Thursday, March 15, 2007
A Tale of Two Chains
No doubt we will have another round of insane discounting when we all go Harry Potty in July. It reminds me of a tale of two bookselling chains (whom I cannot name, of course) that I learned about recently. Like many good stories, it is set around Christmas time, and involved a bestelling book (which I also cannot name). You will be dumbstruck, dear reader, to discover that one chain was selling this book for substantially less than cost. The price was so good, in fact, that the head office of its competitor sent out a command to all its stores to go directly to branches of the first chain's stores and buy up all available stock of the title without delay. This was duly done. Then, the second chain's existing stock of the books was taken off the shelves, replaced with cheaper books and (and this is the really nice bit, I think), returned to the publisher. One can only imagine what all this skullduggery did to the BookScan figures. There's an even more interesting story about the creation of the book itself, which I would love to share with you but, alas, it may have to wait until the annals of this age are writ.