Because of Tesco and Carrefour undercutting the price of HP7 (both selling at RM69.90 instead of the recommended price of Rm109.90) the four major bookshop chains, MPH, Times, Popular and Harris, have decided not to sell the book! Good for the retailers sticking together. Sad sad sad for all those who were planning to launch the book in a fun way this morning, and for the fans. (Those who pre-booked will still be able to collect their copies.)
Says MPH's chief operating officer, Patricia Chen:
It's not fair to allow hypermarkets to sell such a popular book when they are not in the book business.I wholeheartedly agree with her. Stick to your baked beans and chicken portions and ikan bilis, hypermarkets, and if my credit card doesn't go through your till for a good long while you'll know it's my small way of making a protest. (Actually you probably won't notice, as the only thing I go out of my way to buy at Tesco is ground coffee, which is really rather good ... but I can live without that!)
On a happier note, there are some very nice pictures of last night's Sorceror's ball at MPH 1 Utama in the print version of the paper but sadly not online.
Raman of Silverfish (who said he couldn't afford to sell the book anyway) is laughing long and hard at all this and seems to feel it serves the chain bookshops right. Under the charming heading:
In Malaysia, the Harry Potter Shit Hits the fanhe writes:
Guess it was bound to happen. Major bookshop chains in the city have decided to boycott the latest Harry Potter book in the series Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows due to 'unfair' pricing by Tesco and Carrefour hypermarkets. Isn't that simply delicious? Unfair pricing? Well, well, well. Who's talking now? Now, isn't that exactly what major chains have been doing to independent bookshops all these years? When they sold the latest release of a best-selling author below cost at their four-times-a-year 'warehouse' sales to attract customers, what did they think they were doing? Now they are protesting? Is that rich or what? Does anyone remember how JRR Tolkein's latest book Children of Hurin was sold below cost at a recent warehouse sale even before it was even released to the public.Meanwhile, some other bloggers have posted on the issue including The Malaysian, Georgette Tan, Eyeris, and Eric Forbes.
Well, talk about poetic justice. Oh poor thing ... boo, hoo, hoo ...I think what has happened with Harry Potter is the best thing that has happened to the industry. Time to put the house in order, right?
Yinny the Yinn works at Borders (which was selling the book) and tells how she almost got crushed in the rush.
This is the biggest local bookshop crisis ever, I think, and brings to a head issues that have been bubbling under for a long time.
(Photo of newspaper ad scanned in by Raman and nicked from his website.)