18 March 2011

Save Money on Books! (in Canada)

With the Canadian dollar now eclipsing that of the US dollar in value it's time to capitalize on some opportunities.

Recently I was asked to review a book for one of my favourite marketing people, Guy Kawasaki. When I got to the end, I analyzed the book itself; the cover, the jacket, the feel... and then the price. Whaaaaa??

What astonished me was that on today's bookshelf, it was $6 more in Canadian funds... looking at an older book by the same author it was $11.50 more in Canada. As a Canadian, this has always bothered me, but now that our dollar is worth more, it's time to take advantage of this opportunity.

Here's how it works:
  1. Go to the bank and exchange $100 CDN for $101.50 USD.
  2. Go to your local bookstore and shop for books.
  3. Pay with your newly acquired US currency.
  4. You save 15 - 25% on the book and you have more money to spend!
Cool, eh? But it's not that easy, in fact, it doesn't work.

But why? Well, some Canadian book retailers and publishers have been ahead of the curve on this front. Putting stickers over the cover price with a 'Canadian Price' or 'New Price' - in many cases offering a lower price than even the US price.

This is great news for readers, especially Canadian ones, eh? I think so.

The US/Canadian pricing disparity stems from a combination of things, in fact, one top bookseller in Canada posts on their web site the following:

• We buy and sell books in Canadian dollars. We do not profit from a strengthened Canadian dollar.

• A majority of our suppliers are based in the US. These suppliers add an extra charge, sometimes 10-15% more, on items shipped to Canada due to the extra cost of doing business in Canada like freight, minimum wage etc.

Having first hand experience with printing, shipping, warehousing and distributing print books through our last title, I can assure you, there is an enormous cost in shipping and warehousing tied to print books.

I say, good on the Canadian retailers and publishers for recognizing this perceived issue with consumers, doing something about it and communicating it.

So, as a Canadian consumer, thanks to Canadian publishers and retailers, you can save money on books after all. Now get out there and buy some.

PS - For my image, I chose to go with a literal translation of the blog's title today... stock photography filling the role of obvious, once more.

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