One of the truths about being a book lover in Australia is that books here are expensive, so I thought it would be interesting to do a comparison of the price for a specific book. This post is also doubling up as a Currently Reading post, because I did actually start reading this book on Friday. Yes, I am 2% of the way through War and Peace by Tolstoy! I signed up for the Classics Circuit (White Nights on the Neva: Imperial Russian Literature tour)and my post is due on 15 July 2010, although I was very clear when signing up that it was more likely to be a progress post rather than a review as such.
Originally I borrowed the book from the library, but then I realised that there was no way I would be able to get through it and read other books as well, so I decided to buy it.
So my comparison basis for this exercise was that it was the same translator, and I was only looking at the paperback copy of the novel. All the sources are also the online stores, I haven't actually moved from my chair to do this comparison. The cover on the left is the US cover and the one on the right is the UK cover. All prices are in Australian dollars, and were based on the exchange rate the day that I did the comparisons (so may have changed a little since then).
Book Depository UK $17.01 (free postage)
Book Depository US $23.84 (free postage)
Borders Australia (US version) $30.95 (free postage)
Borders Australia (UK version) $23.95 (free postage)
Dymocks (UK Version) $29.95 (plus $6.50 postage)
Angus and Robertson (US Version) $40.95 (plus $6.00 postage)
Amazon.com $16.03 (plus $11.94 postage)
One other thing that probably needs to be taken into consideration is that fact that ordering online means that you can't have that instant gratification. There are still days when I will go to the book store and buy a book, but generally I will either get it from the library or I will order it from overseas.The shipping cost for Amazon was for Standard International Shipping (averages 18-32 days), but there are faster shipping options available but they cost more. In my experience I generally get orders from the UK Book Depository within a week or so of ordering.
The final factor is that often there are books that I see mentioned around blogs that I really want to read, that just never make it into the stores here, so by buying from overseas means that I get access to a lot of those books.
It seems ridiculous really that it costs me significantly more to buy from an Australian bookstore than it does to buy a book from the UK or the US, but that's the way it has consistently proven to be for this Australian book buyer. I would love to be supporting Aussie business, but when the prices are not really even competitive it is hard to do that.