Popular magazines like Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan and Loaded cost almost €2 more on the shelves here than in Britain.
Even allowing for Irish VAT at 13.5% the prices of the popular titles can still be up to 13% higher.
For instance, Cosmopolitan’s February edition has a cover price of £3.20, which is equivalent to €4.88 and includes a margin for distributor’s and retailer’s profits.
With VAT on top the sum comes to €5.54 yet the magazine is on sale for as much as €6.25, a difference of 71 cent or 12.8% extra.
Lads’ magazine Max Power retails for as much as €8.50 in shops and is 28% higher than readers in Britain pay.
Converted into euro the £4.35 price comes to €6.64 and rises to €7.54 after VAT is added but till prices of €7.73 are common.
Consumer champions last night questioned why prices were high and said the sterling cover price already included distribution costs and seller’s profits.
“The prices bear no resemblance to reality but the market has come to a point where consumers accept them as the norm,” said Dermott Jewell of the Consumers’ Association of Ireland.
“Retailers say the prices reflect their costs but that’s rubbish — it’s just another element of profit based on what the market will bear.”
The Irish Examiner compared the selling prices of 10 magazines in a range of retailers from major stores to corner shops.
Even though all the magazines are printed and published in Britain, the titles are intended for sale in the Irish market too.
The same British-printed editions are sold in Northern Ireland at the sterling cover price but no extra is added for shipping the titles across the Irish Sea. Magazines are VAT-free in Britain and the North.
Fashion bible Tatler is one of few international magazines to publish separate British and Irish editions, and make both available here.
The British edition has a cover price of £3.60 and is widely sold for 16.2% more at €6.39 here though the slimmer Irish version retails for a promotional €2.
Newsagents defended their prices, saying the way the magazine industry operated meant extra costs for them.
The Convenience Stores and Newsagents Association (CSNA) said that shops were inundated with magazines they did not need and had to bear the cost of disposing of unsold copies.
CSNA boss Vincent Jennings said: “For quite a few of the monthlies and weeklies, one pallet of magazines remains unsold for every three brought over.”
He said the weight of all the unsold magazines in Ireland came to 115,000 tonnes annually, adding thousands of euro to individual shops’ costs.
The Periodical Publishers Association of Ireland represents Irish magazines and said that it was unable to do anything about the price of British titles.
Spokesman Gerry Daly said: “Consumers realise they are overpriced and sometimes they realise the price is almost double.
They may consider whether it’s worth paying and there’s a feeling that there’s a certain amount of rip-off.”