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One would think that the same item offered by online booksellers would have similar prices. One would be wrong. I was looking up Georg Simmel's Philosophy of Money. Finding the english edition stuff outrageously priced (20% off - only $144, a steal!), I looked it up the German one. I can buy the Suhrkamp edition new, list price 18 Euros from Amazon.de, or  I can buy the exact same edition used in the US for $102. Wtf?
by MarekNYC on Sun Sep 21st, 2008 at 02:44:25 PM EST
Are these the publisher's prices? Publishers sometimes made different choices on prices for different markets, at least for books that they don't expect to be very popular. I presume that it's a tradeoff between selling a few books for a high price, and selling a few more for a lower price. I had assumed that this had come to an end with internet shopping, but it looks like I was wrong.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sun Sep 21st, 2008 at 02:53:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
18 Euros is the publisher's list price for the German paperback edition. $180 is the publisher's list price for the hardcover US edition, Amazon will sell it for twenty percent off, i.e. $144. $102 is what a used bookseller in the US on Abe Books is charging for a used version of the 18 euro German edition.

I definitely prefer reading stuff in English than in German, but there's a limit. Maybe I'll check to see if there are any reasonably priced French editions.

by MarekNYC on Sun Sep 21st, 2008 at 03:00:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, it's paperback vs. hardcover which makes sense, though maybe not to such an extent. But I definitely remember in the past seeing big differences (up to a factor of 2) between the same book in the U.K. and in the U.S. (usually, but not always, cheaper in the U.S.), at least when a different publisher was involved in each country.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sun Sep 21st, 2008 at 03:07:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, the list price for the book is 18 euros. The price for the same exact book, same edition, used, is $102 in the US. I understand why the US translation is more expensive, though $180 seems a bit steep - who the hell other than a handful of research libraries buys at that price?
by MarekNYC on Sun Sep 21st, 2008 at 03:11:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The publisher probably decided that they will sell only a few copies outside research libraries anyway, and decided to maximize their profits this way. I've no idea if they are right, but they could be. I agree it's silly. Now, if research libraries would only start ordering from Amazon, maybe they could put an end to this nonsense...
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sun Sep 21st, 2008 at 03:18:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The second hand market in the US is insane. I don't know if it's Abe or profiteering, but it's completely normal now for small-run books which were in print for $10-$20 to go on sale on the used market for $100-$200 as soon as the print run ends.

There are at least four books I'd quite like to own which have been out of print for a while now, and the lowest asking price is $135. I had one in my wishlist and when it was still in print it was priced at a more usual £9.

You can see this on Amazon marketplace in the UK, which includes US sellers - they'll typically charge four times or upwards of the UK marketplace prices for items which are easy to find.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Sep 21st, 2008 at 05:34:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've  often kicked myself for not buying one book, the second part of a 2 part histoy of castles.  1st volue I got for £8 second hand, whilst reassembling part of my book collection. 2nd part , lowest price i've seen is £180 in the states.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Sep 21st, 2008 at 05:40:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I remember being at a drunken party run by a US publisher, when in discussion with some retailers it turned out his distributor was charging the retailers as if the exchange rate was $1=£1, this was back during the 80's when it was closer to twice that. the publisher retaliated by printing UK prices on all of his product to stop them making an excessive profit.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Sep 21st, 2008 at 03:38:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, there have been cases of e-books priced higher than books...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Sun Sep 21st, 2008 at 07:30:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Academic books are routinely marketed at insane prices in the US because they don't expect anybody will actually buy them.  $100 plus is far from uncommon for particularly obscure books.

They only get cheaper if it's expected they will have a life in the specialty consumer market (History Book Club, etc,), or be sold as textbooks for universities.

by Zwackus on Sun Sep 21st, 2008 at 07:39:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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