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This and That

.: Kenton recently posted a couple of comments (1, 2) on the prices of new books, specifically of how the difference between the Canadian and US prices does not reflect the current exchange rate, which has been near ninety cents for quite some time. Typically, the difference is between 20-25%, but can be much worse – the paperback edition of that book about some kind of code, which was released earlier this year, was priced 38% higher in Canada. The hardcover edition, released in 2003, was priced 52% higher. According to the article in the Toronto Star, prices will dip by 5-10% by the end of the year. I don’t know if federal regulations cover books being imported into Canada – in other words, are US publishers required to price their books within a certain range based on the exchange rate? If not, what’s to stop them from jacking up the prices as much as they desire, within reason?

The second article to which Kenton refers, which is actually an edited version of an editorial that appeared in the Montreal Gazette, notes the following:

Major booksellers have taken to posting explanations in their stores. Prices are set by publishers according to a 12-month cycle, they say. But if retailers are paying inflated wholesale prices and passing on the hardship to the consumer, they are no less complicit.

When I went to Baltimore, I took my copy of The World is Flat with me to read on the flights. On the way back, I either left my copy on the last jet, or in the Minneapolis airport. Since buying the book, Friedman had revised and updated it, and I wanted another copy. The book jacket US price is $30.00, the Canadian price $39.95, or a 33.17% increase. While in Indigo books, I noticed the book on sale for 30% off, with an additional 10% for Indigo club members. (Since buying the book again, the price online dropped another 10% to CDN$21.97.) So the final price, with 6%GST, came to $25.40, a heckuva deal, as they say in Minnesota. Hopefully Canadian booksellers will continue to offer at least some selected titles at more reasonable prices, to counter the continuing price gouging of US publishers.

.: Busy times are ahead. In about 10 days, I will drive to Winnipeg for a 8-9 day visit, which will include another high school reunion. I’m planning to bring my bicycle, using a bike rack kindly donated by Geoff some months ago. I’ll return on the 28th or 29th of July. Shortly thereafter, I’ll be volunteering for the 15th straight year at the EFMF. Two days afterwards, I’m off to NYC, a trip which will include seeing Steely Dan and Mike McDonald perform at Jones Beach on Long Island.

.: Last Tuesday I moved into the new NINT building, which opened officially on 22 June 2006. After I returned from Baltimore, I helped with the opening as a volunteer coordinator that day. On July 4, I was given a temporary office on the 2nd floor, in an area populated by members of the Fenniri Group. The move into the new building began on 29 May 2006, and was done in stages. At present, some of the labs, carrels, and offices remain empty as more people and equipment are still forthcoming.

The reason my location is temporary is that my permanent office is located on the fourth floor, and that floor is still being constructed. The fourth floor will be occupied by off-campus companies, which will lease office and lab space and time on equipment for various lengths of time. The fifth and sixth floors of NINT will be occupied by the Departments of Mechanical Engineering, and Chemical and Materials Engineering.

4 Responses to “This and That”

  1. cdc Says:

    Have a great holiday! Hope you wear a helmet when biking, or you may end up in a facility where I work; and you don’t want to do that!!
    Enjoy your summer.

  2. Derryl Says:

    American publishers are restricted by Canadian rules apparently not covered by the FTA or by NAFTA. If Tor books, for instance, wishes to sell a book in Canada, they have to use an intermediary; their company of choice is HB Fenn. Fenn takes the books at a deeper discount than Tor can get selling it in the US, and then resells it to Canadian bookstores. So yeah, there is the 12 month cycle (or even longer – a P&L sheet is done up when the book is pithced by the editor to his boss, and it has to include a prospective price, IIRC), and that cycle may account for the price difference a bit. The distributor function also allows the publishers to pay authors a smaller royalty; hardcover sales get, I think, 10% in the US, but more like 3% here, even though Canadian authors sell much better in Canada.

    Some Canadian authors, like Guy Kay, get separate deals for each country. His books all have distinct Canadian, US, and UK editions, which means he gets a better royalty. Don’t know if that means the prices are different; I see his upcoming book, Ysabel, is listed with a US price and equivalent only, so he may have changed that (although I suspect it only means the Canadian publisher hasn’t released a price yet). I could ask him if you wanted.


  3. Derryl Says:

    Followup: Guy actually emailed me about Ysabel today in an unrelated email), and there will be a separate Canadian edition.


  4. Jason Says:

    The situation that you speak of is even more pronounced in the case of comics. In many cases comics for DC and Marvel are actually printed in Canada on Canadian newsprint, purchased in Canada. The comics are then shipped (in some cases) to the US and then back again. In other cases, the books are shipped directly to your friendly neighborhood comic book dealer. So on a comic printed in Canada, shipped from one point in Canada to another, the US cover prce can be 2.50 while the Canadian cover price has been as high as 4.99!!!!!.

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