15. June 2011 · 2 comments · Categories: books

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: £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

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  1. Lonely Planet is an Australia-based company. Maybe this somehow influences prices, perhaps due to tax laws?

  2. That’s a good question. I wonder if it has to do with copyright law in Australia or insuring that Australian Intellectual Property Laws will indeed respect the US copyright? I don’t really know, but those are the thoughts I had.

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