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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.

My favourite author Peter C. Newman had two new titles:”Heroes”, “Mavericks’ published by “Harper Collins” in Toronto for $29.99 Canadian with no US price quoted.
I discovered “Mordecai”, “The Life & Times” of Richler Canada’s esteemed writer published by Alfred Kopf, Canada Ltd. $34.95 Canadian vs $29.95 US.

A search through the sports journals I found “Don Cherry, Hockey Stories Part 2, $29.95 published by Double Day, Canada,$29.55 Canadian vs $25.00 US.

We have these two Canadians celebrities published in Canada , sold in London Ontario for Canadian readers to try an enjoy and yet there is the Canadian vs U.S pricing.
With a cost differential of 20% it is impossible for Londoner readers to purchase books at the same cost as our relatives in Detroit.

The Canadian Loonie was above par ($1.01) with the U S greenback when we went shopping. I suspected that there would be a reduction of one percent for my Canadian Loonie?. Wrong.

I took my two books to the cashier and was quoted prices in Canadian dollars. “Hey wait a minute”, I groaned, “not fair”.

I asked to speak to the manager and offered to pay for the two books on my American Express Gold card in American dollars . She shook her head no. Okay I asked how about if I pay you with good old, “In God We Trust”, US of A. 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 quoted pricing to their customers.

I was concerned enough to call the publishers. They wanted to assure me that we Canadians are not being gauged. Sure. They had a very simple rational why the price differential. “We Canadians are willing to pay more for our books.”

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 writes for a Canadian publisher for Canadian distribution you pay through the nose in Canadian funds.

Little has changed in the pricing if our books now that our Loonie is at a premium to the U.S of A Greenback
I wager that books are not the only purchases that we pay a premium for. Check out the prices for cars, electronics, food and clothes and I wager that we Canadians pay more then our cousins across the border.

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

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com