Overseas Book Prices

August 6, 2009 at 12:06 pm | Posted in Book Blather | 5 Comments

So I broke down and did it.  I bought books.  I had birthday money in my purse, and I figured I might as well spend it getting a good look at those Booker nominees that aren’t available here.  I’d never bought books from overseas before, and I thought you all might be  interested in how the prices broke down.

I bought five titles from Amazon UK: The Quickening Maze, The Children’s Book, How to Paint a Dead Man, Not Untrue and Not Unkind, and Wolf Hall.  After paying shipping and converting the currency from pounds to dollars, it cost $111.21.

We’ll skip Summertime, because it won’t be released until October 27 and the Booker winner will already have been announced then.  I was also able to get Me Cheeta at the library.  (Just sitting on the shelf!  Can you imagine?)

So, the remaining five Booker nominees can be bought on Amazon for a total of $117.56, assuming all new copies to take advantage of the free shipping.

How about that?  It actually wound up being cheaper to buy five books and have them shipped overseas halfway around the world than to get them here.  Of course that’s at least partly because some of the British books are already available in paperback.

Looking at e-books, I was not able to find a Kindle books section on the UK Amazon site.  Of the 13 Booker nominees, only three were available as e-books.  It’s still arguable to me whether the price of the device ever pays itself off, considering an improved version might be available before one had read enough cheaper e-book titles to recoup the investment.



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  1. Kindle hasn’t been released in the UK yet – hence the lack of kindle versions on the UK amazon.

    I look forward to comparing notes with you on the Booker long list.

  2. While there are cases where it pays to buy from overseas, the arguments against online purchases get even stronger in the case of overseas shipping. Because the convenience aspect is generally taken away, and the increased travel pollutes and is not exactly environmentally great. On the other hand, it’s hard to ignore the plus for the consumer to get books for cheaper (or get them at all, if they aren’t available in the U.S., a concept that baffles me again and again)…

    • I like to think I’m the first to consider the environmental side of things. I definitely took this into account. I decided that not having children or owning a car outweighed this one-time purchase of a single 10-pound box. Self-serving?

      Books on their own account have an environmental cost, which is another reason why the vast majority of what I read belongs to the library.

  3. Nice work!

  4. Switch to getting your overseas books from bookdepository.com. Free shipping no matter if it’s one book or several, great service, and usually the price of the book itself is only a smidge higher than the UK Amazon’s. Lately a lot of new books I’ve been interested in have been reduced up to 53 percent at Book Depository. I’m sure that won’t last, but it’s worth taking advantage of, for sure. You might be able to get the remaining Bookers from BD for less than you’d pay at Amazon.

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