Friday, February 09, 2007
Harry Potter and the Deathly Silence?
The publication date and recommend retail price of the new (and last - phew!) Harry Potter book was announced to the trade on 1 February, but most Australian booksellers and Potter fans would have read about it on 2 February. I thought it might be interesting to look at how booksellers' websites had made use of the information one week later, on 9 February. With a little help from my young nephew, I had a quick 'surf' to find out. Dymocks was inviting customers to register by email to place pre-orders but had no price, A&R's website had the date and was directing customers to pre-order from their local A&R store again with no price, while Borders' site had the date but no price and was asking people to sign up for their 'owl post' news update. Readings and Mary Ryan had the pub date but not the price, while Sydney's Better Dead Than Read had the date and price. None of these three were encouraging orders. Surprisingly, online bookseller Booktopia had no information on the book at all, nor did any of the discount or department store websites (less surprising). So was anyone selling the book? Well, yes. You could order at $44.96 on Boomerang Books's site while those sites powered by Seek Books were selling at full price, as was Collins' website and that of the book's Australian distributor, Allen & Unwin. Australia's favourite bookselling website Amazon.com was taking orders of the US edition at US$18.89 ($24.18) + US$11.98 ($15.35) postage, making its $39.53 total the best deal on the web after week one. There's a long way to go, of course. Still, the variety of messages directed to the consumer is quite fascinating, given that I expect 99% of Potter fans now know the date and price for themselves.