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View Full Version : Attention, shoppers: Walmart and Amazon are in a price war



Fredster
10-17-2009, 03:18 AM
...and that means WE win.

The battle is for pre-release books, and they're going for $9 each, with FREE shipping. I just picked up the upcoming books from King, Koontz, and Crichton for a grand total of $27. Sure, they won't be here until the end of next month, but still --- three brand new hardbacks for the price of one, basically.

Here's the link to the books at Walmart, all on one page:

http://www.walmart.com/catalog/catalog.gsp?cat=1058364&povid=cat3920-env204029-module252071-lLink1

If you'd rather buy from Amazon, just search on the title.

thothguard51
10-17-2009, 03:25 AM
Not sure how WE win as authors since to sell at Walmart, the publisher has to give deep discounts, which affects the writers percentage unless the contract specifies list price...

As a consumer, of course I am always looking for better deals, but I try to support the mom and pop brick and mortars or chain stores where possible. I stay away for grocery stores, walmart and even Amazon when possible. In other words, even as a consumer, I try to support the same arts I want to be a part of...

Nick Anthony

maestrowork
10-17-2009, 03:37 AM
Not sure how WE win as authors since to sell at Walmart, the publisher has to give deep discounts, which affects the writers percentage unless the contract specifies list price...

Most royalties are based on list, not net. At least from major publishers which are what Wal-Mart sells anyway.

djf881
10-17-2009, 04:12 AM
Is it just my imagination, or does Stephen King's new novel have the same hook as the Simpsons movie?

thothguard51
10-17-2009, 04:20 AM
Most royalties are based on list, not net. At least from major publishers which are what Wal-Mart sells anyway.

Have yet to sign a contract, but from what I have read, most major publishers have the contracts worded in such a way that even list is not list once the deductions for book clubs and such are listed.

Nick Anthony

Birol
10-17-2009, 06:12 AM
I'm moving this to Roundtable, though I'm not certain that is the proper for this conversation, either. Office Party? P&CE?

willietheshakes
10-17-2009, 06:18 AM
Have yet to sign a contract, but from what I have read, most major publishers have the contracts worded in such a way that even list is not list once the deductions for book clubs and such are listed.

Nick Anthony

Yes. There's usually a special proviso in contracts that allows for reductions to royalties in the case of "special purchases", IE, high discount purchases by, say, WalMart, for example.

Wayne K
10-17-2009, 06:20 AM
Yes. There's usually a special proviso in contracts that allows for reductions to royalties in the case of "special purchases", IE, high discount purchases by, say, WalMart, for example.
Can they increase sales enough to make up for the cut?

If not, I'm against it. I know it's not my call to make if I'm just the writer, but in spirit I'm against it.

We're not rakes or snow blowers.

Terie
10-17-2009, 11:42 AM
If by 'we' you mean writers, no, we don't actually win. There's a real danger here that lowering the prices on bestsellers will reset buyer expectations to lower prices overall. And that isn't good for writers. Not saying I think readers should be gouged, just that there needs to be a balance point between what's fair to readers and what's fair to writers, and $10 is NOT it.

Fredster
10-17-2009, 03:03 PM
I would just about be willing to bet that Walmart and Amazon are selling these books at a loss. Notice it's only the top ten bestsellers. With Amazon, you have to spend $25 for free shipping, which means more books. I just got lucky that three of my favorites were in the top ten list.


Sorry about putting this in the wrong subforum; I wasn't sure where it went, either. I finally decided since I was posting about novels that's where I'd put it. :)


And by 'we,' I meant readers. I assumed most everyone who writes, reads.

BlackBriar
10-17-2009, 04:03 PM
Not saying I think readers should be gouged, just that there needs to be a balance point between what's fair to readers and what's fair to writers, and $10 is NOT it.

10$ sounds fair to the reader, me. Course, don't want those low prices attracting new and more vigorous readers... F4T

Clair Dickson
10-18-2009, 04:25 AM
Cheaper isn't always better...

If people expect that hardcovers should only cost $9 (because most people don't understand loss-leaders, anyway) then they're even LESS likely to buy a hardcover of an author not deeply discounted by Wal-Mart. Now, sure, the best sellers are fine, but there are many more authors out there who may get less sales because a reader will think, "Author B's book is overpriced" instead of "Author A's book is being sold at a loss because the seller hopes I'll buy more while I'm there."

People already have skewed expectations of what things should cost, without understanding production cost, etc. As a writer, I'm appalled that the only thing that matters is the price on the cover (and the Name Brand) not the quality of the material inside. As a reader, I'd rather spend $13 bucks for a soft cover copy of the completely fabulous Baby Shark series of books rather than another churned out "best seller" that is light even on it's formulaic plot (like some of the recurring authors who write a variation of the same thing every couple months.)

If price is all that matters, than with libraries, few people have ANY excuse not to be reading. But library circulations are FALLING, even though library books are FREE to patrons. Price isn't making for greater numbers of readers in that case... why?

brokenfingers
10-18-2009, 05:11 AM
An interesting article/blog post about it from an industry insider: http://antickmusings.blogspot.com/2009/10/british-style-book-price-wars-come-to.html


Obviously, this is good for consumers in the short run -- lower prices are always good for consumers. But it's bad for publishers, and will be bad for the ecology of books in general; a world in which Wal-Mart sets priorities for bookselling is not a healthy one. As everyone in the business knows, prices that low either mean the retailer is selling at a loss (likely in this case, for now) or that the retailer is pressuring the publisher for ridiculously high discounts (which I expect to see soon, as has happened in the UK).

Wayne K
10-18-2009, 05:23 AM
Wal Mart is evil. I go to stores that are higher in price, and I don't have the money to spare. Proof of evilness. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6958916/rssuserland

Wayne K
10-18-2009, 05:24 AM
http://ihscslnews.org/view_article.php?id=65

http://en.maquilasolidarity.org/currentcampaigns/Bangladesh/walmart?SESS89c5db41a82abcd7da7c9ac60e04ca5f=mrdvp cufw

Wayne K
10-18-2009, 05:26 AM
I wouldn't buy the cure for cancer from them.