Monday, January 26, 2009

The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency and book price maths

Having zoomed through the entire Isabel Dalhousie Sunday Philosophy Club series by Alexander McCall Smith, I've started on the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. This one I picked up in a second hand book shop as a start and to see if I like it.

I did. Very much. One down, eight more, almost nine more to go.

I don't think I'll be buying any of them at the full rrp in Australia. See, here are the sums: second hand prices for these seem to range between $8 and $12 (I'm talking second hand book shops, not lucky op shop finds). The rrp on the paperbacks in bookshops that sell at rrp (and some charge more on some of their stock AND DON'T TELL YOU) is $22.99.

Ordering from the Amazons, or Amazon marketplaces, or Australian online shops attracts postage, which offsets any discount.

BUT: if I order them from the Book Depository ( they are around six British pounds each, which on the current exchange rate is just over $12 Australian. Plus free shipping from the UK.

Which leads to my question: why can a UK online bookshop sell me the identical book for about half the price charged at my local bookshop? It's crazy, somewhere in that equation. Admittedly, our dollar has risen against the UK pound recently, and dropped against the US dollar, so UK prices have improved. But even so.

So sometime next week (Book Depository orders take a week or two at most, easily beating the Amazons' month or so) I'll be reading the second book in this series and enjoying more sly humour.


1 comment:

Erica Spinks said...

I tried the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency when the first one was published and didn't take to it at all. Maybe one day I'll try again. I recommend The 2 1⁄2 Pillars of Wisdom. Is is screamingly funny in a very sly, understated way. The 44 Scotland Street series also has clever humour. But for me, Isabel Dalhousie books are the best. I have cried reading each one.