Just over a year ago, I was in Canada, about to fly on to the UK. I was browsing Lonely Planet’s website, looking to buy one of their electronic books in PDF form, for England and Scotland. I found one, at what seemed like a reasonable price, in Canadian dollars – however, the moment I entered my Australian credit card number, the price jumped by more than 50%.
I couldn’t believe it. An electronic book has no delivery costs, and yet they were operating a multi-tiered pricing scheme for them, based on the country from which your credit card is issued.
I was interested to see if this pricing scheme is still in operation – and, yes, it is.
When I go to the Lonely Planet website and look at their Germany Travel Guide book, from here in Australia, the price for their “buy all chapters” PDF edition is AUD$35.99 (US$38.49). I asked a friend of mine in the US to look up the same book from there, and she said it would cost her US$22.49.
I also have access to a server based in the UK, so I checked the price of the same e-book when purchased there: Â£13.59 (US$22.27). So Australians are being charged a disgusting 73%25 more for the same electronic book than UK or US residents would have to pay.
How can anyone justify this at all?
I’ve listed the prices of a few of their e-books, in both Australia and the UK, in the table below, along with the price of the same book in a Kindle version, if available.
|Book||Australian Price (PDF)||UK Price (PDF)||Markup||Kindle Edition|
|Germany Travel Guide||AUD$35.99 (US$38.49)||£13.59 (US$22.27)||US$16.22 (72%)||US$15.39|
|Western Europe Travel Guide||AUD$37.59 (US$40.20)||£14.39 (US$23.57)||US$16.63 (70%)||N/A|
|USA Travel Guide||AUD$36.79 (US$39.35)||£14.39 (US$23.57)||US$15.78 (66%)||US$16.49|
|Australia Travel Guide||AUD$39.19 (US$41.92)||£14.39 (US$23.57)||US$18.35 (77%)||US$16.49|
|Thailand Travel Guide||AUD$39.19 (US$41.92)||£13.59 (US$22.57)||US$19.35 (85%)||US$14.57|