OK. I will attempt to explain some of this.
Dave, the discrepancy on Amazon probably means that there is either a first
edition or a copy signed by the author or it might have come from a private
well-known collection or another thing that gives it value i.e. out of print
for years, illustrated with original paintings, etchings etc. I am ALWAYS in
the market for first edition books but even I won't pay huge $$$$ for one
unless it is something that I think I will truly get enjoyment out of for years
Carl, the difference between UK, USA, Aus and Sri Lanka has a lot to do with
import taxes in each country and where the actual publisher is located.
Sri Lanka, like other countries in the Indian Sub-Continent, will also sell you
cheap books often (not always) because they are facsimile copies of the
originals. You basically get the same content but lesser quality. I have
bought lots of books in Nepal on this basis. They are the equivalent of buying
cheap knockoff DVDs/CDs in somewhere like Thailand, except they are books.
They are fine if you just want information but if you are looking for good
quality pages and a cover in a field guide, that will survive you taking it in
to the field for example, then this is probably not your wisest choice.
>From a political correctness standpoint, buying books cheaply in places like
>India by-passes the original publisher and contributes nothing towards the
>earnings of the writer. It is just another version of the black market
>whereby writers and contributors 'lose out' by people selling copies of their
>work. As a writer I don't condone this but it won't stop me from buying the
>occasional copy because I feel that publishing, as an industry, is currently
>From an industry viewpoint, my thoughts are that if you write, contribute OR
>publish, it is probably time that you start to rethink your game. Magazines
>are getting smaller or dropping their publication frequency because of lesser
>advertising revenue, some publications are simply going down the gurgler,
>there are more writers, less work and the push towards e-publishing is
>threatening to financially push many of us to the wall. The black market
>publishing of books is just another piece in the complex jigsaw puzzle of
>staying afloat in publishing today.
The challenges for publishers in the future will be to make a reasonable income
from words in a digital age and remain competitive in foreign markets where
taxes on books will need to be reviewed against the electronic availability of
This is a very complex issue and there is no simple answer. I hope, however,
the above has provided some clarity into price differences you see between
online sellers for the same publication.
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Expedition Leader - Heard Island Expedition (3 November - 7 December, 2011)
Assistant Publicity Officer - Southern Oceans Seabird Study Association (SOSSA)
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> Date: Tue, 28 Dec 2010 13:02:01 +1100
> Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] Please Explain or Is There an Economist in the
> It is often weird. I was looking for a book recently which was on sale in
> Aus for around $100 - from the publisher in Europe at $75 inc postage and on
> Amazon for - wait for it - $808 new and over $1000 secondhand!
> On 28 December 2010 12:28, Carl Clifford <> wrote:
> > Dear All,
> > I have just been chasing up Harrison's "Field Guide to the Birds of Sri
> > Lanka" for someone else and have been mind-boggled at the difference in
> > prices. The publisher, Oxford University Press, lists it for AUD 160,
> > AbeBooks, from around AUD 75 up and a bookshop in Sri Lanka, around AUD 17.
> > I wonder if any one on the list can explain this price discrepancy, apart
> > from the fact that we always seem to be hammered on prices in Australia), I
> > would be mightily obliged.
> > Cheers,
> > Carl Clifford
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