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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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Borders bookstore fictional pricing
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Tooks 6:59 pm 01 Jan 10

I usually wait until I want a few books, then just order them from Amazon. It’s usually cheaper (depending on the strength of the Aus dollar) to buy them from there, even with shipping costs.

Inappropriate 6:34 pm 01 Jan 10

With the frequency of which they hand out discount vouchers, I’m not surprised they rip people off normally.

Woody Mann-Caruso 5:53 pm 01 Jan 10

I was in Borders today (don’t ask), and I’m always (a) amazed at their prices and (b) amazed that people will not only pay them, but will also order a book that isn’t in stock and wait six weeks for it to arrive. If my Amazon orders take more than six days to arrive I raise an eyebrow.

I-filed 5:44 pm 01 Jan 10

We can thank the federal Labor government for the parallel importation fiasco and the high price of books!

Snarky 5:05 pm 01 Jan 10

Mathman said :

I’ve found Booko ( to be a great site for finding the best price from online book stores.

+1 for the Booko suggestion. Often it’ll point to the Book Depository ( for non-Australian books. The prices are similar to Amazon but they offer free shipping from the UK! No idea how they do it, but for Christmas I bought three books by Stieg Larsen from them. Each cost AUD$12.80 – including delivery to my letterbox. In Borders the same paperbacks were selling for $25.00. And if you’re after Australian books Booko will point out the best Australian source. Dad wanted to buy the latest Barry Humphries book for Mum – in the shops it was up to $50. On Booko it showed it could be bought at Big W Online (who knew that existed??) for $37, including postage.

Vote with your feet!

RayP 4:45 pm 01 Jan 10

I had noticed that Border’s “normal” prices are often substantially above the recommended retail price. Their discount vouchers then bring their prices back towards the recommended retail price.

There are, though, other bookshops in Canberra, for example, Smiths, Dymocks, Electric Shadows and Paperchain. These bookshops were around before the Borders warehouse appeared. I think they sell at the actual recommended retail price and their discounts are then real discounts. So, if you don’t like Border’s book prices, have a look at the other local bookshops.

If you are going to purchase across the web, it is always worth looking at Better World Books. Their stock is not comprehensive but they sell second hand (e.g. ex library) as well as new books. Their postage on single books is much lower than Amazon’s. You can get some real bargains from Better World Books.

taninaus 4:29 pm 01 Jan 10

Kmart and Big W are always a good bet for getting books below RRP, they regularly advertise specials like 15% off etc. however only a limited range and generally better for best sellers.

bd84 2:12 pm 01 Jan 10

emd said :

Perhaps they markup year-round? Some retailers have different pricing for their online vs in-store because they run them as two separate businesses (and therefore don’t subsidise their in-store prices with the higher profit margin of online sales).

I think they do, I bought a book from them earlier.. um.. last year which had a RRP of $22.95ish and the Borders sticker of $25.95 stuck over it. I only bought it as I had to use a gift voucher to get rid of it.

Mathman 12:44 pm 01 Jan 10

I’ve found Booko ( to be a great site for finding the best price from online book stores.

“Booko is a site with a very simple goal – to find the cheapest place to buy books & DVDs in Australia.

Booko is not an online shop. It goes out to the Internet and looks up book & DVD prices for you and figures out the shipping costs. For the international sites like the Amazons (.com and, the prices are converted into Aussie dollars.”

The only trap I found is that many online book shops report having a book in stock when they really mean that they will order it for you from the publisher, who may not have stock in the country and could take six weeks to get it to you.

Postalgeek 11:59 am 01 Jan 10

emd said :

Perhaps they markup year-round?

Quite possibly. I generally buy my books online so I’m not that familiar with walk-in bookstore pricing.

PBO 11:52 am 01 Jan 10

Sadly enough, they are within their rights to do so as it is only the recommended price. I dont shop there purely because they keep everything in shithouse condition (can i say that?)

The graphic novel section (geeky i know, but a great example) is in a complete shambles with everything out of order or fallen behind the shelves. I expected this to be a one off but i went back 4 weeks later and the same stock was stuffed behind the shelf gathering dust and being damaged. The covers are torn and creased, and to top it off they charge $10 per item more than impact comics.

The staff dont seem to know or care what they are doing yet this place manages to stay open.

Vote with your feet people.

emd 11:02 am 01 Jan 10

Perhaps they markup year-round? Some retailers have different pricing for their online vs in-store because they run them as two separate businesses (and therefore don’t subsidise their in-store prices with the higher profit margin of online sales).

toriness 10:54 am 01 Jan 10

i’m not surprised. to thwart borders you could consider investing in an amazon kindle, i acquired one a couple of months ago after they finally released an australian version. sure, the kindle library doesn’t contain every book in the world but it has in the region of half a million books and growing – you can download them direct to your kindle wirelessly anywhere in australia from a lowly $2 for a trashy through to about $16 for new releases like dan brown’s ‘lost symbol’. it is the future of reading!! i love it!!

Grail 8:52 am 01 Jan 10

That reminds me of a certain large supermarket chain’s habit of sticking “Reduced to clear” stickers on items which have actually had their price put up the day before the “best before” date. For example, a pre-marinated roast lamb package selling for $9/kg gets a sticker “Reduced to clear” on the same day the price of the roast goes up to $11/kg. The “reduced” price puts the roast back at the $9/kg mark.

As for the bookstores, a lot of them are engaging in behaviour that seems to be to be designed to kill the paper book.

fiona22 8:11 am 01 Jan 10

You are right about Borders, I buy an American magazine that retails in paper shops for around $10. When I thought I would save time and pick it up at Borders it was over $20, supposedly because of the ‘air frieght’ cost. This was crazy the mag is available on the same dates for half the cost elsware.

planeguy 10:49 pm 31 Dec 09

They don’t just do it at Xmas time – they are regularly charging over RRP. They have a good range but crud pricing.

Bosworth 10:30 pm 31 Dec 09

why does adding a markup to RRP in December deserve a special mention?

georgesgenitals 8:54 pm 31 Dec 09

Clearly they’re a business who understand market forces and how to make a profit. This is good, because it means they’ll be around for a while, and the people woring there should have a reasonable level of job security.

2620watcher 7:25 pm 31 Dec 09

I noticed this on a book about 3 months back. I questioned a staffer, who shrugged their shoulders. I promptly bought it online from amazon. Vote with your feet, the sooner these stores realise we are not mugs the better.

Gagtooth 7:17 pm 31 Dec 09

I am so fed up with book prices that I have stopped buying new books and now put them on the list at the library and sometimes I have to wait a while, but with some new releases (like Bryce Courtenay’s new one), I was number 2 on the list and had it in my hand 2 days after it was released. You just have to get in early.


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