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Canadian Price Discrepancies Won’t Go Away

Shelf Awareness points to a piece in today’s Victoria Times about the disparity between US and Canadian book prices. The gap between the US cover price ($26.50 and the Canadian price ($33.50) of Harlan Coben‘s new novel might make sense if it were 2002, writes James Knox, when the Great Northern Peso was slumming down around 62 cents US. But with the suddenly robust loonie bobbing above 94 cents, the disparity is getting harder to ignore. Just based on the exchange rate, a book listed at $26.95 US should sell for about $28.50 Canadian, right?

“We don’t understand it, either,” said Bruce Cran of the Consumers Association of Canada. You would think goods imported from the U.S. would retail for less now, but it’s just not happening. “We’re getting no benefit at all.” And this makes the issue, caused by long lead times and especially sore for booksellers, who feel consumer wrath more than most retailers with customers who complain loudly at the difference. Suffice it to say the issue will be front and centre at the Canadian Booksellers Association’s annual meeting, which starts in Toronto today. “We’re pushing the publishers as best we can,” said Munro Books owner Jim Munro.

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