Canadian Book Buyers Are Angry Over Dollar Parity

Canadian book buyers are mad! After decades of higher book prices being explained away by the weak Canadian dollar, book buyers suddenly find themselves paying “more” money for the same book.

From USA Today:

Among books released in recent weeks, as the currencies approached parity, the list price on Alan Greenspan’s The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World is $35 U.S. and $42 Canadian. Suggested retail prices for James Patterson’s You’ve Been Warned are $27.99 and $32.50.

“Before, when there was a 5% or 10% difference (in the currencies), people would … accept that the Canadian price was higher without making a calculation,” says Douglas Porter, deputy chief economist at BMO Capital Markets. “Now that we’re spot-on parity, it’s tougher to explain away that difference.”

Books have their prices set months in advance, so it’s tough luck for Canada, though David Kent, CEO of HarperCollins Canada, says his team is working on it. “One tactic they’re taking: Putting stickers with adjusted prices over older Canadian prices.”

Sorry, Canada. We suppose you’ll have to visit the library for something to read while you wait in line for your excellent health care.

Dollar parity angers Canadian book buyers [USA Today]


Edit Your Comment

  1. bluesunburn says:

    My wife’s from Toronto. We held our wedding there last month, and saved *some* money from the currency difference, but not much.

    (We saved more because my father-in-law runs a bakery and does business with caterers who were willing to cut him a deal since they like his bread and cakes and such…)

  2. ianmac47 says:

    Why not just whip out some greenbacks?

  3. headon says:

    @bluesunburn. Way to be on topic. Take some time and go back and read the post. I see that it refers to books and Canadian prices on books. Where the hell do you see weddings and baked good mentioned.

  4. chrisfromnl says:

    I am in Canada. Can I go to chapters and pay the American price using American money?

  5. Daemon_of_Waffle says:

    So Canadia exports its cheap drugs to us, and we export our expensive books to them. All is well, no?

    The could always set up book-buying-border-runs to the cross-border Borders and get a cheap novel.

  6. kabes says:

    “Sorry, Canada. We suppose you’ll have to visit the library for something to read while you wait in line for your excellent health care.”

    Canadians having to “wait in line” for health care is a myth purported by U.S. HMO’s, but believe what you want.

    Anyway, back on topic… we Canadians can just order from to take advantage of the crumbling american dollar. I’ve been doing it for years. It’s a great place to order DVDs as well…best of all, no taxes or duties. Reason being is all of the stuff ships from even though you’re taking advantage of’s superior pricing.

  7. Cisslepants says:

    This same issue occurred to me last week. I work in a corner of the publishing industry, and I wondered aloud to some of my coworkers to that effect.

  8. mantari says:

    And as a citizen of the USA, I demand that we pay MORE for Canadian books. We need to protect the authors here at home, and not continue to cell Canadian titles at artificially low prices!

  9. enm4r says:

    @kabes: Ironic that I’ve ordered from when the deals/prices were much better than

  10. Meg Marco says:

    @kabes: Is the Canadian sense of humor a myth, too?

  11. North of 49 says:

    Uh, no, we can’t just whip out greenbacks and pay with those. You have to ask first if they’ll let us pay the american price. And since its parity, the merchant is still loosing money.

  12. Daemon_of_Waffle says:

    @meghannmarco: The humor is only brought out after a few LaBlatt Blues.

  13. Uriel says:

    Like the majestic Maple leaf on their flag, don’t mess with Canada, or they’ll dry up and blow away.

  14. CanuckGreg says:

    “…excellent health care…”

    That’s really funny. Our (Canadian) system is fantastic. Just don’t ever get sick and have to visit a hospital. Or try to find a family doctor or paediatrician who will accept new patients. Or need to see a specialist.

  15. Uriel says:

    @CanuckGreg: or be an american.

  16. lincolnparadox says:

    @kabes: Kabes–
    You might hear this alot, but you sir, are a genius.

    My folks live in Niagara Falls. Canadians have been coming across the border to buy “cheaper” American goods for a decade. First, to avoid the GST. Now, it’s just plain cheaper.

    I might just have to look at salary difference in Canada.

  17. goodguy812 says:

    i love how southpark animates canadians! i could picture one right now complainig about book prices! lol. i wouldn’t be surprised if an episode is being crafted right now!, well the season 11 episodes are a bit lame.

  18. embean says:

    I used to work at Chapters, and NO you cannot pay the American price if you pay with American currency. The currency is irrelevant. You can pay the Canadian price in American if you want, but as long as you’re in Canada you pay the Canadian price. I can’t imagine how much employees must get harassed about this now! Just buy books online, so much cheaper!

  19. embean says:

    And we don’t wait in line for health care either!

  20. Leiterfluid says:

    Well, it’s only fair that since drugs manufactured in the U.S. are cheaper to buy in Canada that paper manufactured in Canada be cheaper to buy in the U.S.

  21. llcooljabe says:

    kabes: I am a canadian living in the USA now. I would, in a heartbeat take US healthcare over what I had in Ontario. I used to wait months to see a specialist. My parents still do, 6 months in fact, usually.

    Women cannot see gyn’s as a primary physician, cause of shortages. In fact pregnant women see midwives in the early stages of pregnancy because the OBs are too busy.

    I used to live in a border city, and crossed the border to work in the US. I used to pay for health benefits cause my OHIP (ontario health insurance plan) sucked so much.

    So, kabes: it is not a myth.

  22. bbbici says:

    Have you seen how much ketchup chips cost in the States? You have to specially import them from Canada.

  23. Katchoo says:

    Regarding paying with US funds @ Chapters/Indigo, you get the exchange rate on American currency. Since it’s 1:1 your $10 US is only worth $10 CDN. If you want to pay the US price with the US money that’s burning a hole in your wallet then you’ll have to hike it across the border.

