Parity parsed: Greenbacks & overpriced books

If you needed another reason to shop outside the (big) box, McNally Robinson Booksellers have reduced prices on 1,500 titles to par with the American Greenback.

commonloon2.jpgThat’s a small but promising beginning, even if it’s only relevant to a small market in Western Canada (Calgary, Saskatoon, Winnipeg). Despite the muscular performance of the Canadian Loonie, puzzled and frustrated Canadian readers are still getting gouged on book prices, typically paying, for example, $21.95 on a trade paperback that goes for $14.95 (U.S.).

“Parity in pricing! Parity in pricing!” we shout. Well, maybe not shout. We’re Canadian, after all.

Books are one of those things fundamental to personal well-being, as well as the body politic; anytime they’re subjected to potentially restrictive pricing it’s cause for alarm. Taxing books, in my books, borders on the criminal.

No indications of any similar parity plans from the Wal-Mart of Canadian bookstores, Chapters-Indigo. Figures.

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4 Responses to “Parity parsed: Greenbacks & overpriced books”


  1. 1 Cliff Burns December 3, 2007 at 1:01 pm

    I think the disparity in prices of books sold in the U.S. and Canada is nothing less that a case of FRAUD and should be treated that way by our civil authorities and consumer watchdogs. Let’s hope that regulatory agencies start sharpening their invective and tactics and going after these gougers to the full extent of the law. Canadian book buyers are being hosed–make your statement by buying more books on line from U.S. companies. I bought a copy of Pynchon’s new book in paperback from Amazon. com and paid less for it than I would here in Canada (once taxes are factored in). No way am I going to give money to Canadian booksellers who won’t do the right thing…

  2. 2 proseparsed December 4, 2007 at 2:51 pm

    I share your frustration. Libraries and used bookstores aren’t always viable options. I’ve got Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine on my To Read list, but since I’m unwilling to fork over the cash for a hard copy cover, I’m sitting at number 70 in the library queue. I placed the hold on Oct. 5. At this pace I think I better put in a call to Santa…Greg

  3. 3 Marsha December 6, 2007 at 5:58 am

    I agree with the unfair book pricing outside of the USA. In Australia, we not only get a smaller selection, but the prices can be outrageous. I too support my local library and wait in the queue for for the most popular books. By the time I get my hands on them, the buzz about them has passed on.
    Also with regard to financial matters in bookshops, I read somewhere that only about 10% of the stock in a major chain bookshop actually sells. The rest seems to function like steroids, pumping up the bookshop to look as if it offers mega choices. How strange. Marsha http://writingcompanion.wordpress.com/

  4. 4 proseparsed December 7, 2007 at 4:31 am

    My goodness — 10 per cent?! That’s interesting, and a little sad, too; especially if you’re an author who’s finally published, only to be window dressing for the few that are getting picked up. Greg


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