Sunday, December 21, 2008

Tesco Undercuts on Beedle

Predictably, Tesco's is starting a Potter price war all over again. Beedle the Bard will be on sale at just RM28.99 Dec 27-29 (and after that at RM32.25), presumably, as a loss leader. (Meaning they will not make any profit from it but it will lure you into the stores to fill your trolley with plenty of stuff that they will make plenty of profit from.) The UK recommended retail price is GBP12.99 - so more than twice that.

Says Tesco's marketing director Paul Morris (left, and something of a Harry Potter lookalike) :
At the moment we are focusing on iconic books that capture the public's imagination.
I haven't been into Tescos since I vowed not to after the last Potter debacle (and certainly don't miss it!) so can anyone tell me if they actually have sold any other titles since then? It's my feeling that the hypermarket does does precisely zilch for readers for the rest of the year, and now pulls the rug from under the feet of the bookstores (who do plenty for readers all year round and operate one of the trickiest retail businesses) when it can take advantage of the situation.

All's fair in love and commerce, but this still gets my goat (or should that be Christmas turkey).

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

Look likes it's a repeat of the Harry Potter and the Loss Leader episode again!

dreamer idiot said...

Agree with you totally, Sharon. Sigh. What makes the situation worse is the perception of the general Malaysian public, where they think the bookshops are only trying to rip them off, not understanding the economics behind it. In truth, how many of these people buy books from these bookshops in the first place, if it weren't only for Harry Potter.
I wrote a lengthy (and if I may add, eloquent) defence of bookshops to the Letter to the Editor last year, and off course, they didn't publish it.

synical said...

I feel a little bad, but I'll feel worse paying RM44.95 for a book the size of a Peter and Jane book.

bibliobibuli said...

gosh if it's fatness you want for your bucks, why not pick up a freebie phone directory???????

Anonymous said...

Oh, dreamer idiot, THANK YOU for writing that letter, and I'm very sorry it didn't get published :-( . Maybe you should publish it here as a guest post so that I'm not the only person going on and on in defence of bookshops and people don't dismiss it as just me on my soapbox again.

Synical -- yeah, just get a free phone directory lah then, as Sharon says. Too many people just don't understand how dire this situation is. You feel a little bad but not enough to do anything about it? Unfortunately, the demise of small bookshops will soon drive literature out of the marketplace. All you'll be able to buy will be David Baldacci and Dan Brown, and then maybe you'll feed bad enough to do something, but it'll be too late.

-- Preeta

bibliobibuli said...

i was gonna crawl back and apologise for being sarcastic to poor synical ... sorry lah. am a grouch today. just i hate to see undercutting and kiasuness. a good part of the profits of this book are going to charity too.

it's such a pity that rowling believes in her work doing good and it brings out all this greed.

the small bookshops aren't even in the picture when it comes to rowling's books. raman at silverfish can't compete with the price cuts, will not stock this.

synical said...

I've only got THIS for a response of the uncalled-for cyber-sarcasm: "..............."

I'm one of what the gahmen calls a "low-income wage earner". Of course I would go where prices are the lowest. I'm sorry, but unless I get this as a gift, I will STILL be paying for it out of my own pocket in the end; and I cannot bring myself to pay RM44.95 for what is (essentially) a kid's book.

The book has been on top of the bestseller lists for a few weeks now; and it's not the only book she's written for charity, just the latest.

I'd get more money off the phonebook if I could sell them as suratkhabar lama, but they make handy weights and for added height. If a phonebook were to come up tops on a bestseller list however, then ....

bibliobibuli said...

LOL. yes, do understand and apologise again.

anyway you just wait for a few weeks after christmas and the price will come tumbling and you will probably see it in bookxcess ...

Anonymous said...

Synical -- I actually wasn't just being sarcastic. If you can't afford to pay the full price of the book, buy it used from an independent second-hand bookshop. You might get it for even cheaper than you can get it from Tesco's or a large chain, and you'd still be doing your bit then. Maybe this doesn't apply to J.K. Rowling as much, but it sure would help most writers.

