Guest Column: Book Pricing: Rein in the Aggression
A critical question for bookstores, then, is how to woo back readers for whom online shopping has become the primary option, and how they might ensure that the "in play" consumers walk out of the store as buyers, not browsers.
Book buyers were pretty clear that lower prices are not the answer. Allowed to select multiple motivations, only 13 percent of respondents selected "lower prices than online" as something that would lure them back into bookstores. Gift cards (37 percent) and better selection (36 percent) exerted a much stronger pull. Gifts cards are a form of restricted currency; you can spend the money only in one place. In theory, lower prices may tempt a book buyer to visit a store. Having a gift card forces them to. We infer that such selective promotions would prove much more effective than sweeping price cuts, than the kind of "price matching" Target and Best Buy have announced, and than an all-out price war.