Mega retailer Wal-Mart is moving online in a head-to-head battle with Amazon, selling books at $9 through its website.
Wal-Mart originally announced it would be offering the top ten bestsellers at $10, but Amazon reacted quickly and matched its prices. Wal-Mart then chopped a further buck off its sticker price for titles from such literary giants as Dan Brown and Sarah Palin. The store is also offering the top 200 books at half their list price.
"If there is going to be a 'Wal-Mart of the Web', it is going to be Walmart.com," said Walmart.com CEO Raul Vazquez. "Our goal is to be the biggest and most visited retail Web site."
But analysts point out that while the price war is good news for people who can read, it’s not so clever for the retailers – estimating that Wal-Mart will be losing around $7.50 on every book it sells.
And things aren’t all doom and gloom for the small, independent bookstores that cannot hope to compete with the online megastores’ price war - they now have the option of purchasing their stocks of bestsellers from Amazon or Wal-Mart for less than they would pay their regular wholesalers, enabling them to offer the titles at a discount and still make money on the deal.