More inexplicable pricing

May 16, 2010

I’ve spoken about Adobe’s inexplicable pricing model and Australian book prices before, but today it’s the turn of a more generalist consumer product — a magazine from the US.

I picked up a copy of Quilting Arts from the local newsagent last week. The sticker price was AU$16.95 for one issue. The price printed on the cover was US$7.99 (AU$9.01 today according to www.xe.com). So how does the newsagent justify that massive AU$8.00 price increase, which, by my calculations is an increase of nearly 200% on the exchange rate price? It can’t just be postage/freight/shipping — I think there must be lots of hands this magazine goes through, each of whom are taking their small cut.

I looked through the magazine and saw that I can subscribe directly for US$24 a year for 6 issues (US$4.00 an issue, half the printed price on the cover). They charge an extra US$20 per year for international postage, bring the total for 6 issues to US$44 (US$7.33/AU$8.25 an issue — posted directly to me). That means that if I order the magazine direct from publishers, I can get it for less than half the price I would pay at my local newsagents.

I like to support local businesses, but where there’s a compelling reason to buy from overseas, I will. In this case, the pricing is the tipping point for me. There’s no added value that the newsagent brings to this publication, so I can see no justification for such an increase on the printed cover price, and an even greater increase on the subscription + international postage price.

[Links last checked May 2010]

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