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Author Topic: Book Prices
rexdog01
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posted 12 June 2007 05:11 AM      Profile for rexdog01     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Has anyone noticed, that despite a thirty year high Canadian Dollar, that book prices are still 40%higher in Canada than the same book or Magazine in the USA. This is a massive rip-off. Who gets the windfall? Is it the publisher or the retailer? Certainly not the writers.
From: Toronto | Registered: Jun 2007  |  IP: Logged
500_Apples
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posted 12 June 2007 05:29 AM      Profile for 500_Apples   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'm not sure if this applies to book, but I know that clothing in Canada is typically 2 or 3 times more expensive than clothing in the USA. I'm told it's largely due to tarrifs on trade. A lot of things are more expensive in Canada just due to poor competition. Airplane tickets cost 25-100% more for equivalent distances. Banks give lower interest on savings accounts. And the list goes on.
From: Montreal, Quebec | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged
Sven
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posted 12 June 2007 05:35 AM      Profile for Sven     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by 500_Apples:
I'm not sure if this applies to book, but I know that clothing in Canada is typically 2 or 3 times more expensive than clothing in the USA.

Do you have any evidence for that? Besides, can't a Canadian purchase a pair of jeans or shoes or whatever online just as easily as an American...from the same online store at the same price (other than GST)?


From: Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!!! | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
N.Beltov
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posted 12 June 2007 05:35 AM      Profile for N.Beltov   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
They'd probably just say that they have to dispose of their current stock, purchased at the old prices, before new, cheaper stock becomes available. Or they'd just quote Trailer Park Boy Ricky and talk about "supply and command". Heh. If you keep buying their stuff at inflated prices then they'll keep selling it to you.

Small book retailers have been squeezed for some time in Canada. Twenty years ago, or more, the markup was up to 40%, even for a mom and pop bookstore. (new books) Those days are gone. Some of the larger bookstores, like Chapters, have documented records of very predatory business practices worthy of Wal-Mart.

You might consider shopping around a bit more, perhaps having a look at online pricing, and so on. caveat emptor.


From: Vancouver Island | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
500_Apples
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posted 12 June 2007 06:05 AM      Profile for 500_Apples   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Sven:

Do you have any evidence for that? Besides, can't a Canadian purchase a pair of jeans or shoes or whatever online just as easily as an American...from the same online store at the same price (other than GST)?


Online shopping for clothing is not how most people buy their clothes. People like to try them on, etc. Additionally, liquidations don't take place online. A lot of stores ask you to shop in person and won't ship. The price differential is an observation of mine and people I know who are either from the USA or who go to the USA regularly.

A friend of mine just spent a week in Nashville to visit his girlfriend's family. Up until that point, he never believed me when I told him Canadian Wal Marts were small and charged high prices. He was shocked that American Wal Marts have multiple parking lots, and that it's faster to drive your car to the other parking lot than to walk across the store. A good experience of his when he went into another store and got a leather jacket originally priced at 200$ for 20$. Another basic example is that TJ MAXX is half as expensive as Winner's. My last time at TJ MAXX I bought 80 dollar khakis for 18 dollars, they lasted about a year and a half.

The same is true for electronics. I bought a digital camera in the USA in May 2006 and shipped it to my friend in Michigan, as rules are now being imposed on international shipping to prevent shipping around. I saved several hundred dollars, and only now, 14 months later, are Canadian prices starting to catch up (down...) to what I paid for.

In my academic program, a lot of us used to buy our textbooks off amazon.com because the prices were cheaper than amazon.ca by about 30%. I actually bought a partial differential equations book off amazon.co.uk one time as I found theirs was the cheapest. Amazon.com cracked down on that, but that's all right. The latest trend is to buy soft cover versions off china or india which are 75-80% cheaper. It's the original english version with some of the other language on them. (University-level science is learnt in English almost everywhere).

[ 12 June 2007: Message edited by: 500_Apples ]


From: Montreal, Quebec | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 12 June 2007 06:10 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
An old thread on this. I remember it because I started it. It's been at least a year and a half they've been gouging us, so I don't think there's much excuse for them continuing to gouge now.

One time when I was at Crapters browsing (I sometimes give in to my son when we pass it and he begs me to go in), I asked them, "When are you going to do something about the unfair exchange?" They said they were right on the verge of doing it. But I don't know whether they have, because I haven't been back.


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 12 June 2007 06:14 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
P.S. I'm moving this to the babble book lounge forum since this isn't about a national news story. Welcome, Rex.
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
rexdog01
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posted 12 June 2007 06:45 AM      Profile for rexdog01     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Michele, I disagree about this not being a National news story. It is more about unfair trade practices and a threat to a key Canadian industry than just about books.
From: Toronto | Registered: Jun 2007  |  IP: Logged
Boom Boom
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posted 12 June 2007 07:03 AM      Profile for Boom Boom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
CBC on Sunday night I think it was, did a short clip on the price differential between Canadian and American books and magazines. The only argument I remember clearly is that the US market is huge, while the Canadian market is much smaller, and prices reflect this. I think that argument is a bunch of hooey, by the way. I stopped buying magazines and books years ago because of this price difference. I read stuff for free on the web now, and I have a book collection. Otherwise, I watch TV.
From: Make the rich pay! | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 12 June 2007 07:12 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The National News forum is for breaking news stories - this isn't a breaking story. And your thread title - "book prices" - makes it seem like you want to discuss book prices in particular. If you'd like to rename your thread to make it a more broad focus, I can move it to Labour and Consumption (where we discuss economic issues), or Canadian Politics if you'd like.
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Boom Boom
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posted 12 June 2007 07:26 AM      Profile for Boom Boom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Expect book prices to fall as dollar rises, booksellers say

excerpt:

Book-pricing formula takes time to change

There's a fairly strict formula for book-pricing in Canada. It's the exchange rate plus roughly 10 per cent for handling costs, said Paul McNally, president of the Canadian Bookseller's Association and the co-owner of McNally Robinson Booksellers based in Winnipeg.

