Tyler, the blogger behind Award Tour, mentioned in a comment on yesterday’s post that books are about 20% cheaper in the US compared to Canada. To compare book prices, I checked up on the prices of an unscientific sample of best sellers and popular finance books on Amazon’s Canadian and US websites. Here are the results:
- Age of Turbulence (Alan Greenspan): 21% cheaper
- A Thousand Splendid Suns (Khaled Hosseini): 16% cheaper
- The Shock Doctrine (Naomi Klein): 13% cheaper
- Eat Pray Love (Elizabeth Gilbert): 3% cheaper
- Random Walk Down Wall Street (Burton Malkiel): 23% cheaper
- The Little Book of Common Sense Investing (John Bogle): 23% cheaper
- Four Pillars of Investing (William Bernstein): 27% cheaper
- Unconventional Success (David Swensen): 23% cheaper
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (JK Rowling): 14% cheaper
On average, books are about 20% cheaper south of the border but there is a catch – while free shipping on orders over $39 from Amazon.ca, books shipped to Canada from Amazon.com attracts a charge of $3.99 per shipment plus $2.49 per item. If you add the per item cost of shipping to the price of the book in the U.S., the average savings decreases to 4%.
One area in which significant savings can be had by shopping on U.S. websites is textbooks. Even with the punishing international shipping charges, savings of 75% off the list price are not uncommon when buying from third-party sellers. For current bestsellers, your local Costco has a limited selection but almost always has very good prices.