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Old 10-24-2012, 02:29 PM   #91
vxf
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I live in the US but travel a lot to Italy - where I grew up.
I was asked to verify my US residency a while ago (August 2011) after downloading a lot of ebooks from Italy. Something similar to the above - I think I faxed them a copy of my driver's license.
I think they are cracking down on these things. But... oh well.
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Old 10-24-2012, 02:41 PM   #92
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgmueller View Post
Whispernet may be a convenient excuse.
But actually, the US are cheaper for almost all products. Compare prices for cars, for electronics, for video games...
I've got 2 theories:
a.) The US market is as big as the EU, but it's way more homogenous. Manufacturers and providers don't have to care about dozens of carriers, laws and other issues like that. Basically, they only have to consider the different VATs. More attractive/bigger market = more aggressive prices.
b.) Average income in the US is below EU standards and many Asian countries. Companies always track the price range that's acceptable for a market.
It is hard to generalize. But, in many respects, you are right.

I really think that, if you want a single answer, the real answer is competition. In almost all industries, US markets are more competitive. Europe still has all sorts of laws designed to protect domestic champions leading to distortions of all sorts. Booksellers in Italy in Italy are not allowed to discount anything (it's an anti-Amazon law), for example. And the US has laws and regulations protecting customers and enhancing both competition and pricing transparency that we, Europeans, can't even dream of.

The market is more homogeneous and that helps. But I think bigger factors to price in are fiscal pressure, both direct (VAT) and indirect (for example, the huge taxes on fuel which lead to higher transportation costs). But I don't think those small differences in costs explain the often dramatically higher prices.

I don't think average income in the US is lower than in the Euro-zone or Asia. Than Switzerland and Luxembourg? Yes... well, depending how you measure it. But those are exceptions. Even more, if you look at more appropriate metrics, like median income or GDP per capita, the US comes way ahead.
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