The great Canadian book rip-off.

It annoyed me that books remained more expensive in Canada even as our currency moved closer to parity with the American dollar. As I write this, the Canadian dollar is worth roughly $1.07 US. But looking at Amazon.com vs. Amazon.ca, I see that many popular science books are still more expensive in Canada than in the US.
Some examples:

Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters by Matt Ridley
Amazon.com: $10.17 US
Amazon.ca: $13.83 CDN

A Life Decoded: My Genome: My Life by J. Craig Venter
Amazon.com: $17.13 US
Amazon.ca: $19.53 CDN

The Genome War: How Craig Venter Tried to Capture the Code of Life and Save the World by James Shreeve
Amazon.com: $11.16 US
Amazon.ca: $13.86 CDN

Maybe it’s shipping costs, you say? Then how come more technical books are the other way around? I’ll tell you why — because they raised the price for US customers.

A Primer of Genome Science, 2nd Edition by Greg Gibson
Amazon.com: $64.95 US
Amazon.ca: $61.23 CDN

The Evolution of the Genome by T. Ryan Gregory
Amazon.com: $72.95
Amazon.ca: $68.78 CDN

What’s the excuse?



3 comments to The great Canadian book rip-off.

  • John Dennehy

    Yeah that’s pretty crappy. Amazon sucks. What irks me is the prices of out of print books.

    http://tinyurl.com/2m378f
    http://tinyurl.com/yt29gx

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  • Craig

    I think there are several factors. For one the retail industry does not change as fast as the commodities market. It will take time for the prices to be adjusted. It is also significantly more expensive to publish in Canada. The volume the companies produce in is much smaller than in the American market. And Amazon.ca cannot sell books from American publishers, they have to buy from Canadian companies.
    However, if more people begin to buy from Amazon.com from Canada, then they might be motivated to move a little faster.

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  • TheBrummell

    Hmmmm… if it was just the first part, that books in Canada are still more expensive than in the USA despite the recent reversal of currency values, I’d guess it was a matter of inertia – books take some time to print, ship to distributors, etc. But the increase in American prices is pretty convincing to me that the book sellers (Amazon, in this case) are simply taking advantage of the currency situation by doing nothing except raise some prices, rather than reacting (slowly) to outside forces.

    I am also led to understand that many books are much cheaper in Europe. I’m not sure arguments about small markets apply where there are so many languages.

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