Going For Broke
Everyone will have now read, seen or heard the news that Borders and Amazon have been heading up a fetid creek for far too long. In the land of Oz (the non-magical and not infested by Munchkins version) the media are now weighing in.
See this article
You see I’m to blame. I brazenly buy books from places other than big chain stores. I have a Kindle and enjoy reading e-books. I am, in short, the devil incarnate and will be sacrificed on a pyre of celebrity biographies, cookbooks and other non-selling book store stock.
|A Recent Photo of Me.|
Lets take a look at some of the points that were made.
I’ll play devils advocate here and talk about taxes first. There are only two sureties in life; taxes and whining about them. In the non-Munchkin land of Oz we have a 10% goods and services tax (GST) on everything except food. This means that imports don’t have this tax, because they aren’t Australian. I guess we evil overseas book buyers paying taxes to a foreign country should pay another tax for daring to participate in the global economy. That way I can be more involved in the global economy with taxes in multiple countries.
Recently we also had a change in the Aussie dollar, it reached parity with the US dollar. For those who haven’t studied economics, this means that if I have one Australian dollar I can trade it for one American dollar, I know because I saw an article on it – tricky stuff that economics. Now that means that if I wanted to, say, buy materials that are needed to print books they would have gotten cheaper. Equipment upgrades, cheaper. Printing ink, cheaper. So clearly a stronger Aussie dollar must mean that it is harder to compete…………
The threat from online sales is, of course, just terrible. How dare our country sign up to a fair trade agreement and actually have its citizens abide by it. Who’d have thought that when you have a business competing in an international market it would mean that you would have to compete with stores all over the globe?
Of course this means that me and my evil kind are killing retail jobs.
One point that Bob Carr (former politician – which means dodgy) makes is about how it is all the government’s fault that books cost so much. He states that they would be 33% cheaper if only his benevolent company Dymocks was able to buy their books from overseas instead of locally. 33%? I think it is basic maths time for this particular businessman.
As an example I will use the latest action-thriller by Andy McDermott. His book Empire of Gold (which I’m looking forward to getting my fiendish hands on) has just come out recently and is available from Dymocks in Australia, or for the evil book buyers, from Amazon.
Dymocks Australia online price: $24.79 (paperback)
Amazon: $9.99 (paperback) or $24.63 (hardcover)
So let us take 30% from the Dymocks price:
$24.79 – 30%(7.44) = $17.35
Well, I’m not a maths genius, but at a guess I’d say that being able to buy a hardcover at USA retail prices for the same price as the paperback retail in Australia is not exactly a 33% difference for a paperback. In fact, to buy it would be more like a 60% difference between the paperback prices. So I’d have to say that I’m not looking as evil as I first thought.
I wonder where that other 33% is going? It certainly isn’t into royalties for writers. I’d just like to be reminded what the wonderful companies that have just left a hole in the heavenly book retail world went bankrupt not paying (analogy: imagine that the authors are Marsellus Wallace, the publishers are Butch, the retailers are Zed and Maynard, and in this version Butch just does a runner). While we are on the subject, I’m unsure whether Dymocks is a discounting chain store driving every other book store out of business or The Coalition for Cheaper Books.
Clearly I’m so evil and my kind are the cause of all problems in the publishing world. It could never be the fault of antiquated business models forgetting that there are only two important parts in the publishing industry, namely the readers and the writers, everything else is clearly expendable. Excuse me while I pay a 70% royalty to a new author for a book that you can’t buy from a publisher or store.