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Borders bookstore fictional pricing

Postalgeek 31 December 2009 45

So my wife (on behalf of my son) gave me the paperback version of The Road for Christmas, and while reading it the receipt slipped out from between the pages.  After a little chortle at my wife’s expense the receipt becomes my bookmark and I continue my read.

On closing the book, I noticed the RRP (recommended retail price) printed on the back of the book.  A$22.99.  The receipt says $25.50 and my wife said the Canberra Centre Borders had stuck their price tag over the printed RRP, which was removed after purchase.  On their website it’s ‘only’ $22.95.

It’s a small amount and Borders can charge whatever they like for the books they sell, but adding a markup to RRP at Christmas time deserves a special mention.


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45 Responses to Borders bookstore fictional pricing
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bookguy 12:46 am 08 Sep 10

I am not surprised at the typical lack of knowledge shown by customers. I work in the book industry… one of the only remaining industries that has a recommended retail price (and this is only printed on the book by ONE of the major printing houses in Australia!) The ill-informed opinions on this page make a mockery of smart business practices employed by large format retailers everywhere!

This guy’s got it right though…

Skidbladnir said :

I am amazed that people use RRP as a guide to what they ‘should’ be paying instead of using it as baseline and trying to find better prices by shopping with your feet…
Its a number, plucked from the air by the publishers themselves, and is non-enforcable.

Do you see a RRP on a pair of jeans? A bottle of milk? A phone bill? Of course not… so why should a book retailer sell the book for the price prescribed by the publisher?

Jewelry typically is marked up anywhere between 300-1000%
Similarly, clothing can be marked up as much as 1000% depending on the brand name, so that even at 75% off, the retailer is making a profit.

By comparison, book retailers make 40-50% net margin per book on average.

If I were opening my own book store, I sure as hell wouldn’t be relying on the publishers to price my books if I’m only getting 45% margin!

MessyMonster 4:31 pm 26 Jan 10

Hey, I saw this at Borders on the weekend, I couldn’t beelive it! The RRP was $45 at other stores, it was discounted at Target to $33, yet Borders had it for $55!! someone must shop there….perhaps once they have let the coffee infiltrate their brain! or maybe it is that cheap coffee and crappy muffins keeping the bookstore afloat!!

Muttsybignuts 2:58 pm 05 Jan 10

Booko is great!
For a more local option, try http://www.canberrabooktrack.com.au/
Beyond Q at Curtin has heaps of second hand books ( well all of them actually) and I mean heaps. Well worth a visit.

Ewan 10:44 pm 04 Jan 10

Best thing I ever got from borders was a link from one of thier workers bookdepository.co.uk
consistantly much cheaper and free delivery worldwide. Only downside is it takes like a fortnight to get your book no optional fast tracking

astrojax 3:33 pm 04 Jan 10

If you aren’t buying from Borders because of the prices, maybe mention it to the managers?

easy to say, skid, but if i’m not buying there i’m not likely to even walk in – why should i bother if other suckers suffer? as nickd said, the co-op is an excellent choiuce, and parking is usually easy on the weekend!

google is generally better than a direct path to amazon, though the book depository is excellent. abebooks, in the usa, is also good.

Grail 2:45 pm 04 Jan 10

I avoid buying from shops in major centres (such as the Canberra Centre) for many reasons, including the violation of Burley-Griffin’s original plan for Canberra, the exorbitant rentals QIC and Westfield charge, the buying pressure that Woolworths/Coles can exert on farmers (the same goes for other big retailers and their suppliers) and the sheer consumerism that these facilities encourage.

The extra 10% you pay at Borders is likely a normal situation to cover the cost of running a bricks-and-mortar shop in a major chain mall.

Bluenomi 12:15 pm 04 Jan 10

Maybe it depends on the book you are buying. I’ve gotten plenty of books from Borders that have been cheaper there than at other bookshops. Sure, I could get them cheaper on line but sometimes I want the book then and there and don’t want to wait for postage time

Pandy 11:12 pm 03 Jan 10

Not only Borders: Harris Scarfes have a 30% sale on kitchen ware sets right now. DJs has 40% off. Yet the regular price at HS is some 15% over the regular price at DJs. Guess where I am buying?

Thoroughly Smashed 10:11 pm 03 Jan 10

NickD said :

The Co-Op Book Shop also deserves a plug; members get 10% off all purchases. Amazon.com normally works out cheaper though.

