Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Why do books still show such outrageous prices?

I remember a few years ago, shortly after I arrived in Canada, I was in a bookshop and a women was complaining to me about the price of books. The back of a paperback has the US price - usually around $8 or $9 and the Canadian price was always higher - maybe as much as $12. At the time the loonie ($1 CAN) was worth around 80c (I think - dont quote me on that).

There's an article today on Yahoo that says the Canadian loonie is now worth 94 centes and may climb as high as 96 cents.

If thats true, then why are books still being sold in this country with such large differences in the currencies - when those prices should now be no more than $1 apart?

As for the non fictions - well I am flabbergasted. Those gaps are huge.

I have a large number of non fiction books - and I'd like to list some comparisons.

if the price is $15 US then it can be go for $20 CAN. (PB)
if the price is $25 US then it can be go for $39 CAN. (PB or HC)
if the price is $30 US then it can be go for $45 CAN. (HC)

However I will say this - for some of the more recently published that gap seems to be getting smaller. So far I only have 1 non-fiction paperback book published in 2006. The price says $15 US and $19 CAN

So my question is this. Is this price "gouging" for want of a better word - pure profit margin for the publishers, or are the transportation costs across the border really that horrendous???

Naturally this is still floating around the edges of my mind, after I posted about the last Harry Potter Book and how the publishers are practically giving away their profit by discounting those books so much.

Is there any bookish person out there, who can explain (via comment or an email) why there is such a large difference?


This is exactly why I always purchase from remainder shops - and I now have a very good online remainder outlet. I just received another package of books in the mail today. Six books for $32 US total including shipping & handling. Not bad for an hours browsing online.

1 comment:

patricia said...

Excellent post.

This subject just makes my blood boil. Personally, I think it's all about gouging. I know it's tough in the bookselling and publishing biz, but come on – our Canadian dollar is a hell of a lot healthier, and now I'm getting less from my US clients. Why the hell should I still be paying more at home? Grrrr....

And let's not forget that our government conveniently pockets that inflated GST, too. It's not within their best interest to make the booksellers change the prices, either. Grrrr....