Posts Tagged ‘price wars’

Are Independent Bookstores a Dying Breed?

October 28th, 2009 No comments

tombstoneRetail giants Walmart, Amazon and Target have come under fire recently for starting a price war on new hardcover titles, and pricing mom & pop bookstores out of the market. Walmart fired the first shot earlier in the month by offering online customers the chance to pre-order 10 of the holiday season’s hottest new books, including titles from Stephen King, John Grisham and Sarah Palin, for only $10. Amazon and Target then entered the fray and the pre-order price was whittled down to just $8.98. In the aftermath, The American Booksellers Association, which represents independent bookstores, wrote a letter to the Justice Department calling for an investigation of this “predatory pricing”. The ABA’s letter accused the mammoth retailers of selling the books at a loss in order to “win control of the market for hardcover best sellers.” Target, Amazon and Walmart are able to offset these losses, but independent booksellers operate on much slimmer profit margins and do not have this luxury. These price wars could not have come at a worse time for small bookstores, since the weakened economy and the rise in e-book popularity have steadily eaten away at their profits.

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