ICv2 reports on Overstock.com’s price war with Amazon. Basically the online retailer is matching Amazon’s deep discounts on books—despite losing money on these discounts—in an effort to become more of an alternative to Amazon.
In a statement that could presage future attempts to grab sales from Amazon, Overstock’s CEO Patrick Byrne told The Wall Street Journal, “We think with the rise in sales volume, we can extract better pricing from publishers. Publishers do want to see more competition for Amazon.” While matching Amazon’s current prices might be a solid first step on Overstock’s plan to carve out more of the online book trade, it is difficult to see how the challenger expects to change the buying habits of Amazon’s customers by simply matching its prices.
But the buyer is the winner in all this, as some representative prices reveal:
The Walking Dead Compendium Vol. 1, ($59.99 MSRP), which was (during the sale) going for $23.93 on Overstock and $26.59 on Amazon is now selling for $29.63 on both sites, while the Batman: The Court of Owls Book and Mask Set (MSRP $24.99) was selling for $7.54 (70% off) on Overstock and $10.49 on Amazon, is now going for $14.99 on both sites. The Complete Calvin & Hobbes paperback ($100 MSRP), which was $50.73 on Amazon, and $45.66 on Overstock, is now $53.85 on both sites.
Book publishers might welcome an alternative to the increasingly powerful Amazon, but if everyone has to lose money to do it, it’s still not an ideal situation.