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Ottawa bookseller offers U.S. price

Christopher Smith, co-owner of Collected Works bookstore in Ottawa, says pressure from consumers unhappy with the gap between U.S. and Canadian prices on books has spurred the store to sell dual-priced books for the U.S. price as a short-term promotion that will last until Dec. 31. Earlier this month, The Ottawa Citizen reported that the store’s owners decided to take this action in light of the Canadian dollar’s continued rise in value relative to the U.S. dollar.

Mr. Smith said the industry cites many reasons for pricing Canadian books differently, including the fact that many books were released months ago when the Canadian dollar was far weaker than the U.S. dollar.

“The consumer doesn’t really care about that,” he said, adding that the promotion will take a financial toll on his store. “We are definitely going to take a loss when we do this.”

Pat Caven, manager at the competing Perfect Books, said selling at that price wouldn’t cover costs, and so her bookstore wouldn’t be following Collected Works’ lead.

The promotion may make book-buyers merry, but just what kind of holiday cheer it brings to the Ottawa bookstore remains to be seen.

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