We’re all used to seeing those tags on book covers that announce one (lower) price for a book in the U.S., next to a higher price for Canada.
Annoying as that is, at least there’s a certain consistency to it. But what happens when publishers decide not to list a Canadian price, declaring only that the price is “higher in Canada”?
This is what appears to be happening with at least one publisher. Reddit user 2brun4u posted the following photo on Friday:
Going by the ISBN number, that’s a copy of Philip K. Dick’s sci-fi classic "A Scanner Darkly." And the price is, indeed, “higher in Canada” — it retails at Chapters Indigo stores for $17.50.
To the more paranoid out there, this “higher in Canada” trend looks dangerous. With the sticker simply saying it’s “higher” here, what’s to stop retailers from charging whatever they want?
Well, competition for one — especially the heated competition for book buyers online. That $17.50 copy of A Scanner Darkly goes for only $12.64 on Chapters Indigo’s website.
And it’s actually somewhat understandable that book publishers would want to hedge their bets on Canadian prices. The loonie has lost about 10 per cent of its value in the past year, half of that since the start of 2014, and with some forecasts calling for a way lower loonie and others declaring it’s already bottomed out, trying to predict what to charge in Canada begins to take on all the accuracy of a drunken dart-throwing competition.
So maybe we can forgive them, a little, for getting all vague about it.
All the same, there is something depressingly final to see it declared that prices are just going to be “higher in Canada.”