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

Oct 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: What 6.9 million clicks tell us about how to fix online education (w/ Video)

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Wal-Mart to sell goods from other vendors on Web

Aug 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 ...

Like Apple, Amazon, Wal-Mart change music prices

Apr 08, 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

Aug 07, 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, ...

Wal-Mart to sell Verizon prepaid wireless

Mar 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.

Amazon offers to replace Orwell books on Kindles

Sep 04, 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

T-Mobile deal helps Rhapsody hit 2M paying subs

5 hours ago

(AP)—Rhapsody International Inc. said Tuesday its partnership with T-Mobile US Inc. has helped boost its number of paying subscribers to more than 2 million, up from 1.7 million in April.

Airbnb woos business travelers

5 hours ago

Airbnb on Monday set out to woo business travelers to its service that lets people turn unused rooms in homes into de facto hotel space.

Google searches hold key to future market crashes

16 hours ago

A team of researchers from Warwick Business School and Boston University have developed a method to automatically identify topics that people search for on Google before subsequent stock market falls.

User comments : 1

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.