Thursday, May 10, 2012

Book Pricing in Australia: a personal story

Nobel prize winning economist Paul Krugman has been published by Norton in the US for eons now. When I saw that his latest book was to be published on 30 April in the US I immediately placed a backorder for it on Amazon, knowing I'd get it within a few days of release, and knowing also that Norton invariably sells Commonwealth rights to every Krugman title, and the Commonwealth edition comes to Australia weeks or even months later with far lower production standards but at an inflated price.

I did get the handsome US edition three days later, at a total cost of $60.00 including $35.00 for freight.

However, as it happened, I went to Readings in Carlton that same day to buy something else, and whoa...there on the new release shelf was the new Krugman! The US edition.

Wiley, who represents Norton in Australia, had secured the Australian rights and released it on the same day as the US edition, and priced it at the exactly right price of $32.95. The US price (it's a hardback) is $24.95. 

Do the math: multiply $24.95 by 1.10 (to cover currency volatility); then by 1.10 again for the GST: that comes to $30.19. Round up to the nearest traditional price point and you get $32.95.

Well done Wiley! The old firm has obviously held onto some fundamental values I introduced years ago! 

So I was dudded by ordering from Amazon.

But then again, another hardback I bought yesterday was the new Robert Levine book on the copyright wars called Free Ride, published by Random House. The Commonwealth edition was released recently in Australia at a price of $49.95. Using the same pricing logic as above it should have been no more than $36.95. Here's the math on a UK title: £18.99 divided by 65 (average exchange rate over the last few months); multiplied by 1.10; multiplied by 1.10 again. This comes to $35.35, so rounded up to the nearest price point is $36.95.

Soooo...Random, why are you pricing this book at an outrageous $49.95? 

The answer is obvious: to send people to Amazon!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Received today from Book Depository UK

'The Meme Machine by Susan Blackmore

Ordered on line posted to door cost- new $12.22

Checked at Dymocks on line price $37.95 same book