Thursday, June 5, 2014

Godzilla vs King Kong ... or You Know Something Is Wrong When You Start Rooting for Walmart

The ongoing battle between Amazon and Hachette - or, now that I think of it, Amazon and everybody - has got the major distributors' knickers in a twist.

So, they fought back by offering discounts on Hachette books.

This week, Walmart announced that they'd had a 70% increase in print book sales after slashing their prices on Hachette titles.

While I have to confess I feel a small frisson of satisfaction whenever Amazon's wings are clipped, I just can't bring myself to root for Walmart. A monster is a monster. 

Any way you look at it, somebody's house is going to get smashed.
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Walmart cashes in on Amazon – Hachette fight

By Schuyler Velasco, Christian Science Monitor

Readers anxious to dig into the new J.K Rowling or James Patterson novel may have to wait a bit. Or, they could go to Walmart.

This week, the world’s largest retailer found a way to stick it to Amazon, one of its chief competitors. The e-commerce giant is currently embroiled in a dispute with Hachette, a major publisher that carries the two authors mentioned above, as well as David Sedaris, Nicholas Sparks, Malcolm Gladwell, and many more.

The New York Times reports that is has to do with e-book pricing. As a result, Amazon has made a point of making it difficult to purchase nearly 5,0000 titles from the site by buying less stock of print books, delaying shipping times up to four weeks, and taking away “pre-order” options from books from Hachette.

“If you order 1,000 items from Amazon, 989 will be unaffected by this interruption,” reads a press statement released by Amazon last week. “If you do need one of the affected titles quickly, we regret the inconvenience and encourage you to purchase a new or used version from one of our third-party sellers or from one of our competitors.”

Walmart, not widely known as a bastion of the literary world, pounced on the opportunity, slashing prices on Hachette titles and announcing the sale with a banner on the homepage of its website, offering both pre-orders and free in-store pickup of Hachette books. It worked: As of Friday, Walmart sales of print books (not including e-books), were up 70 percent since Tuesday, according to the company.

Read the rest of this article here.

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