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Economysteries: why are books so expensive in Singapore?

Why are books so expensive in Singapore? And is this true-er of highbrow nonfiction-type books, or of pulp paperbacks?

1. Highbrow hardbacks are more expensive. The pulp romance/ fantasy paperback is actually cheaper at Acmamall, an online Singapore bookstore. And the pulp book is the same price in ebook format!

2. Big bookshops in Singapore tend to be in high-rent areas like Orchard Road. I’m guessing rent is a significant component of the price there.

3. Also, physically, big hardback books take up more storage space than little paperbacks.

4. How much does shipping contribute? I’m guessing not much. Singapore actually has a thriving publishing industry that does things like travel books; therefore travel books published here ought to be cheaper than travel books not published here…? (I haven’t actually looked into that.)

5. Also, if shipping were a major factor in the cost of books, the price of books should also be high in New Zealand and Australia.

6. On that note, neither the Amazon or Acmamall price factored in the cost of shipping yet – with shipping it might actually add up to the same as the bricks-and-mortar shop, Kinokuniya.


*Personally I prefer the vast and awesome library.