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Monday, July 23, 2007

Deathly Price Wars Over Hallows

On the eve of the release of the much anticipated final book of the Harry Potter series, supermarket giants Tesco and Carrefour decided to pull a magic stunt and start selling books next to their usual groceries. They stocked Hallows and priced it at a mere RM69.90. According to Penguin Distributors, the recommended retail price of Deathly Hallows in Malaysia should be RM109.90.

Members of the Booksellers Association, MPH, Times, Popular and Harris have held a press conference on the eve to voice their anger. Pricing the book at such a low price will undoubtedly make them look bad. As a result, to preserve their integrity, these 4 bookstores have signed an agreement not to sell the books on the release day and also to cancel all Harry Potter related activities. Though pre-orders are still honoured, this is indeed a huge blow to plans of the Harry Potter fans of the nation.

Consequently, the next day, most of the eager fans bought their books from the supermarket retailers and also from other independent bookstores such as Kinokuniya and Borders. As a result, all books were sold out within 6 hours. What will happen to the 4 major bookstores who have stocked so many books? A meeting will be held next week to discuss the outcome of this "disaster". Will they be able to recover their loses when most of the fans have already bought and read the book?

This price war has indeed been beneficial for the public and the supermarket retailers, but it is very unfair to the other bookstores for they do specialise in this arena and have been waiting for the release of this major title to cash in on some profits.

But as we can see, even such a major change cannot dampen the spirits of all the loyal Potter fans who have queued up all around the country since the wee hours of the morning. Alas, all was well.

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