I have done a bit further research on the title and on several
bookseller sites, it is listed as a print on demand title, which may
explain the price discrepancy, particularly if it is printed in Sri
Lanka or India, where printing costs are somewhat cheaper.
Interestingly, Natural History Book Service lists the current edition
(1999) in soft cover and print on demand, is listed for GBP 44.95,
while the new edition to be released in Jan 2011, is listed as GBP
27.50 , while OUP USA list the new edition as priced at USD 98.50
(approx. GBP 64.00), and OUP lists it as AUD 160 (approx GPP 104.00).
It would take some pretty creative book-keeping to pass off
discrepancies in price of up to 350% as being due to freight, import
As for field guides produced in the first world being more
serviceable, well, I have yet to have a field guide that is truly
serviceable as a "field" guide, most are more suited for "armchair"
Also, I tend to buy field guides for the information, not their
ornamental quality. If it starts to fall apart in the field, out comes
the Librarians gaffer tape.
On 28/12/2010, at 1:25 PM, inger vandyke wrote:
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 to come.
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
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 being
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 publications.
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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> Date: Tue, 28 Dec 2010 13:02:01 +1100
> Subject: Re: [Birding-Aus] Please Explain or Is There an Economist
in the House?
> It is often weird. I was looking for a book recently which was on
> 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 <>
> > Dear All,
> > I have just been chasing up Harrison's "Field Guide to the Birds
> > Lanka" for someone else and have been mind-boggled at the
> > prices. The publisher, Oxford University Press, lists it for AUD
> > 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
> > from the fact that we always seem to be hammered on prices in
> > would be mightily obliged.
> > Cheers,
> > Carl Clifford
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