Thursday, November 01, 2007

The Damned Dollar

The strength of the Canadian dollar continues to cause havoc in the book buying industry. Indigo just let their feelings be know via press release yesterday. I'm not going to lie, when I was in NYC I considered buying a truckload of books that I knew very well I could get in Canada because they were so much cheaper. But then I'd have to carry them and it was a very small plane.

When you can see that a TP (like my copy of The Gathering) is a full $4.00 cheaper ($14.00 vs $18.00), it's a little upsetting, but when you think about how hard it is for businesses to change, and imagine that there's no way anyone in the industry could have predicted this would happen so quickly, I tend not to worry about it. It's only $4.00 and Ben McNally's worth it.

Yet, it's not just the fact that I can buy cheaper clothes from JCrew or be annoyed that there's huge disparity in big ticket items like, well, cars. It's more the idea that things in general are just worth so much less in the US, and that's now going to bleed into the way we think about consumption as well. Do we really need all the things we buy? And will we really all run out and buy 10 new cars just because the market's forcing them to be far less expensive?

I can't answer those questions. All I can say is that I was a little upset yesterday when I cashed one of my advance cheques and actually lost money for the first time in the history of my relationship with my wonderful publisher. It's a shame that in a sense we're watching a civilization in a kind of decline when it comes to the United States. I wonder if that's what the rest of the world felt like when British colonialism started to crumble? Maybe I'm mistaken, and making huge sweeping generalizations, but perhaps the people on a global scale need to take a step back, take a deep breath, and figure out what's really important. Maybe the American "Have it All At Any Cost" Dream might just need to be reimagined? Who knows. I'm waxing philosophical for no reason other than the fact that I look out a beautiful glass window on the changing trees in Toronto every morning and wish that it'll be there for the next generation of girls who have to sit here and contemplate before attending a meeting.

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