Pricing for the Digital Age – A Postscript

Last week I wrote about pricing for digital content. In the past, I’ve also written about geo-blocking.

So, I decided to conduct a (very) small experiment in price comparison by market territory.

I chose a specific book title, and compared prices of the digital and print editions, between several retail sites, in 3 markets (Australia, UK and USA).

Before I conducted the exercise, my expectation was that Australia would be the most expensive (based on current exchange rates*), and USA the cheapest, but not much cheaper than the UK. But I was surprised by the results….

First, digital version:

Apple’s iTunes store: Australia A$37.99; USA A$37.76; UK A$41.83

Amazon: Australia A$20.60; USA A$20.61; UK A$33.18

eBooks.com: Australia A$40.95; USA A$37.72; UK A$48.03

Booktopia: A$39.95

I was surprised that the iTunes price between Australia and the USA was so close – when it comes to music, iTunes Australia is usually far more expensive than either the USA or UK. Amazon appeared to have the title on sale, but I can’t work out why the UK prices are so much higher. Thanks to geo-blocking, of course, I cannot access the slightly cheaper price in the US store. But I was able to buy it from Amazon.com (and at the same, cheaper price as Amazon.com.au).

Second, print edition (based on shipping costs to/within Australia):

Amazon: Australia not available; USA A$40.89 (inc. P&P to Australia); UK A$50.37 (inc. P&P to Australia)

Book Depository: A$32.31 (inc. P&P from UK)

Angus & Robertson: A$39.99 (inc. P&P within Australia)

Readings: A$40.95 (inc. P&P within Australia)

Booktopia: A$48.45 (inc. P&P within Australia)

Clearly, Book Depository is the best option by far (and is frequently so) and seems willing to undercut its parent company, Amazon – or maybe there’s a deliberate strategy as Amazon.com.au does not yet sell physical products. However, the much higher price charged by Australia’s Booktopia might speak volumes about the state of local retail….

 

NOTE:

Prices were converted from the published local price on each website, then converted to A$ using xe.com

 

 

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