-- Preeta

bibliobibuli said...

there are already cheap editions on abebooks and the price will go down further soon

Anonymous said...

I remember using the fatness argument on my parents when I was a kid "See this book more than 1000 pages, but only RM 9.90!"

It worked like a charm. ;)

Not that my parents didn't encourage reading (weekly trips to the library were a fixture, plus we subscribed to four different papers at one point) but books (especially English books) can be relatively expensive in Malaysia.

No solutions here, just to say that I understand where synical is coming from (my parents were government servants too).

Having said that, I did buy my copy at the local indie (before anybody jumps on me).

-Jen

Anonymous said...

My dad was a government servant and my mom a housewife -- I'm not exactly coming to this discussion from an entitled background, either. Just saying, it can actually be *cheaper* to buy your books used from an independent bookseller than from Tesco's (or the equivalent), so poverty is not a good excuse in this case.

-- Preeta

Anonymous said...

If you KNOW you're paying too much for an essentially a kiddie book that's not going to give you any amount of reading value at all, why do you still want to buy it, at whatever price?

Would you pay RM45 for a Sweet Valley High novel?

- Poppadumdum

lil ms d said...

all this debate about the cost of books... whatever happened to borrowing them from friends? :D

merry christmas!

animah said...

I don't think Tescos in KL lures people into its stores by offering Bettle the Bard or whatever it's called by selling it RM16 cheaper. People go there to buy supermarket stuff, not books. They might just happen to buy the book while they're there.

In any case, I'm a snob. I refuse to shop in Tescos with the masses. I am happy with my little Ampang Jaya mini market where I can chat with the family who runs it.

And I have no intention of buying the beetle book.

bibliobibuli said...

oh animah have you forgotten the queues outside tesco the last time???

i shop at village grocer, the prices are lower than the hypermarkets, the produce fresher and more varied, and there isn't that stale pong, or the ambiance of a battery farm

ms d- - yes!!! no doubt synical's merry band of book crossers could get one copy between 'em and pass it round. who actually needs to own books? (well me, but ...)

Chet said...

Well, me, too (owning books) but only by specific authors (think Toni Morrison), out-of-print books like Jill Krementz's The Writer's Desk, and also unknown authors whose books catch my eye (usually the covers). I recently bought a paperback called The Camel Bookmobile which was inspired by the Kenyan Camel Mobile Library set up by the government to improve literacy rates in poverty-stricken areas. I bought the book from Popular Bookstore in Ikano and only learned of the Kenyan Mobile Library after I got home.

Anonymous said...

Long live Village Grocer-grocer of choice for Sharon and Jane Sunshine.

Oh, its not just indie bookshops, it's the grocer, fishmonger, butcher and (what do I call a chicken seller), etc, etc. Jane Sunshine.

bibliobibuli said...

you also meet all the best people there - forgot to say that, Jane!

Anonymous said...

Hypermarkets don't have the class or the classy clientele who'd want to read Preeta's book. They sell only riff-raff mass-market crap...

- Poppadumdum

bibliobibuli said...

anon comment was deleted 'cos it was just plain nasty.

from now on i reserve the right to remove any anonymous comments esp those which add nothing intelligent to the debate and which are written only to bitch.

Chet said...

I was just about to ask whether it's the same mouse as the one who posted in the "No Seksan Readings for December" entry.

bibliobibuli said...

don't think so, not the same IP, and this one mousied in from a blog aggregator so might have been just a random rat leaving droppings.

Anonymous said...

Sharon, you didn't have to delete the comment lah, I'm a big girl and though I know it doesn't seem like it at times, I *am* perfectly capable of ignoring the truly stupid ;-) .

-- Preeta

bibliobibuli said...

it's me it annoys, Preeta! i get fed up with negativity and folks who can only backbite anonymously

i need an idiot filter for this blog but can't block anyone from commenting without installing haloscan, but then would lose past comments. if i monitor comments, the blog loses its spontaneity ...

Anonymous said...

if there's an idiot filter i guess i'll always be filtered out. that's a pity because i like to come to this room and learn something ...and sometimes can't help having a fight.

ah pong

synical said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bibliobibuli said...

we love you too, ah pong. at least you aren't anonymous :-D

Anonymous said...

