26 Julai 2007

Harry Potter: Ugly Price War or Ugly Bookstores?

I fully support Tesco and Carrefour's moves to sell the latest Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows at RM69.90. At this price is cheaper than the retail price at RM109.90, those who can't afford for high price of books can also enjoy reading the book that they can only buy after the price has dropped.

This so called "ugly price war" I must say has revealed the "ugly side" of book price in our country. While the Government has encouraged the rakyat to read more books, now we have realised that prices of books here in Malaysia are actually high. This might be one of the causes why the reading habit is not that popular as hoped by the Government.

I believe Tesco and Carrefour have made decent margin here by selling at RM69.90. The four bookstores that have boycotted the launch of the latest Harry Potter book must have made huge margin when the book is sold at the list price of RM109.90. At least, the bookstores would have made 100% margin by selling at the list price.

Since the government has also said that books are actually not a controlled item, the price of the books can be skyrocketed high or otherwise can be as low as recovering the cost. The bookstores should have not complaint as this is free market here. They, if they think they still should sell at the list price, should continue selling Harry Potter book. They must know that they should distinguish their market segment with Tesco or Carrefour's market segment. They are the expert of selling books and should not jump when discovering other unknown players selling at the cheaper price. Why can't they concentrate on selling value added items such as autographed books in order to entice readers to buy at a higher price?

Anyway, me, as a consumer, laud this hypermarkets move. At least, I don't buy a book that the seller has actually marked up so high. This has also revealed that our book price is actually skyrocketed. Who wants to read when a price of a book can actually buy you urbanite a week's meal?

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