Comics / Comics News

Are Canadians Paying Too Much For Comics?

By Hervé St-Louis
May 28, 2007 - 22:48

While the Canadian dollar continues to rise next to the American bill, Canadian comic book readers continue to pay a premium on their comic books through a convoluted pricing scheme that does not benefit them. Are American publishers ripping off Canadian comic book readers?

These days, the Canadian dollar is worth about 92 cents for one American dollar. That means that one American dollar is worth about 1.07 Canadian dollars. The Canadian dollar has increased tremendously from a historical low of US$0.6192
in January 2002.

Why Pay More?

For decades, large North American comic book publishers have printed cover prices for Canadian and American retailers. Although it cannot be confirmed as of this writing, it would seem that the practice is tied with the direct market structure enforced in the North American comic book industry and to accommodate Canadian retailers.

While large comic book publishers such as DC Comics and Marvel Comics have regularly adjusted the pricing on Canadian comic books, the pricing has rarely reflected the current exchange rate between Canada and the United States.

The premium paid by Canadian comic book readers is abusive. For example, a copy of Ultimate Power # 4 costs to an American customer, $2.99. The price for the same comic book for a Canadian customer is $3.75. This means that the same comic book costs about 80% less for an American customer than a Canadian one.

Should the cover price of Canadian comic books cost more to cover for unexpected market currency exchanges? After all, the Canadian dollar did reach a historical low point as recently as January 2002. Of the G8 countries, Canada’s economy has been one of the best. The federal and most provincial governments have eliminated their deficits. The province of Alberta, where The Comic Book Bin is located, has no debt. Canada’s economy is stable and generally, healthier than the United States.

Are Canadian prices higher because comic book publishers need to cover shipping costs to Canada? Considering that most North American comic books are printed in Montreal, Canada, Americans should pay for higher shipping fees, not Canadians.

Floating Prices

North American comic book publishers should eliminate Canadian prices from their comic books entirely. What was once done to be convenient to 10% of its market is today a hindrance to consumers, thanks too aggressive over pricing. Several Canadian comic books’ stores already sell their comic books using the US exchange rate, to determine the right Canadian price. It is difficult to justify purchasing a 22 pages comic book for $5, which happens often. Even on the price of trade paper backs and hardcover editions are grossly inflated in their Canadian versions.

If other countries, like the United Kingdom, and the Philippines do without a constant back bench price target, why should Canadians be treated differently? Letting the price of comic books float according to real market prices, and not bloated artificial pricing would force customers to better control their spending.

It seems that Canadian prices on comic books are there to protect Canadian comic book stores by stopping them from constantly adjusting their retail prices. While this benefits Canadian retailers and North American publishers, it does not benefit those who foot the bill for this entire industry, north of the 49th parallel.

Last Updated: June 23, 2021 - 00:29

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