Thursday, December 22, 2011
Episode 1186: First Borders, Now PageOne
Opened the newspapers today to read that PageOne is closing its Singapore outlet in February. Another mega bookstore bites the dust! Kind of ironic, since the homegrown company's business is thriving in the region. Shame, I'd just been there yesterday and bought two Ted Dekker books. To be fair though, I only bought them because they were international edition paperbacks that I wouldn't have been able to buy from the Amazon UK website. Having looked at the prices on other books, I was once again reminded at how expensive books are in Singapore. I'm not even talking about taking into account Amazon's discounts. Even going by the RRP, book prices here just don't make sense, given what the exchange rate with the pound's been in recent years. I doubt the differential can be attributed entirely to shipping costs, since surely there are economies of scale to be exploited. I wouldn't mind paying a bit more at an independent bookstore like BooksActually, but at a chain bookstore, I don't see why I'm paying what I perceive as a marked up price. Thankfully, there's still The Book Depository and its global free shipping. Its prices vis-à-vis Amazon UK are no longer competitive apart from American paperbacks, but if the exchange rate with the pound stays roughly the same, I don't think Kinokuniya is going to get much business from me even when I'm back in Singapore for good.