It's censorship Preeta, from someone who appears to be against censorship :P oh no wait, it's "editing" not censorship :)

Anonymous said...

Anonymous: did you not read my earlier response to this same comment, or are you too obtuse to grasp my point? Moderating comments on one's OWN blog is simply NOT censorship. That's like saying, "I want to be able to add a paragraph of porn to each chapter of your book, and if you stop me, you're against freedom of speech!" It's an absurd argument. After all, you, Anonymous, are more than welcome to start your own blog FOR FREE, in which you will be able to say whatever the hell you want, and nobody will be able to stop you. Anybody who wants to should be able to go to your blog to read your thoughts. *That's* freedom of speech. Freedom of speech does not, however, entitle you to make whatever foolish comments you want on someone ELSE'S blog, if they object to it, any more than freedom of expression entitles me to leave dog shit on your pillow every morning.

-- Preeta

bibliobibuli said...

oh it was the usual anonymous after all ... really i don't know why i have to keep rapping the same person's knuckles every time and so do the people who run every e-group he decides to join.

i think i am incredibly long suffering actually and if i want to chop off your comments when you overstep the mark, i certainly will, moan all you like.

and preeta, he doesn't listen, cannot listen. just takes pleasure in making us all cross with him.

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't he just start his own blog, then?!? He can go on and on ad infinitum about how the whole world sucks and it's no point trying to do anything because it will continue to suck anyway, and I'm sure he'll garner a large and enthusiastic readership.

-- Preeta

Anonymous said...

I agree with Preeta. This is Sharon's blog and she can do whatever the hell she wants! If anyone doesn't like it, fuck off and go somewhere else, and start your own blog. You may have freedom of speech, but it's just bad manners to enter someone's house and criticise everything in it.

"Why doesn't he start his own blog" ? Because, frankly who the fuck would want to go to his blog?
He has to ride on a popular blog to get his views across.

- Poppadumdum

Anonymous said...

"This is Sharon's blog and she can do whatever the hell she wants! If anyone doesn't like it, fuck off and go somewhere else, and start your own blog."

"You tak suka, you keluar!" -- is that what you're saying?

Poppadumdum -

I'm not criticizing _everything_. I'm not criticizing _anything_ in fact. I'm just expressing an opinion. Anyway, in your opinion, no one should criticize anything? she criticizes things in her blog, why shouldn't I criticize things in her blog?

I'm not stopping her from doing anything _at all_ to me. She can ban me any time she wants, just like the government can ban a book anytime it wants.

All she has to do is say "I hereby ban you from this blog" and I will be banned like a banned book.

"Why doesn't he start his own blog" ? Because, frankly who the fuck would want to go to his blog?
He has to ride on a popular blog to get his views across."

You're right. This is activism. You don't hold a demonstration, for instance, in the middle of a field in the middle of nowhere. Who would care then? you want to hold up traffic and inconvenience people, then people will notice.

And no kids were harmed either. As a final note, the lawyers were right. This is kind of fun :)

bibliobibuli said...

suggested the blog way back.

can't ban any IP the way my comments are set up at the moment so can only delete ... just ... bloody hell ... be considerate!

Anonymous said...

HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Anonymous thinks he's an activist! Anonymous, what are you an activist for? Sticks up the arsehole? The right to remain a sourpuss? Seriously, what worthy cause are you furthering here? Do tell us.

"she criticizes things in her blog, why shouldn't I criticize things in her blog?"

I think you just answered your own question, buddy. It's like how, if I wanted to put dogshit on my OWN pillow every morning, nobody could stop me, see, but it still wouldn't give me the right to put dogshit on *your* pillow. Or do you think it would? Do you think, if I believed that dogshit had a salutary and bracing effect on human morals -- say, for example, that I thought of dogshit on pillows as a form of activism -- that I should have the right to enter your house and lay a nice fat turd on your pillow every morning?

