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Last Saturday night Ella and I made our way over to Chapters to get a cup of coffee and brownie at Starbucks. I enjoy searching through the Biography section to capture just a little of famous people’s lives.

There was an autobiography by David Suzuki the world renowned naturalist. David has a London connection having attended London Central Collegiate. The book was published by Greystone Books from Vancouver British Columbia Canada.

I found it very disturbing that there were two sale prices. The United States price quote rang in at $29.95 and we Canadians are obliged to pay $34.95 plus the GST.
Seems strange that a Canadian author who writes for a Vancouver publisher and still there is the discrepancy of five dollars. Not very likely that the book will be a best seller south of the border.

Check out Peter C. Newman’s “Here be Dragons” biography published by Mc Clelland & Stewart Ltd, Toronto. Cost to us Canadian readers is $42.99 plus GST and the US sticker is eleven dollars cheaper at $31.95.

The book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad published by Warner Books, New York, gave some very interesting advice of “What the rich teach their children.” The US cost was $16.95 compared to $24.95 in Canada. A whopping 50% saving for our cousins in the good old US of A.

With a cost differential of 25-50% it is impossible for Londoner readers to purchase books at the same cost as our relatives in Detroit.

I sure was miffed at the Canadian vs US price differential The Canadian Loonie was at par with the US greenback. I went over to the manager and offered to pay for the three books on my American Express Gold card in American dollars.
He shook his head no. Okay I asked how about if I pay you with good old in God we trust US currency. Once again I was denied.

Silly me it has nothing to do with conversion of our loonie to their greenbacks. It is all about geography.
I called Indigo, the head office of Chapters, and was told by their public relations officer that the above information was indeed true. It is all about the price set by the publisher. Chapters merely passes along the pricing to their customers.

I was concerned enough to call the publisher, McClelland & Stewart, to speak to the sales manager. He wanted to assure me that we Canadians are not being gouged. Sure. He had a very simple rational why the price differential. ‘We Canadians are willing to pay more.’

I got in touch with The Association of Canadian Publishers who told me: “sorry we can’t help”. The pricing formula was indeed the sole domain of the publishers.

So if you live in London and buy a book by a Canadian author who is employed by a Canadian publisher for Canadian distribution you pay through the nose in Canadian funds.

I bet nothing will change in the pricing if our Canadian dollar goes to a premium against the Yankee dollar.

Being proud Canadian we sometimes can’t win for losing eh.

Please drop an email

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com