I went to Dymock's bookstore and took a zillion pictures of all the books in the romance section – which is separate from the paranormal romance section, interestingly enough – and of the sizes and prices of the books. When I got back to my hotel room, none of those pictures were on my camera. Where did they go? Is there some vortex that limits my ability to document the complete WTF that is Australian book prices? So went back again to take more, and funny enough I ended up with two sets of pictures. Oh, technology, you so weird.
Mind, the pictures of Louboutin shoes that I took earlier that day were all fine. My phone's camera has some very odd priorities that do not match my own. That said, the price extremity of Louboutin shoes vs. Australian paperback books are somewhat similar. Sticker shock might cause actual coronary emergencies in either case. So let's start with expensive shoes, one pair of which you could probably buy for the same price as all the books I'm about to show you.
Shoes or books? I pick books, every time.
Everywhere I see books, I see Fifty Shades and Bared to You – which has a different cover in Australia:
This is the other side of the pallet of 50 Shades & 50-shadesinalia. It was about waist high on me, and I'm 5'3″.
Mary Balogh's books are in what I was calling “hardback-lite” size. Nearly as big as a hardcover, but paperback. Also, the heroines are all half-headless.
Each hardback-lite sized Balogh novel was $22.99 each.
Romance had its own section, and if you look in the background on the right of “True Crime”, you'll see the Paranormal Romance section, which was larger, and separate.
Time to browse! Here's Jaci Burton's “The Heart of a Killer.” Guess the price!
Survey says? $12.99. That's a slightly-larger-than-mass-market-sized book, I think.
Stephanie Laurens shared an end-cap with Debbie Macomber, Christina Brooke, and Nora Roberts. These were all “hardback-lite” sized.
The Australian cover for The Lady Risks All.
The US cover looks like this, and is $7.99 in mass-market sized paperback:
If you'd like the Lady to Risk All in Australia, that'll be $24.99.
Lisa Kleypas' novels have very different covers, and are hardback-lite sized as well.
More Kleypas novels, with covers I would describe as “drippy.”
Ready to guess the price? $19.99 each.
Linda Lael Miller's Big Sky Mountain is a big ass book.
Whaddya know, the price is big, too!
Side-by-side comparison of the hardback-lite and mass-market size. Every so often I would find a US edition mass market on the shelf alongside all the jumbo books.
Three out of four Nora Roberts heroines agree: eyes are overrated.
The Donovan Legacy – 2 of Roberts' Donovan books – in hardback-lite size. Ready to guess how much?
Jill Sorenson's Crash Into Me (sorry for the glare) has an interesting cover.
This is one of three different covers I found for Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris:
Here are the other two covers, plus a bottle of Tru-blood drink:
The Anita Blake series has very interesting covers. Red frames around black and white images.
The covers for the Patricia Briggs' Alpha and Omega are very different in Oz. I don't recall Anna having a gun. Or two guns.
Two different covers for Michelle Rowan's Tall, Dark & Fangsome.
Here's one feature of some Australian books I really liked. This is the cover of Jeaniene Frost's Halfway to the Grave:
And check out the back: there's a checklist of features. A big red check (or “tick,” as the Aussies say) means it's really gothic and action-packed, and the smaller black check means it's funny, sexy and romantic, but less so than it is gothic and action-packed.
Magic Bites has a different cover (and I'm not crazy about the look that model is giving me):
It also has the checklist of attributes. This book is more action-packed and sexy than it is romantic, gothic, or funny. I wonder if those are the only attributes used to describe paranormal romance or urban fantasy?
This is the back of Magic Burns, another Kate Daniels book:
I kinda wish these descriptors were on some American books! They're pretty handy, though as I've thought about it I'm not sure how accurate they are.
One more comparison: Karen Marie Monings Shadowfever, with massmarket on the left, and hardback-lite on the right.
And here are the back covers, with prices – and, in one case, plot descriptors – for $9.95 and $17.99. I wonder if it's a feeling of “YES! SCORE!” when you find the mass market size of the same book for $8 less.
Do you like the checkmarks of plot descriptions on the back? Do you think they could be applied to other genres successfully – or are they not entirely accurate or enough of a description here? I'm sort of torn. I like the quick-glimpse, but having read some of the Daniels books, I'm not sure I 100% agree. And do these prices seem high to you, or is this normal where you live?