Friday, March 7, 2014

When a Book "Barks" in Canada, What Does it Say? A) Bow Wow B) Arf C) Yip Yip Yp D) Milwaukee

One doesn't think of how dollar currency fluctuations affect book sales in the United States, but in Canada, it's a different story. For several years, the American and Canadian dollars were pretty close in value, to the point where you even saw books with the same list price in both countries. Well, that's not happening now.

At Lorrie Moore's event on Monday for Bark, our friend John came in with his copy already bought, from a store in Toronto. I was little surprised to see a Canadian edition, as the American first edition already had dual pricing, with $24.95 the price in the United States and $28.95 in Canada. However, at some point the Canadian dollar declined again, so Penguin Random House Canada decided to do a $29.95 Canada only edition, saving the $28.95 Canadian editions for the U.S.distribution I guess.

I don't know how Canadians felt about that, but I know that it made me happy and here's why. Being that they repriced the book, they figured they should also add the very strong Toronto Globe and Mail review to the back cover, and that meant one of the existing reviews needed to go. You would have thought they would have taken away the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel quote, right? But no, they kept Milwaukee, and took out Jonathan Lethem's New York Times Book Review quote.

Does that make us an honorary Canadian city or something? Perhaps, as local Shauna Singh Baldwin is on the Scotiabank Giller Prize committee (or jury, as they say in Canada), along with Justin Carwright and Francine Prose. Congratulate her next time you're at the Safe House.and don't forget about her latest novel, The Selector of Souls, now imported from Canada in paperback.

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