  24. dextrone says:

    @bbbici: I never see them here, but they taste soooo, good.

    Hmm, BTW Canadians we have to deal with Medicare, which is useless for MOST of US. So be happy, Just several KM south, we have horrific health care SYSTEMS.

  25. @bbbici:

    I had to PAY for EACH packet of ketchup I got at a Canadian McD’s…

    ‘splain that

  26. Melsky says:

    I’m from the US and lived in Canada for three years, and I’ll take the Canadian health care system any day. That was my biggest regret on returning to the US.

  27. Skiffer says:

    That’s what they get for having round bacon and putting their milk in bags…

  28. swalve says:

    Does anyone here know what currency even is? Just because the dollar is cheaper doesn’t mean that the looney has any more purchasing power. Things are only worth what you can get for them.

  29. wesrubix says:

    Dear Canada,

    Sorry our economy sucks. We’ll try to fix it in a few years, when a few things make more sense around here.

    Love, hopeful voter.

  30. nattles says:

    You should look into book pricing around the world. It used to be justified because of transportation costs, but into today’s modern world , it is a non issue. I am an American living in Sydney. If I go to buy a best selling paperback, I expect to pay about 18 US dollars. RIP OFF!!!

  31. bigdaddyvalckx says:

    Do what I do., even with shipping, can still be $5-$10 cheaper than buying the book in the Chapters store itself. If Canadian booksellers can’t compete, I choose to go elsewhere.

  32. Marko_Vulvic says:

    Hold on a second…

    American’s read books?

  33. embean says:

    The different prices reflect more than just the currency. There are other “technicalities” to selling American books in Canada, that have costs attached to them. The Canadian price, the vendors can’t change, it’s an agreement they have with the merchant. From working at Chapters, I can tell you that shopping online for books was often cheaper than buying with my employee discount. is almost a completely separate business in that it is designed to compete with Amazon. The prices are completely different on the website. We used to get a lot of people complaining because prices are way cheaper online and do not reflect in-store prices (understandably). Basically, most books over $30 will be discounted around 40% on the website. Shipping is free on orders over $40, and often you get the books within just a couple of days. Going to a store is just an inconvenience compared to shopping online.

  34. CapitalC says:

    @Marko_Vulvic does not speak for all Canadians with his horrible grammar.

  35. zibby says:

    @Marko_Vulvic: You sure you don’t mean “book’s” there, pal?

  36. mr_jrdn says:

    I live in Canada, and the dollar parity issue is affecting more than just books. There are lots of US based companies that charge more for items just because they are being sold in Canada. Apple is a good example, I was about to purchase a MacBook until i realized that it would cost me $200 more because I live in Canada. This whole ordeal seems like price gouging, and i wouldn’t be surprised if a few class action suits are started over this. Until that happens, all of us Canadians will have to pay more for our products.

  37. SexCpotatoes says:

    I’m not sure if I’ve seen this explained in the comments above yet, so here goes:

    Canadians pay $3.65 for a $2.99 USD comic book. The extra moneys included in the price reflects the government taxes worked into the normal price. Regardless of the price disparity, the extra moneys go towards the social programs that Canada has like universal health care. It’s just that with the currency trading at equal value Canadians are MORE likely to notice that they are paying all that extra money to fund their programs. If they don’t understand the basic reasoning behind the built-in price differential then tough cookies. The 20% + price difference has to account for that. Anyone saying, but we should be paying american prices for it because it is cheaper is “dumb as an american.” Most of the time, last I recall, Canadian dollars were worth 85% of American dollars and holding steady, before they became even, that’s a 15% or so price difference, not the over 20% that’s on the cover of my comic book.

    Essentially, Canadians are being forced to pay what they perceive as “more” for their social programs since the American Dollar has sunk so low.

    (At least that’s my best guess. I could be wrong, if I am, just chalk it up to me being a ‘stupid american’)

  38. mr_jrdn says:

    @SexCpotatoes: You are right that in Canada we pay taxes for many of our great social services, however those taxes tend to be sales taxes that are added to the price of things (such as books) AFTER the retail price. So when we pay more for a book, we still pay tax on top of that. The initial price of the book is still set by the publication company, and the difference in Canadian/American price goes right into their pockets.

  39. IRSistherootofallevil says:

    By the way, if you work for an American company that has branch offices in Canada, you get paid more because they pay you whatever the wage in USD translated to CAD (like at 1/1.25 USD/CAD, they pay you $75k CAD for a job that pays $60k USD) like a year or two ago…but that may have changed.

  40. keepbreathing says:

    Wow! This is the first site I’ve been to that proves there are some intelligent people out there!!
    What a hoot! and a great way to find out about those who wish to participate in your discussions!

    I just want to say, as a Canadian, that I want the US economy to get back on track ‘cuz when bad things happen to you guys…we hurt too. We’re conjoined at the 49th and there’s no way to separate us. For those Americans who don’t like it, just think of us as your stuffy 3rd cousins you never really knew anyway. For Canadians, our American part of this image might be more difficult to create…hmmm……how to depict brassy, outspoken, intelligent, empathetic, emotional, cold, loving, selfish, warmongering, righteous, funny, honest, kind, crazy, money driven, corrupted, industrious, free-thinking, closed minded, bigotted, all-encompassing, stereotyping,peace-loving, friendly, generous, mad people???
    Oh ya! Hey fellow Canadians, imagine Americans as people just like us!!

    We need your economy to be in good shape. Maybe once the current businesses running the country get out of DC, it’ll be better. Here’s hoping!!!