Saturday, November 13, 2004

amazon vs. walmart

so in my previous post, i referenced a book by name. shortly after posting, i realized it'd be helpful to link to some place where people could get more information on it. i suppose if i were linking to a movie, i would've linked to imdb or rottentomatoes .. is there a similar, unbiased site for books?

i pondered linking to the book's amazon.com page.. they certainly provide a wealth of information. but is it really unbiased? i also pondered linking to google's new book search. unfortunately, the book hadn't been added yet.

in the end, i decided on froogle (it concerns me linking to a search query, but alas, that's a topic for another entry), bringing me to the point of this post. amazon sells the book online for $18.15. in fact, if you didn't know any better, you might think you were getting a great deal. their low low price is listed in red text under the black, crossed-out list price of $27.50. you save $9.35 (34%)! (also listed in red text).

walmart sells the same book for $16.70. you save $10.80 (39%) -- they use red & crossed-out black text too.

so what.. big deal right? everyone knows that amazon sells their books at a premium of a few dollars.. branding, etc. why trust some no-name fly-by-night company when you can pay $1-2 more and get it from a name you trust? but walmart's not some no-name company.. and while their traditional customer demographic might not fit that of amazon.com, that might not be the case online. a few weeks ago, the price difference on a book was so great, that i decided to order it from walmart. i didn't have to drive out to the ho-dunk store in ypsilante, michigan.. the buy process was the exact same as with amazon.. as reliable, and cheaper. in fact, i used amazon.com to read up on the book, then purchased from walmart (sort of how i use orbitz to get flight info, then purchase directly from the airline -- who wants to pay a premium to orbitz?)

anyhow.. this practice really has the potential to kill (or at least severely change) online retail businesses. what if publishers decide to get into the business of selling directly to consumers now that there's an aggregator (froogle).. like the airlines did? then even walmart would be in trouble.

here are some very interesting and relevant links:

New Google Service May Strain Old Ties in Bookselling

South Korean Downloaders Push Music Stores to Brink

i had a job interview last week with amazon.com, and another round coming up next week. maybe i'll ask them what they think and blog the answers.

by the way.. another great read: 21 Dog Years: Doing Time @ Amazon.com (let them have this purchase.. they deserve it.)

3 comments:

yush said...

I say when it comes to things such as this -- fight it out! May the cheapest man win.. and for that we have services such as www.addall.com
For those of you who are familiar with addall, do you know of other good addall-type websites?

adamjh said...

Ayush,

That site rocks! Thanks!

Acorrding to their FAQ, they run a similar site for music and a site for movies (you probably already knew this):

http://www.amusicarea.com/
http://www.amoviearea.com/

Now if only there were an equivalent of imdb for books and music (there probably is.. and we just haven't found it yet).

Vadergrrrl said...

There is definately a lot of knowledge here.

Talk about consumption junction.

xxooooo