Books in Australia have always been quite expensive, I noticed that almost as soon as we arrived. I remember there was one particular book I wanted to buy a couple of years after I got here, it was available for £7.00 on Amazon in the UK but the cheapest I could find it here was $40.
Okay, probably not the most popular book down under or anywhere…
Things are changing though, book buying online is a global business and often companies offer free worldwide shipping. But, generally speaking, if you want to walk into a bookstore here in Australia and buy one of the latest bestsellers, expect to pay much more than you would in either the UK or the USA.
Comparing book prices
To show you the difference, I went book shopping. Of course, we don’t have Amazon here in Australia, undoubtedly the pioneers when it comes to buying discounted books online.
I chose them for two reasons, 1) they are based in Australia and 2) they came top when I searched for “buy books online Australia“.
They do charge $6.50 flat fee delivery Australia wide irrespective of size of your order, whereas Amazon offer free delivery provided you spend over a certain amount.
For this exercise, I’ve ignored postage.
I decided to buy five books from each of these sellers. I chose three paperbacks from the bestsellers list in fiction, one hardback from non-fiction and one top-selling hardback children’s novel.
The following shopping cart images are a little too small to read, but you can click on each picture to enlarge it, just click the back button on your browser to return here.
Here are the results:
Cost of books via Amazon USA
There you are, three different shopping carts containing the exact five same books yet we have very different checkout prices.
- Total cost in the USA is $65.04 USD which is equal to $69.94 AUD
- Total cost in the UK is £49.05 which is equal to $89.18 AUD
- Total cost in Australia is $153.85 AUD
Books in Australia are hugely expensive costing more than twice as much as they do in the USA and over 70% more than they do in the UK.
So if you want to grab a bargain, you really do want to be shopping online and buying from a company that offers worldwide free shipping. There are plenty around, you just need to search and compare. The high cost of books here in Australia may also explain why we have…
The largest second-hand book sale in the world
Yes, really, here in Brisbane.
Last week over a four-day period the Lifeline Bookfest June 2014 was held at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre in South Brisbane. Over 4 kilometres of tables and 2 million books went up for grabs at bargain prices, all for charity.
They also held one in the same place in January of this year…
Image courtesy of ABC News
As well as Brisbane, these events run throughout the year from various locations including the Gold Coast, Rockhampton, Mackay, Ipswich, Bundaberg and Caboolture, and that’s just in Queensland. There are other Lifeline Bookfests taking place around the country.
I didn’t go, I have more books than I can shake a stick at still waiting to be read. I also have plenty of books that I have finished with and they will be finding their way to Lifeline to help stock up for their next big sale.
I’ve also got 15 brand-new books I simply don’t need; nine bestselling paperback novels, three hardback non-fiction books and three hardback children’s books. The things I do to write a post.
If you have any books you would like to donate, please visit Uniting Care Community.