US Dollar Kicks Teeth

MoneyIf you live in Canada, you know what that means. The US dollar is kicking us in the teeth. I ordered a proof for Mystery Light in Cranberry Cove from CreateSpace—located in the United States—so I checked the exchange rate and almost choked on my tea.

For me to buy one US dollar, I have to pay $1.41 Canadian. Thankfully, I don’t have to order books in bulk at this time because I’m not attending markets. I have a few copies of each if I sell one online or in person.

Diane Lynn McGyver - Shadows in the StoneThe other side of this coin is although I price my Shadows in the Stone fantasy novel at $3.99 US on Amazon.com, it sells for $5.62 on Amazon.ca. But it doesn’t have to stay that way. I went into my Book Shelf and adjusted the price. Now both US and Canadian readers will pay $3.99 in their currency.

Amazon gives you the choice to either set one price—the US price—and have the prices for all the other countries set automatically, or you can go in and set each one manually.

My fantasy novel priced at $3.99 on Smashwords too, but again, that is US dollars. I can’t control the price when they distribute to places like Kobo and Barnes & Noble.

While on my Amazon Book Shelf, I adjusted all the Canadian prices to match the US prices. All short stories are $0.99 and novellas and short novels are $2.99. It takes about twelve hours or so for all this to trickle down to the websites. Last night, I received messages from Amazon informing me the prices had been updated.

Have you adjusted your Canadian prices to reduce the financial burden of Canadian readers because of the exchange rate?

Note to Art, the Latties Brook Writer: After our discussion Tuesday night about setting individual prices, I went home and checked: we can set Canada’s price.

McGyver Fantasy Author 04

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13 thoughts on “US Dollar Kicks Teeth

  1. Hi Diane,

    Yes, publishing and selling print books as a Canadian author is becoming cost prohibitive. I just published a self-help workbook on Create Space, and while there are just 12 pages out of 108 that have colour images, it is considered a full colour book. The suggested retail is 15.49 USD which will cost Canadian consumers almost 22.00. My profit, if sold on Amazon.com is just 48 cents. I opted out of the distribution option because that would have made the suggested retail 21.50 USD. My profit for a copy sold in a retail outlet would have been 8 cents US.

    I’m still not clear if Create Space will print books ordered on .ca in Canada, or have the consumer pay shipping and custom fees when shipped from the US. If that’s the case, then my small book could cost up to 30.00! Who will pay that? As a new author, my fan base is largely Canadian at this time. It’s rather discouraging.

    Have you worked with any other POD companies such as Lulu, Blurb, Kobo etc?? I looked at publishing a spiral bound version of my book on Lulu and the cost was nearly 50.00 USD!

    At least digital sales are more profitable for us with the exchange rate.

    Patricia Fentie

    1. Hello Patricia,

      Books in colour are more costly than novels. I have only done novels so far, but I hope to do a few picture books in the future. I also hope our dollar is up by that time.

      $30 for a 108 page book is a lot for a reader. It definitely discourages them from buying. From what I know, I believe books ordered through Amazon.ca are printed in the US and shipped here. And I’m pretty sure they would be included in the free shipping if the customer reached the right dollar amount (I think it’s $29 for Amazon).

      I just checked out your books on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca, and they are available only in eBook format. Since you opted out of the distribution options, I’d say they won’t be selling the paperback version.

      I have looked at other POD companies. My first novel was printed through Blurb when they were first getting started. They were a little expensive, and two years later, their prices rose dramatically. At that time 2012, they didn’t distribute books to online stores. They do that now, but their prices are still high per book. My fantasy novel was priced around $12.00 before taxes and shipping and duty. I get it through CreateSpace for about $5.50 (both are in the US, so I’d have to pay the exchange on top of that).

      I heard not so good things about Lulu, so I’ve stayed away from them. Lightning Source/Ingram Spark is similar CreateSpace, but can be more expensive and more complex to navigate, but once you learn, it becomes easy, but not as easy as CreateSpace. However, the plus side of Ingram Spark is their distribution.

      Good luck in your publishing journey, and thank you for visiting my website.

      Diane

      1. Thank you Diane! My book isn’t on Create Space yet as I’m just waiting to approve the proof copy. I guess I may have to opt into the expanded distribution if it doesn’t show up on .ca. Thanks for the heads up on the other companies!

  2. Hi Diane, I’m a Canadian too. But my concern is how will Amazon deduct their fees?
    And if you change (lower) the price for Canadians, couldn’t one potentially lose money?
    Perhaps this would make a great blog post for you if you feel so inclined.
    Thanks, 🙂

    1. Amazon gets 30% of books priced $2.99 or more. They get 70% for books priced less than that. This price is NOT according to the US price; it’s according to the country in which it is priced. $2.99 in Canadian dollars is lower in US dollars, but I don’t get bumped down to the 30% racket because I set the US price at $2.99 as well.

      For those who don’t adjust their prices, they will get more money if they align their US and Canadian prices because it will show as $3.99 at Amazon.com and $5.62 (or more or less, depending on the exchange rate that day) at Amazon.ca.

      I’m not going to make as much from sales, but I don’t want to gouge Canadians just because our dollar is low. And this isn’t forever. When the dollar rises–and it better rise–and gets closer to par, I will go back to the old system.

  3. Fantastic post Diane. I hadn’t thought of adjusting the price on my books. I shall look into this. Our dollar, or should I say, half dollar, is killer!!!!!!

      1. Arg, don’t I know it. Fortunately, we planned this trip last winter and bought dollars then for 15 cents on the dollar; certainly not as painful. Nonetheless, my hub still looks at it as 1.40$ for every dollar. If we hadn’t have exchanged dollars back then, we’d have had to cancel this trip. Now we’re just working on staying within the budget! 🙂

    1. Art, this must be something new–new as in the past year or two–because I honestly don’t recall setting the price in Canada as an option when I first published on Amazon.

      I shared a CBC article in my Facebook feed (can be seen in the right margin) about the weak Canadian dollar and Tattletales in Dartmouth. It was a coincidence that this came across my desk this morning.

      The weak Canadian dollar is hurting small businesses, but big businesses that export a lot are winning at the moment. I’d really like to see the dollar be at par or better. It might not help the big guys, but it helps small Canadian businesses that do business in Canada.

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