I'm afraid what Sharon is doing has absolutely NOTHING to do with book banning, Anonymous, and I think the rest of us see that, but perhaps you *are* too obtuse to grasp the point, as I suspected at first. When the government bans a book, it is trying to withhold the contents of that book -- information, philosophy, whatever -- from the entire population. If Sharon could ban you from this blog (oh! if only!) she would be withholding nothing from anyone. She would not be making it impossible for anyone who wanted to listen to you to do so ELSEWHERE. You would not be "banned like a banned book"; you could still hold forth on your own half-past-six theories ON YOUR OWN BLOG, and Sharon wouldn't stop you. Nor would anyone else. In fact, I must confess that I would probably visit your blog regularly myself. I need to get my daily dose of entertainment and inspiration, and I get most of it from foolish people's blogs. Smart, self-aware people are rarely quite as much fun to write about :-) .

-- Preeta

Anonymous said...

Thanks for saving me the energy of replying to the prick, Preeta.

- Poppadumdum

animah said...

Preeta, way back on this posting, you said you were capable of ignoring the truly stupid. Ahem.

Anyway, Merry Christmas Sharon, Preeta, Chet, Poppadumdum and Ah Pong (I remember who you are cos you accidentallly left your name and then signed Ah Pong). And to the Scroogy Mouse: Bah Humbug to you too. Hee hee.

Anonymous said...

Animah -- yes I am, but I meant that specifically in reference to the personal attack against me (which Sharon deleted). I don't feel quite so restrained defending *other* people :-) . Merry Christmas to you too, and all the rest, even to the Scroogy Mouse: MERRY CHRISTMAS MERRY CHRISTMAS MERRY CHRISTMAS. See? You can't stop me from wishing you, haha!

-- Preeta

Anonymous said...

"Thanks for saving me the energy of replying to the prick, Preeta."

Okay, so now we're into childish name-calling, are we?

"Preeta, way back on this posting, you said you were capable of ignoring the truly stupid. Ahem."

Are you implying that I'm "stupid" because you don't agree with me ? :)

"I think you just answered your own question, buddy. It's like how, if I wanted to put dogshit on my OWN pillow every morning, nobody could stop me, see, but it still wouldn't give me the right to put dogshit on *your* pillow."

Well yes it does, actually. I can't have you arrested for that, can I Animah ? :) if that was illegal a lot of people would be arrested now wouldn't they?

Preeta, when did I personally attack you? please let me know, I'll apologize if necessary. All I remember is some debate and some criticism (of the book) which I think was deleted.

And yea, about er..yesterday. I'm lucky it's only once a year, but yea whatever. This remains one of the very few countries in which a muslim can say "Merry Christmas" to everyone without being regarded as strange (or worse :P)

"When the government bans a book, it is trying to withhold the contents of that book -- information, philosophy, whatever -- from the entire population."

When the government (administrator) of this country (blog) bans a book (post), it is trying to withhold the contents of (the book) the post -- information, philosophy, whatever -- from the entire population of the country (of the blog readers).

Same thing.

"If Sharon could ban you from this blog (oh! if only!) she would be withholding nothing from anyone."

She would be with-holding the contents of my post from all her blog readers.

"She would not be making it impossible for anyone who wanted to listen to you to do so ELSEWHERE."

Same difference. When a government bans a book, they are not making it impossible for someone to read it anywhere else in the world :)

"You would not be 'banned like a banned book'"

Yes I would. See above :)

"you could still hold forth on your own half-past-six theories ON YOUR OWN BLOG, and Sharon wouldn't stop you."

The authors and publishers of said banned books could still hold forth on their own half-past-six 7theories anywhere else in the world, and the government here would not be able to stop them.

"Nor would anyone else. In fact, I must confess that I would probably visit your blog regularly myself. I need to get my daily dose of entertainment and inspiration, and I get most of it from foolish people's blogs."

So are you implying that I'm foolish because you don't agree with me? :P

Bib,

If you want to ban me (exactly like a government bans a book, or even a person) all you have to do is say the word. I will take it as law because after all you are the "government" of this "country".

Preeta -

You're right, I can't stop you from wishing me, even though I wish you didn't, that's how it works I think :)