When the Canadian dollar took a nosedive in the 1990s, the Canadian price started to look substantially higher.

But the dollar is back up over 90 cents US, and customers are aware that the Canadian dollar price of books is not coming down.

"There was mumbling, there was murmuring, as the dollar rose towards 90 cents against the U.S. dollar," McNally said.

"But when it passed that benchmark, the mumbling turned into a crescendo."

McNally said he recently wrote to book publishers asking them to reduce prices to between 20 and 25 per cent above American list prices.

Publishing schedules, and details such as pricing, are determined months in advance, and can't change as quickly as the exchange rate, he said.

But by this fall, McNally said book prices should drop substantially.


From: Make the rich pay! | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
Lard Tunderin' Jeezus
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posted 12 June 2007 07:37 AM      Profile for Lard Tunderin' Jeezus   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Why do they claim to need a 10% premium?
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Boom Boom
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posted 12 June 2007 07:43 AM      Profile for Boom Boom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Handling costs? profit?
From: Make the rich pay! | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
Sven
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posted 12 June 2007 08:54 PM      Profile for Sven     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by rexdog01:
Has anyone noticed, that despite a thirty year high Canadian Dollar, that book prices are still 40%higher in Canada than the same book or Magazine in the USA. This is a massive rip-off. Who gets the windfall? Is it the publisher or the retailer? Certainly not the writers.

I looked at the Amazon.com price for "god is Not Great" (US$14.99) and the Amazon.ca price for the same book (CN$16.50). At today's exchange rate, US$14.99 is equal to CN$15.94. So, that particular book cost about 3.5% more in CN$ than in US$.

"The God Delusion" is US$16.20 and CN$17.98 (4.5% more).

"The Unfinished Canadian" is US$17.90 and CN$15.00 (21% less).

"Slice of Organic Life" is US$19 and CN$18.90 (6.5% less).

"Concept of Modern Mathematics" is US$10.36 and CN$14.24 (29% more).

"A Thousand Splendid Suns" is US$14.24 and CN$17.00 (12% more).

It looks like the prices are kinda all over the board.


From: Eleutherophobics of the World...Unite!!!!! | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
Farmpunk
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posted 13 June 2007 01:28 AM      Profile for Farmpunk     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Libraries, anyone? There's actually a very good rural library system in Ontario. Can't speak for other provinces or areas. I get my library to order me books from the provincial system because they rarely have what I want on the shelves. Might take up to two weeks. I read the book and then return it. For free. I flirt with the librarians and I've yet to have a late charge.

I also cruise the discard section at local libraries to build my personal collection. Hardcovers for fifty cents. Magazines for free, often. Old Canadian Geographics make for solid reading.

The last book I bought was online, and it was shipped to my door for 15 bucks Cdn, all done through the indie publisher.


From: SW Ontario | Registered: Jul 2006  |  IP: Logged
Boom Boom
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posted 13 June 2007 04:32 AM      Profile for Boom Boom     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'm in an isolated community, and our tiny municipal library has about 200 books. I have more than that at home. I've donated a few books to libraries on the coast over the years.
From: Make the rich pay! | Registered: Dec 2004  |  IP: Logged
CharlotteAshley
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posted 27 June 2007 06:45 PM      Profile for CharlotteAshley   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by rexdog01:
Has anyone noticed, that despite a thirty year high Canadian Dollar, that book prices are still 40%higher in Canada than the same book or Magazine in the USA. This is a massive rip-off. Who gets the windfall? Is it the publisher or the retailer? Certainly not the writers.

Unquestionably the publisher. Canadian book stores are largely charged Canadian prices for books, regardless of the US price. The publishers convert the US price internally using whatever arcane methods they use, then tell us what it's going to be in Canada.

Also try to keep in mind that what is printed on the book is often not the Canadian *or* US price any longer. It's just what the price was at the time the book was first printed. The Oxford World's Classics are excellent examples of this. Some of those books were printed ten years ago. The US price you see on the cover is what the book cost, in US dollars, at that time. It has no bearing whatsoever on what book sellers paid for the book, nor what the book's "list price" is.

Books are one of the few unfortunate products whose prices are set by the publishers, not the book stores. While yes, a book store COULD opt to change the price, they do so either at risk of losing money or of pricing themselves out of the market - after all, every other book store on the planet is likely to be charging the publisher's "suggested retail price". We're quite hamstrung in this regard.

Charlotte


From: Toronto | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
jrose
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posted 28 June 2007 08:43 AM      Profile for jrose     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Excuse the thread drift.

quote:
It may be a golden age for Canadian literature, with Margaret Atwood, Alice Munro and Michael Ondaatje garnering world renown, but data suggest book exports to our country's main trading partner are dwindling.

Industry challenges are myriad, ranging from a weak U.S. dollar in relation to the Canadian currency, which is cutting into the value of book sales, to changes in the U.S. booksellers' market, leaving Canadian publishers scrambling to keep up.

Together, these factors amount to a slow but steady drop in exports over the past five years and may help explain the growth in Canada's "cultural goods deficit." Book exports to the United States slid 23.6 per cent between 2002 and 2006, Statistics Canada said yesterday, as the greenback tumbled 26 per cent against the loonie.



From: Ottawa | Registered: Oct 2006  |  IP: Logged

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