Pricing bestsellers a guide to inflation in New Zealand
According to the business section in today's Wellington Dominion Post, inflation almost vanished for non-smokers in the March 2012 quarter, "helped in part by much cheaper books, such as hot seller The Hunger Games."
A surprise element in the figures was "an unprecedented" 14% drop in book prices.
How did they deduce this, one wonders. Well, it seems that the bean-counters track the top ten best-selling books. The Hunger Games, for instance, sells for $NZ18, compared to the typical hardback, which costs something over $30.
It certainly doesn't reflect a drop in book prices across the board.
In fact, the whole scene is bizarre. Helped by a strong New Zealand dollar, costs of international airfares, overseas package holidays, telecommunication costs, audiovisual equipment, and -- yes, books -- have all gone down, taking the figure for inflation along.
Yet the average New Zealander is finding life quite a bit more expensive: petrol, housing rentals, insurance premiums, and vegetables have all gone up. Along with those pricey cigarettes.