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article imageAmazon Makes the Latest Move in Price War on Best Selling Books

By Christina Jones     Nov 3, 2009 in Business
Several retailers have been engaging in a price war on best selling books in an attempt to boost sales for the upcoming holiday season. Amazon and Wal-mart are the most prominent names in the battle for customers and once again Amazon has upped the ante.
The battle began back in September when Wal-mart initiated he price cuts by slashing prices on its top ten best selling books to just $10. Not to be outdone, Amazon responded by immediately marking their best sellers down to $10 as well. However, Wal-mart, who has vowed to be the price leader for holiday sales, then lowered book prices to $8.99.
Amazon has kept pricing relatively stable in the past few weeks, with the exception of offering extremely low prices on pre-orders of upcoming book releases. They began offering pre-orders of upcoming book releases at a cost of $9, which then rose on the day of the book’s release. Special pricing on pre-order copies of books is a common practice in the industry which is employed to generate public buzz and an initial sales spike for new releases.
However, book lovers were delighted this morning as they awoke to realize that the lowered price remained in effect even once the book was available for sale. Some examples of the unheard of pricing include John Grisham's Ford County which is priced at $9 (list price $24.00), Sandra Brown’s Rainwater priced at $12.95 (list price $23.99) and J.D. Robb's Kindred in Death priced at $9 (list price $26.95).
Although the price wars are exciting consumers who have less discretionary income due to the recession, it is unknown what effects these lower prices will have on the book industry as a whole. When tallied, the cuts represent approximately a 50 percent cut in the list price on many of the offerings. Most at question is the impact the lowered prices will have on author’s payments, as well as drawing sales away from independent bookstores which are already struggling to compete with big box booksellers.
The American Booksellers Association has asked the justice department to investigate the issue as a potential issue of illegal predatory pricing.
More about Amazon, Walmart, Books, Best seller book price, John Grisham
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