Home » Amazon, Pricing » OverStock.com Launches New Campaign in Price War Against Amazon

OverStock.com Launches New Campaign in Price War Against Amazon

31 July 2013

From The Digital Reader:

When Overstock.com announced last week that they were going to beat Amazon’s book prices by 10% on all 360,000 titles carried by Overstock, it looked to be a classic first volley in a price war. Amazon returned fire a day later with their own sale on best sellers, and now Overstock  is back with their next maneuver.

Overstock announced today that they were extending their sale. The deep discounted prices are going to stay in effect at least through 7 August, and possibly even later. The CEO told PW that he plans to review the situation in a week and consider the matter then.

Link to the rest at The Digital Reader

Amazon, Pricing

15 Comments to “OverStock.com Launches New Campaign in Price War Against Amazon”

  1. Yay for the consumer!

    Awesome. I hope it keeps up. I need me a new pair of….something. At those prices, I’m buying me something.

  2. from PW today:

    Last week Overstock.com declared war on Amazon by discounting 360,000 titles 10% below Amazon’s prices. The mega-retailer, which launched with the slogan “Earth’s Largest Bookstore,” quickly responded by lowering prices on thousands of bestsellers. Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne told PW he plans to keep up the pressure on Amazon by continuing the deep discounts through midnight August 7.

    For some titles, that can mean more than 55% off, much lower than most stores can purchase new books, and even lower than Amazon. Curtis Sittenfeld’s novel Sisterland, with a suggested list price of $27, is now $11.48 at Amazon and $10.33 (or 61% off) at Overstock. David Sedaris’s Let’s Explores Diabetes with Owls, which also retails at $27 is $11.97 (or 56% off) at both Amazon and Overstock.

    Byrne plans to review the program weekly to determine if he will continue the deep discounting. As for Overstock’s own book category slogan, it is working to live up to it: “We Wrote the Book on Savings.”

  3. Fantastic promotion for both companies involved. Neither of them is losing anything.

    • I’m reminded of the root of “competition,” from the Latin “competere,” meaning “to seek or strive together,” an attribute often muddled or lost in modern times.

  4. I have occasionally purchased from them and had a good experience, but to the best of my knowledge they do not carry e-books, most especially from indie authors. As far as the competition, the more out there, the better for everyone.

  5. “from PW today: Last week Overstock.com declared war on Amazon.”

    Wait, hold on – I thought Amazon declared war on all bookstores and publishers first? Or was it all the worlds books and literature first?

    But if Overstock declared war on Amazon first then doesn’t it make more sense that Zon counter-declares war on poets and vintage typewriter dealers intead of supermarkets and all the worlds food distribution?

    I really wish the BPH pundits would get their s*** straight. The multiple layers of fail and stupid are really getting confusing.

  6. But Overstock.com doesn’t have *my* books.

    They lose 😛

  7. Patricia Sierra

    I’m holding out till one company or the other pays me to take their merchandise.

    My only experience with Overstock was the purchase of a “new” air mattress. It arrived with patches on it, and pieces of dried grass and dirt embedded in the glue that had seeped out around the patches. I haven’t felt terribly compelled to shop there again.

  8. Books have “value,” writers have “value.” I’m not sure how treating both as commodities benefits writers in the long run. True confession. I’ve never downloaded a free or $.99 ebook. I always assume this is indicative of quality, and with a few exceptions, I’m probably not wrong. For those of you who use this pricing for promotion, if the reader reviews are good, and the blurb looks interesting, I may catch you at full price. I’m just not going to wade through a lot of bad books to find the gems. I have 891 ebooks on my nook, all purchased at $3.99 and above. I don’t care if these books were discounted at some later date, because they have value to me. Most of them were worth the price I paid for them. I can accept lower pricing if it’s the result of lower production costs being passed on to the consumer, but pricing wars to beat out the competition, if they result in readers expecting low pricing, isn’t in any writer’s interest. So yeah, if I was Dan Browm, I would be very unhappy about these price wars, because it could very well impact his next contract negotiation. Especially the non-Dan Brown’s who don’t have his negotiating power.

  9. So Overstock engages Amazon in a discount war, with Overstock firing the first shot. And the background music is half the publishing world yelling, “Amazon Apocalpyse!! Out of the blue! See? See? See? They’re discounting their books!”

  10. “True confession. I’ve never downloaded a free or $.99 ebook. I always assume this is indicative of quality, and with a few exceptions, I’m probably not wrong.”

    I don’t completely disagree. I’ve seen more than my share of 99c duds. As for the absolute value of 99c, which remains a hot topic for many, I ask you to look at H.M. Ward.

    E-Rom indie with a nice backlists doing varying levels of sales. not unlike hundreds of others. One of her titles began to creep up the sales lists. She played with price as a promo, went to .99c and shot to #1. Huge visibility and sales of the one title.

    “Oh, but it only sold at .99C, you don’t make any real money”, Some might say. And she probably didn’t. Not off that title. But sales on her backlist, prices from 2.99 to 4.99 and even higher for print, soared from all the new eyeballs.

    From Jan to Jun she sold 900k titles. Pick a median price point from all her prices and do the royalty math. I bet she made well over a million pre-tax. If you haven’t seen a mainstream news story on her-wait. You will.

    “Oh, but she’s just one lucky case.” Yup. And we’re seeing more and more of these stories all the time.

    IMO, uber-lower price points, just like free promos, are a tool for building visibility and gaining readers, nothing more.

    All the best.

    • Free and reduced is a marketing tool that works on me as a reader.

      I just did a quick glance through my reading from the last three years and it looks like that free-$2.99 range is the way I found 80% of the authors that were new to me.

      Every single book that I rated 4 or better has resulted in me buying and reading the author’s backlist for prices ranging from free to $9.99.

      I’ve heard other people say they don’t want to wade through the bad stuff. I really only check genre, cover and for grammar errors in the description. So far, that has worked for me. Maybe I’ve been luckier than most but I absolutely do not believe at this time that pricing is indicative of quality.

      I think using the free/reduced pricing as a way to gain readers is a win/win for both the reader and the author. If it’s good work, I’m happy with my time invested and then I buy/read the backlist, write a review and recommend to friends and family.

  11. I believe you should promote your books in the best way that works for you so I’m not averse to using pricing for promotion. I’ve just never bought a book based on price. I’ve always been an avid reader. Those 891 books were bought in a year and I read over 90% of them in that year. I absolutely believe there are good books priced low, I just don’t seek them out. I may do some free giveaways on my first book when the second comes out as a loss-leader, but I don’t think I’d use $.99 pricing. I don’t want readers to expect good books at $.99. I don’t see that as a win for writers, and if it’s a book worth publishing, it’s worth more than that. Just my take on this.

    • Like Dre said. At least there’s two of us for sure. lol

      I’ve watched over a lifetime what large corps do to their suppliers. Including dumping lifelong suppliers for those cheaper, less regulated, offshore. Including saying, dont like it, go elsewhere… but by then there was no ‘elsewhere’ to go.

      It’ll be interesting. The generic suppliers across time have always gotten the shaft. Unions were stopgap measures. There have always been the elite amongst the suppliers who suffer not at all in fact are often treated as the judas sheep leading the other suppliers to be slaughtered.

      It’s way too early to tell outcomes. But history does delineate the shell games played for dominance. We’ll see.

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