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If the Canadian Dollar > or = USD, why are books so expensive here?

Discussion in 'TRIBE Main Forum' started by alexd, Apr 6, 2010.

  1. alexd

    alexd Administrator Staff Member

    I have been buying quite a few books in the last few years at places like Book City and the Worlds Biggest Bookstore and it has always puzzled me why the pricing has always been something like "19.99 in the USA, 26.99 in Canada"...
    Sometimes they try to cover up that on the book with a price sticker of 25.99 to give you the impression that you are getting some kind of deal, but its full-on gouging anyway. WTF!?

    I understand the price difference if it only happened on some books that have been collecting dust for a while and were actually published when exchange rates were so different, but this kind of scamming shouldn't be happening with books published in the last couple of years...

    Could there be a class action suit somewhere? Or at least there should be some way to force publishers out of colluding to keep their pricing like this IMO.
  2. futronic

    futronic TRIBE Member

    A lot of it likely comes from additional shipping costs. Printing is often done overseas, then shipped to the US (often West Coast). It's broken down, repacked, and then shipped to Canada.

    Or at least that's my understanding of how it works (including other kinds of print materials being shipped - calendars, etc) from friends that are involved with that industry.

    -- Jay aka Fut
  3. alexd

    alexd Administrator Staff Member

    What I have also noticed Jay is that sometimes you can find "Printed in Canada" on a lot of these books, often in really small print, so I don't think it is the shipping. Unless they print them here and then ship them to the states and back just so they can jack the prices up. I think books also fall into the Free Trade Agreement so it wouldn't be duty or taxes...
  4. acheron

    acheron TRIBE Member

    Depends on the publisher - this has been going on for some time. Buying your books from an electronic retailer like amazon or indigo can alleviate some of this as they have their own pricing structure that is much more reflexive to the value of the dollar day to day. I've seen this as the prices of books on my wish list fluctuate periodically. They are also consistently cheaper than bricks-and-mortar store copies.

    Some publishers don't even print prices on their books (stickering them locally instead). I've seen Canadian publishers who actually print higher American prices on their books now that parity is becoming more 'normal'.

    Largely it's a function of the size of our market. Yes, it's the same book, but we are a much smaller market, demand is much smaller and therefore the same kind of discounts can't be given to distributers and retailers because they simply don't order as many copies, not just of one particular book but of all of the books a publisher puts out.
  5. futronic

    futronic TRIBE Member

    I have heard of this happening before also.

    -- Jay aka Fut
  6. Sal De Ban

    Sal De Ban TRIBE Member

    this is a good question.

    since we (as Canadians in Toronto) buy most of our books from american companies (Chapters/Indigo/amazon whatever), you won't see the industry doing much about it. Still sad about Pages at Q/J.

    Book City is close by, that's where i go (i dont even know, are they canadian?) should i be buying my books online from the u.s. now?
  7. acheron

    acheron TRIBE Member

    FYI Chapters/Indigo is Canadian owned.
  8. Sal De Ban

    Sal De Ban TRIBE Member

    oh good times! then it is in their interest to address the issue, lest they lose business south of the border
  9. g0nz0

    g0nz0 TRIBE Member

    i will disagree, and state that many publishers, starting in 2007 adjusted their list prices to reflect actual exchange rates. Many re-stickered the books in the warehouse before sending them to retailer/wholesaler, or issuing credits for the adjusted exchange rates. It is/was up to the retailer to pass those prices onto the customer.

    this was our company's stance in 2007:
    i do think this lies at the feet of the retailers being greedy and not passing the savings onto the customer.

    Go get your books from the local public library :)
  10. artemis

    artemis TRIBE Member

    I had a nice surprise recently at Chapters - came in and picked up a book that was printed in UK, and the price was the same for both US and Canadian markets!

    Whoo hoo! Seems like it has hopes of changing in the future?
  11. Eclectic

    Eclectic TRIBE Member

    Local comic/book store in Saskatoon has current USD value displayed and marks up the US price accordingly to give you a better price.

    I love it.
  12. artemis

    artemis TRIBE Member

    ps. I was in a chain store in the states, and ended up buying about 10 books because they were SO cheap... US prices and on sale!
  13. diablo

    diablo TRIBE Member

    One of the favourite horseshit excuses of various indistries is that packaging has to be bilingual in Canada.

    This would be perfectly valid for some things, but would obviously not apply across the board for all goods (which it more or less does). Many good are also already multilingual (e.g. English/French/Spanish washing instructions on clothing).
  14. acheron

    acheron TRIBE Member

    wouldn't really apply to books, though.
  15. agentRC4

    agentRC4 TRIBE Member

    The real issue is that the books or any item you see in the store shelf was purchased long ago when the dollar was less then what it is today. We as consumers won't see the benefit for 3-6 months as they start buying stock with the par dollar.
  16. Sal De Ban

    Sal De Ban TRIBE Member

    since i paid $19.95 for a british mag the other day (no not 'plumpers'), i hope the limeys get nicer to us!
  17. Hi i'm God

    Hi i'm God TRIBE Member

    Paper product where the first thing walmart made same as US prices last time the dollar did this,
  18. Sal De Ban

    Sal De Ban TRIBE Member

    and they carried three books: Dr. Phil's autobiography, Oprah Winfrey's autobiography, and an ontario road atlas.
  19. acheron

    acheron TRIBE Member

    I think they have a few more books now:

    Sandra Bullock's Guide to Raising Black Youth
    Tiger Wood's "How to Score Like The Masters"
    The Real Housewives' Guide to Real Reality
  20. Sal De Ban

    Sal De Ban TRIBE Member

    ha! i like the 2nd one
  21. basketballjones

    basketballjones TRIBE Member

    you didnt notice this when we reached par a few years back?

    i think sprawl-mart was the first to drop the prices to the american price
  22. videotronic

    videotronic TRIBE Member

    it cuts two ways though..

    when the dollar fluctuates the other way a lot (which it has over the years) there isnt a knee-jerk reaction to make things more expensive, which is what most people seem to expect every time the loonie gets at or near par
  23. le bricoleur

    le bricoleur TRIBE Member

    ding ding ding.

    The publisher's pricing models are predicated on a projected, but fixed, value of the dollar for the year. If the dollar makes an unexpected gain, the publishers don't bother to adjust for it. Their prices are set to cover costs, etc. Blah blah blah. And of course, it's conveniently in the interest of the publishers not to readjust prices if the dollar goes up because now they've increased profited.
  24. videotronic

    videotronic TRIBE Member

    read my post. its not that "they conveniently increase profit", its that once prices are set they are generally set for the season

    as i said, when the dollar would tank in swings a few years ago you wouldnt see sears running around marking stuff *up* every week
  25. xtcfreak

    xtcfreak TRIBE Member

    I remember when we were on par in 2008, I *think* it was Chapters / Indigo that was selling the books for the US price listed on the book.

    Wonder if they will do it again?


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