Nine years ago I paid the Co-op $70 for a ~50 page photocopy of a software training manual.

NickD 4:38 pm 03 Jan 10

The Co-Op Book Shop also deserves a plug; members get 10% off all purchases. Amazon.com normally works out cheaper though.

gladbag 1:19 pm 03 Jan 10

I am happy to pay Borders prices simply due to the fact that I also do a lot of freebee reading there. I haven’t seen another bookshop where you can plonk yourself down with a mediocre coffee and read lots of books. I support them and their higher prices while they are happy for me to read their books.

cleo 11:02 pm 02 Jan 10

Go to Amozon.com much cheaper

Mr Waffle 4:40 pm 02 Jan 10

Felix the Cat said :

Problem with ordering multiple books from Amazon is they charge you multiple postage too, no discounts. So if it’s say $5 postage for one book and then you want to buy five books they charge $25 postage.

Fortunately that works both ways- for larger items (in my case things like the Battlestar Galactica blu ray box set) shipping works out to be a bargain!

Anyway, for those who don’t know, Dymocks have a 20% off sale on at the moment (I think it ends sooner rather than later), meaning they’re even better value than Borders. I bought about a hundred bucks worth of books the other day after double-checking the prices against the Amazon mobile site on my phone.

Footloose 4:04 pm 02 Jan 10

Shop at Smiths Alternative Bookstore instead – Alinga St Civic.

shauno 3:31 pm 02 Jan 10

In India they do it slightly differently. Instead of recommended retail price they have Maximum retail price allowed. Thats on all their grocery items not sure about books.

troll-sniffer 1:24 pm 02 Jan 10

Well before you whinge too much at the retailer, you should take into account the percentage of what you pay Borders that goes straight to QIC in the form of rental at the Canberra Centre, I think you would be a little less ferocious in your condemnation. That’s the price you pay for the luxury side of shopping it seems.

Skidbladnir 11:33 am 02 Jan 10

I am amazed that people use RRP as a guide to what they ‘should’ be paying instead of using it as baseline and trying to find better prices by shopping with your feet…
Its a number, plucked from the air by the publishers themselves, and is non-enforcable.

In the end, Borders can charge whatever their market will bear, and evidently the people buying books from a high-traffic profile, high-traffic, retail-space either don’t see the increased opportunity for being taken advantage of or just don’t bare, so Borders jack up their prices beyond RRP just because they can, and you let them get away with it.
If you aren’t buying from Borders because of the prices, maybe mention it to the managers?

Large-volume retailers should already be negotiating with suppliers to recieve stock at reduced cost (through bulk purchasing), so having customers paying RRP (or higher) is just an opportunity for a wider profit margin, instead of bringing consumer prices down to meet lower overheads.
Downside is that large entities then leverage their size to compete the littler ones with higher overheads out of existence, but consumers get cheap books so long as sellers are interested in competing with each other.

WalkTheTalk 9:41 am 02 Jan 10

G’day Guys,

Hadn’t really paid much attention to the placement of this price sticker over the printed RRP until this post, though was acutely aware of the steep price that Borders charges for a lot of its stuff. Interestingly I’ve noticed Dymocks (at least in part) have done this as well, and perhaps other book retailers have too.

I agree with wherever possible supporting the smaller Canberra book retailers, that academic remainders place in town isn’t bad.

Snarky, thanks for the info about book depository in the UK – great site! Great to see ‘Riotact’ being used to share information as well as opinions!

Fiona22 – your post at #6 is spot on. I stopped buying US Men’s Fitness because the price at Borders has just about doubled (and now there’s an Oz version). Does the magazine you read post direct to Aus? A select few will do cheap subscriptions and even with their freight, leaves many of the newsagencies / book stores for dead.

emd 8:55 am 02 Jan 10

I thought the attraction of shopping at Borders was that they had a bigger range of harder-to-fine titles than other book shops. But I went in there a few months ago for a couple of magazines whose only Canberra stockist was Borders, and they seemed to be always out of stock. So I figured, screw that, and started stocking them at my own shop. I wonder if Borders have dropped the ball a bit now that they’re well established?

As for prices being above RRP, it happens more often in high-rent areas, or in remote areas where freight is genuinely a big factor in the cost of running a business. Although I would have thought Borders got a good deal on rent from the Canberra Centre, so surely that’s not the reason.

Ryan 11:00 pm 01 Jan 10

Then they want to charge us 10c for a plastic bag too! Ripoff merchants!! [/tongue-in-cheek]

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