Sunday, February 10, 2013

Senate Addresses Canadian & American Book Price Differences

In recent weeks, there has been a fair bit of local (Vancouver) news coverage on the price differences between Canadian and American goods. Many British Columbians head south of the border to buy significantly cheaper gas and dairy products, for example. Readers who’ve purchased books in both countries are well aware that books cost significantly more in Canada.

A recent article from states that a Senate report released this week has analyzed these price differences and come up with recommendations about closing the gap, which is good news for Canadians.

In the late 1990s the Canadian government amended a law which helped U.S. publishers adjust to the currency imbalance at that time and to cover the costs of shipping and distributing books in Canada. Canadian exclusive distributors were allowed to add a 10% markup on the sales price from the country of origin and adjust for current exchanges. Apparently, the rules were supposed to act as a price ceiling, however, it doesn’t appear to have worked out that way.

Times have changed. The Canadian dollar is now at par, however, the markup still exists under the Border Importation Regulations, which is linked to the Copyright Act. The bottom line appears to be that Canada is still a relatively small market and the cost of doing business here is still high for American publishers. Whether the Senate recommendations will eventually mean cheaper prices at Canadian bookstores remains to be seen.

You’ll find links to the Senate report and other info in the Yahoo article,

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