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How Low Can They Go? October 20, 2009

Posted by dataduchess in Uncategorized.
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Late last week, Walmart.com announced it was going to sell pre-ordered copies of 10 highly anticipated books to be released in November for the low price of only $10 each. This didn’t sit well with Amazon.com an online outlet known for usually selling books cheaper than anyone else. According to an article in the New York Times this started a price war between the 2 outlets that left Wal-Mart charging only $8.99 and Amazon charging $9.00 for several new anticipated best-sellers.

Several interesting points made in this article, including that with Wal-Mart and Amazon’s price-cutting, even the big-box bookstores like Borders and Barnes & Noble cannot compete, let alone the small independent booksellers that are already threatened by the big chains. Also, what will this mean for the publishing industry? This might be a temporary publicity stunt to draw attention to Wal-Mart’s book sales, but if prices are driven down, will publishers be able to stay in business?

I happen to love B&N, its one of my favorite places, especially since I don’t have an independent bookseller nearby. I think books are overpriced as it is, and since I buy so many anyway, I usually try to find the lowest price, especially on expensive new releases. But I would rather not buy the books at all than support a movement that could potentially destroy the very industry it is promoting.

What do you think – do you have a store to which you are a loyal customer, no matter how cheap Wal-Mart and Amazon go? Or do you want your books as cheap as you can get ’em?

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Comments»

1. pupfiction - October 22, 2009

I’ve always hated Wal-Mart, specifically after writing a paper during my undergraduate days exposing their policies towards their employees. And cheaper books are certainly not going to bring me into the store, but I am sure it will bring others. I don’t want to defend Wal-Mart but nor do I want to knock them for this, one of their more innocuous policies. It’s important to remember that similar arguments have been brought against libraries time and time again, institutions that go a step beyond Wal-Mart and give the books away for free (well, temporarily). Maybe these price changes will allow people who didn’t used to buy books a better chance to read. So while I don’t support nor condemn, I do remind that sometimes the end justifies the means.


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