Clearly feeling threatened by others edging in on its whole ‘selling books at unsustainably low prices’ thing, Amazon has started to price-match Sainsbury’s October e-book promotion, which sees the supermarket selling a shifting variety of popular titles digitally for 99p each. The promotion, which began last week, features a selection of one day only special offers that changes every weekday, alongside a stock of dozens of other titles that will remain at the reduced price for the whole month. Yesterday’s (October 9th) daily titles included David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas, Sarah Winman’s When God Was A Rabbit and John Banville’s Booker-winning The Sea, all of which were subsequently brought down to 99p on Amazon too. The title with the largest discount was Bridget Asher’s The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted, down £6 from its usual Sainsbury’s retail price of £6.99.
Amazon isn’t just matching the daily deals, either – searching for a random selection of titles that Sainsbury’s is selling for 99p for all of October reveals that digital editions of The Wasp Factory and The Crow Road by Iain Banks, Starter For Ten by David Nicholls and Bernard Cornwell’s 1356 are all also being sold to Kindle users for 99p. Given that, for instance, those titles mentioned above are the only two of Iain Banks’ extensive back catalogue being offered at the greatly reduced price, it seems fair to suggest that Amazon is feeling fairly defensive about the Sainsbury’s promotion (incidentally, if you’ve never read The Wasp Factory or The Crow Road then you have less of an excuse than ever at those prices).
Speaking to The Bookseller about the promotion, Sainsbury’s m.d. of e-books, Tim Lennox, said that offering George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones for 99p gave the shop its best day of digital sales to date, adding: ‘The books on offer appeal to our customer base and are on offer for a period of time. The offer changes every day so we could keep it new and innovative. Competitors will match what we are doing, that was always going to be expected. This way, we stay on the front foot.’
He was chief hack and music editor of webzine Brazen from 2006 to 2010, and hosted Left of the Dial on Subcity Radio from 2008 to 2011.
He can be heard semi-regularly on the podcast of Scottish cultural blog Scots Whay Hae ('20th best website in Scotland!' - The List), and in 2011 founded Seen Your Video, a film and music podcast and blog based in Glasgow. He has a Masters degree in Scottish Literature from the University of Glasgow that will never have any practical application. You are on a hiding to nothing if you follow him on Twitter expecting any kind of hot publishing scoop.