Wal-Mart and Amazon.com trade price cuts on books

October 16, 2009
In this screen capture the sale price for the top 10 books from Walmart.com, is shown Friday, Oct. 16, 2009. An online book special offered by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is turning into a full-fledged price war with Amazon.com. (AP Photo/Walmart.com) NO SALES

(AP) -- An online book special offered by Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is turning into a full-fledged price war with Amazon.com.

Wal-Mart got things started Thursday, offering $10 prices on such upcoming hardcover releases as Sarah Palin's "Going Rogue" and John Grisham's "Ford County," a cut of 60 percent or more from the regular cost. Wal-Mart will also offer free shipping.

Amazon.com, the largest online bookseller, matched the $10 price, prompting Wal-Mart to take its offer to $9. By Friday morning, Amazon.com also had priced the books at $9.

The price cuts come at a time when Seattle-based Amazon.com and other sellers have been charging just $9.99 for ebooks, a price that publishers worry is unrealistically low. The reductions also make it increasingly hard for independent sellers, which can't afford such large discounts, to compete for the most popular books.

The price war also is forboding news to the large chain bookstores Borders Group Inc. and Barnes & Noble Inc., which have been squeezed by Amazon.com's discounting and a decline in their music business.

"At Walmart.com, we remain committed to providing our customers with the lowest prices available online. That commitment extends to the nation's best-selling books, especially during an increasingly challenging year for many of our customers," Raul Vazquez, Walmart.com's CEO, said in a statement.

"Our newest offering - the Top 10 pre-selling books at just $10, with free home delivery - is a true reflection of this commitment to better help our customers shop and save money online, just in time for the approaching holiday season."

In a new program called "America's Reading List," Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart also will offer 50 percent off or more on 200 current best-sellers, including Dan Brown's "The Lost Symbol" and Kathryn Stockett's "The Help."

Booksellers have fought hard to bring in customers for blockbuster releases such as Brown's "Lost Symbol" and the "Harry Potter" stories, offering reductions of 50 percent of higher. But Wal-Mart's announcement suggests a broad, sustained race for customers at prices few can afford to offer.

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Explore further: Wal-Mart to sell Verizon prepaid wireless

Related Stories

Wal-Mart to sell Verizon prepaid wireless

March 10, 2006

Verizon Wireless further entrenched itself in the battle for prepaid wireless phone customers Thursday, announcing that their INpulse pay-as-you-go service is now available at all U.S. Wal-Mart stores.

Like Apple, Amazon, Wal-Mart change music prices

April 8, 2009

(AP) -- Apple's iTunes Store isn't the only one that has adjusted prices for its digital song downloads recently: Changes are showing up at Amazon's and Wal-Mart's online music stores, too.

The latest craze: Free e-books offerings

August 7, 2009

(AP) -- James Patterson's latest best seller, "The Angel Experiment," is a little different from his usual hits. The novel isn't new; it came out four years ago. Its sales aren't happening at bookstores, but mostly on the ...

Wal-Mart to sell goods from other vendors on Web

August 31, 2009

(AP) -- Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has launched an addition to its online business that has outside retailers selling nearly 1 million new items through Walmart.com, a move that could help the world's largest retailer catch up ...

Amazon offers to replace Orwell books on Kindles

September 4, 2009

(AP) -- Amazon.com Inc. is offering free books or $30 to Kindle customers whose copies of the George Orwell novels "1984" and "Animal Farm" were deleted from their electronic reading devices in July.

Recommended for you

How to curb emissions? Put a price on carbon

September 3, 2015

Literally putting a price on carbon pollution and other greenhouse gasses is the best approach for nurturing the rapid growth of renewable energy and reducing emissions.

Customizing 3-D printing

September 3, 2015

The technology behind 3-D printing is growing more and more common, but the ability to create designs for it is not. Any but the simplest designs require expertise with computer-aided design (CAD) applications, and even for ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Doug_Huffman
not rated yet Oct 16, 2009
I'll pay ten bucks for a hardcopy book but not for a virtual book.

Wal-Mart has the additional problem of being a Chinese client and so removing it from contention for my dollar.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.