Cracking post this about book buying and selling in Australia from a book buyers perspective:
The Australian Booksellers Association has been pushing on behalf of retailers for the government to introduce GST on imported goods under $1000, which would effectively raise the price of books on Book Depository by 10%. On 18th December a Productivity Commission inquiry was announced to examine the concern of retailers, so expect a war of words between retailers and consumer groups in the next 6 months. It is worth pointing out that in the case of my 118 books, adding 10% to their purchase price would result in a spend of $1636.38, still $1102.50 less than had I purchased them at Borders, and $714.33 less than Readings.
via Fly the Falcon: Book Depository vs Book Stores.
Fascinating story this. I’ve heard and been part of a few conversations about this phenomenon for some time. It is interesting both from the perspective of the booksellers and the publishing, and the state’s perspective. It demonstrates the way that external actors can undermine a state’s tax base. I wonder if, like in some US states, the government will actually start imposing a sales tax on foreign/non-state based outlets?
Take Stieg Larsson’s international bestseller, The Millennium Trilogy The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest. Even on sale, they’re still $16 more expensive in store than from the UK, including delivery.
That is the dilemma for one of Australia’s biggest book sellers. Dymocks is considering moving its online business offshore because it says it cannot compete with cheap, online sales.
Dymocks chief executive Don Grover says overseas retailers have an unfair advantage because they do not pay GST.
“Dymocks has been in the business for 130 years, and we’re actually now having to make a decision about whether or not to move our online business offshore,” he told the ABC.”
It would actually make more sense for us to send books from an overseas location back into Australia and avoid the GST. To give a competitive advantage to overseas web sites of 10 per cent is just unsustainable.”
Don Grover says his company is already trimming its margins, and the success of cheap, international web sites is making it hard to compete.
via Book battle: Dymocks considers offshore option – ABC News Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Trouble, strife and fallout from the agency model is blowing about in the Uk, watch this space!
Hachette e-books have been removed from the websites of Waterstone’s, W H Smith, Tesco and The Book Depository after the publisher said it would move to agency terms from today (20th September). But Amazon.co.uk is still selling Hachette titles on the Kindle, and appears to still be setting the prices.
via Hachette e-books removed from Waterstone’s, WHS, and Book Depository | theBookseller.com.
The wonderful people over at The Book Depository have rolled out a free ebook program. Kieron Smith, Managing Director of The Book Depository, said [in their press release]:
We wanted to give our customers a really wonderful present this Christmas. We’re continually working to increase the number of books that we have available on our website – 2.4 million at present, which is an unparalled number. Ebooks are much talked about at the moment but difficult for people to try, this gives people a chance to experiment, read something new and try ebooks all at no risk and free of charge.
We’ve not launched ebooks for sale as yet, but will do soon, this promotion is a great way for us to start talking to our customers about what they want from the format.
Quite wonderfully in my opinion, the program uses PDF. After all most people who don’t know anything about ebooks, know about PDF and feel confident in downloading them. I think the ebook program is nicely executed. It is smooth, fits into the rest of the site where you would expect it and offers something very interesting to readers.
I’m hoping this also drives print sales for The Book Depository’s Dodo Press. I’ve downloaded these two (1,2) for free, what will you get?
Lots to enjoy here,
Fidra Books posted a query on their blog today designed to help them figure out what books to order for their new store:
We’re resigned to the fact that we will open with a stock that has gaps and biases and it would be hard not to – this can be rectified in the next few months as we discover our customers’ tastes – but in an attempt to be more balanced we’d like you, our lovely blog-readers, to make some suggestions in the comments section below as to say, your top ten books that you’d love to see in a bookshop.
I loved the challenge this presented and so I went to work straight away, this is what came up with!
In an vain attempt to spread my bets and make sure I cover as many bases as possible I think this list may well get a bit rickety but here goes! In no order particularly:
1) AJP Taylor, The Origins of the Second World War (for the thinking general history reader, this will launch them on the path of a thousand questions)
2) Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, Civilizations or Millennium (in terms of broad brush history of the epic kind, you’d be hard pressed to find better than these)
3) Mark Kurlansky, The Basque History of the World (a travelogue, a cookbook, a history and all wrapped in the neatest little package, sweet as)
4) Alfred Bester, The Stars My Destination (clever science fiction for the fan who hasn’t yet mined the Science fiction cannon)
5) Stephanie Swainston, No Present Like Time (genre bending, adventure and all with an inconstant narrator, boy does Steph write fantasy well)
6) Ernest Hemmingway, The Old Man & The Sea (maybe its a guy thing, but this may well be one of the few fiction books I can stand to re-read)
7) Evelyn Waugh, Sword of Honour Trilogy (yes this cheating slightly because its a trilogy but lordy this is great writing)
8) Bryan Ward-Perkins, The Fall of Rome And the End of Civilization (this revives the full horror and the depth of the tragedy that was the end of the Roman empire, and moves the debate on from the hole I believe it fell into by trying to pass the collapse of Rome off as merely change rather than regression)
9) Robert Cooper, The Breaking of Nations: Order and Chaos in the Twenty-First Century (a nicely thought through book on the global political lanscape, not as radical as any of the Kagan books [Paradise and Power/The Return of History and the End of Dreams] but better for that)
10) William A. Draves & Julie Coates, Nine Shift (one of the most prescient and forward thinking books, I have ever read. Calmly and plainly explains where the world is going, why and looks at how it will change society utterly. A great book)
Two notes. Children’s books from picture books, to fiction, Food & Drink, Sport, Modern Fiction and quite a few other topics got a raw deal here but that’s the nature of top 10 lists. The last space took some time deciding.
I think it’s a good list!