followed. Also ask other carvers, they can usually point out a good source for these items.