open the pages, read the words, savor the magic
Are Kinokuniya Indonesia’s price-setters a bit bonkers?
I’m asking this question because I discovered yet another shocking price difference between Kinokuniya and other stores today. This is not the first time it happened, but the fact that I keep finding massive amounts of price difference between the bookstores – with Kinokuniya coming off as the more expensive one compared to the others – I really felt compelled to ask that question.
This is the book that I bought today: David S. Cohen’s PACIFIC RIM: MAN, MACHINES AND MONSTERS.
I bought this book at Periplus Bookstores in Pondok Indah Mall. The original cover price is USD 45 (around IDR 450,000 after conversion). The Periplus price is IDR 530,000. Since the book is categorized new, and Periplus members always get 10% off new titles, I end up buying this book for IDR 477,000.
On the other hand, Kinokuniya’s price is IDR 580,000. No discount. So if I’d bought this book in Kino, I would’ve been charge IDR 103,000 more. ONE HUNDRED AND THREE THOUSAND. That’s about $10 more expensive for those of you who aren’t familiar with the Rupiah. Even without the Periplus member discount, I still woud’ve been able to purchase the book 50,000 rupiah cheaper than Kino! And honestly? This sort of pricing is nothing short of insanity.
I’d considered buying this book from other bookstores, mostly online. Open Trolley Indonesia’s price for this book is IDR 544,000. Expensive, but still 36,000 cheaper than Kinokuniya. Going outside the Indonesian territory, Book Depository offers this book on discount at USD 39.42 (IDR 402,000). Amazon.com offers this book on an even bigger discount at USD 27.79 (IDR 285,000), although they will add the exorbitant shipping cost later that will make it roughly the same as Book Depository. In Singapore, only Kinokuniya Singapore itself sells this book at a more expensive price than Kinokuniya Jakarta: SGD 75.97 (IDR 612,000). You’d have to be a member to get the discount and end up with IDR 490,000 (and, luckily for me, I do have membership there, which means I would’ve bought it cheaper too there than in Kinokuniya Jakarta.)
If you think that this applies only for coffee table movie artbooks, then think again. The same case happened with Dan Brown’s INFERNO and Neil Gaiman’s THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE. Kinokuniya’s discount doesn’t help much because they always set the price higher than Periplus. They can probably argue that Periplus is the one setting the book at too cheap a price, but then you look around the online stores – local and international – and you find out that you get better prices everywhere.
To be very fair, I can understand that Kinokuniya Indonesia – as a public listed company – has to deal with official shipment procedures and burdened by all sorts of taxes and other custom fees. I used to work there and I am well aware of the troubles the employees there go through whenever they import books. But back then, while I realize that Kinokuniya is more expensive than most bookstores in Jakarta, there are two things that keep the bookstore on top of the competition:
The price difference in the past had not been too great. 20,000 rupiah at the most. And certain books are promoted through various programs so customers can get discounts without membership cards.
Kinokuniya Jakarta has the widest range of books possible. So it’s like, the customers might get the new bestseller title at several thousand rupiahs higher than the other bookstores, but they don’t have to go anywhere else to get the backlist. This is no longer true because their range has now become smaller. So you still have to go to the other bookstores to find the backlist.
But these are no longer true, especially with the second one. At least they have a promotion going, although I know of only one promotional program going on in Kinokuniya Jakarta right now, but that’s a collect-stamps-get-vouchers program. There is still 10% off New York Times bestsellers but that doesn’t extend to other categories and movie books definitely do not fall under the NYT bestsellers that get discount category. In any case, I don’t feel like I am getting the value for money that Kinokuniya Jakarta used to provide anymore despite their higher price.
The other month, I asked Kinokuniya Jakarta to check the price for two John le Carré titles (because these titles aren’t readily available in the store). They gave me the price estimation of IDR 220,000 for both books. I went to Aksara the next day and found the exact titles I wanted – readily available on the shelf – and for the price of IDR 192,000.
I rest my case. Someone needs to tell the price makers in Kinokuniya Jakarta to stop being bonkers. Yes, good on you for maximizing on your profit margin, Kino, but now you do not have my confidence as the best bookstore in Jakarta anymore.