Maybe cheaper books are possible in Australia?

Image from SMH Article "New books look to flip e-readers"
Yesterday I was at Berkelouw books browsing the book shelves when I can across a cute little book called a "flip back" book. It is essentially a tiny little book that you can carry in your pocket and read at the your leisure. I loved this idea, even if the pages themselves were too thin to encourage me to purchase one.

This morning I then found an article on the Sydney Morning Herald website entitled "New books look to flip e-readers". The premise of this article is that these books offer an alternative to the ebook for those of us that prefer to hold a real book in our hands.

The article is well worth reading, but there was something in it that really got me thinking.

The article states that the "flip back" book costs "slightly more than to make than the average sized paperback partly because they are all made at the one printer in the Netherlands, but also because they use high-quality paper and have cloth binding on the spine. They are expected to retail for less than $20."

A new paperback book in Australia can cost a book purchaser up to $35.00 and yet these little books which cost more to print than the average paperback are retailing at less than $20. Presumably at $20 a pop, the publishers are still making a profit.

Doesn't this mean that books here in Australia actually could be sold for a lot cheaper than they are?

I do note that the books are printed in the Netherlands, a fact which may well be the key to answering my question.

All the same, this article has really got me wandering about the cost of books here in Australia, more than a lot of other articles have. Is it just that everyone is profit crazy? Isn't it crazy to continue to price books so high when chances are eventually you will lose your business altogether? Is it just that because the books are printed outside of Australia they can be so much cheaper, even when you factor in all the business related costs of getting them here and out into shops to be sold?

I understood the argument to be that books are expensive in Australia because the are required by law have to be published by an Australian publisher before international editions can be bought into the country and that is where the cost lies. But why does it cost so much more to print and publish books here as compared to overseas?

There are so many questions that this article raises for me, but the biggest one is this – does this mean that it is possible for books to be cheaper in Australia?