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Thread: Freeeeeeee trade comes to book stores

  1. #1
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Freeeeeeee trade comes to book stores

    Welcome to the poorhouse, all ye scribes. And say good-bye to the corner bookstore, too:

    Taking a page from its original playbook, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. launched a full-fledged price war with Amazon.com Inc. and a nation of book retailers, lowering online prices on certain highly anticipated hardback titles to $9.

    The volley of discounts, which began Thursday when the retailer listed prices for some upcoming hardcover releases such as Dean Koontz' "Breathless" and Stephen King's "Under the Dome" at $10, was answered with a similar price cut by Amazon, the largest online bookseller. Then the two competitors lowered the prices even further to $9.

    The book discounts, the latest in a series of aggressive online maneuvers by the world's largest retailer, could position the company to do to the online marketplace what Walmart stores did to local merchants decades ago.

    "While it's the largest retailer in the United States, it's not the dominant online retailer in the United States," said Albert Greco, professor of marketing at New York City's Fordham University. "And this appears to be an attempt to increase its position in the online space."

    The price war also is foreboding news to the large chain bookstores Borders Group Inc. and Barnes & Noble Inc., which have been squeezed by Amazon.com's discounting and a decline in their music business.

    In the past seven weeks, Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart has racheted up the competition in several retail arenas, beginning with an Amazon.com-like announcement in late August that it would allow outside retailers to sell nearly 1 million items from baby products to sports memorabilia through its Walmart.com site.

    Next came news that the low-price specialist would fill 90-day supplies of some 300 generic prescriptions by mail for as little as $10 and was launching its own cell phone plan.

    And just this week, the company said it would begin selling health and beauty products online.

    But it was the announcement about books the base from which Seattle-based Amazon.com built itself into a powerhouse that created the biggest stir.

    The discounts, which also include Sarah Palin's "Going Rogue" and John Grisham's "Ford County," are a cut of 60 percent or more from cover prices, which means the two competitors are likely selling the titles at a loss.
    Hardcover releases, which typically have a suggested retail price of at least $25, are generally sold to merchants with a wholesale price that's a 47 percent discount.


    That means Grisham's book, priced at $24, costs most retailers about $12.72. It's not clear whether Wal-Mart, which some experts say sells as many as 1,400 titles in stores, might have negotiated a better price than that.

    The company said the $9 prices won't be available in stores.

    Walmart.com spokeswoman Amy Lester said its latest efforts to beef up its online discounts are part of the company's overall strategy to sell products at the lowest prices.

    Wal-Mart has built its strategy on using its size and massive buying power to undercut competitors. But it sells enough products in enough categories to make up any losses on individual items it uses to bring people into its stores.

    Wal-Mart is also cutting prices in half for 200 current best-sellers, including Dan Brown's "The Lost Symbol" and Kathryn Stockett's "The Help" in the new program called "America's Reading List."

    Experts said selling certain books for such a low price could entice customers to browse other more profitable titles, or even other merchandise, from the company's Web site.

    "Let's say you lose money on one item, you're making money on other items," said BMO Capital Markets analyst Wayne Hood.

    There's no telling how long this week's price cuts will last, but experts said the two which are increasingly competitors with each other in selling everything from batteries and books to dog food and diapers could continue to duel.

    The price cuts come at a time when Amazon.com and other sellers have been charging just $9.99 for e-books, a price that publishers worry is unrealistically low. The reductions also make it increasingly hard for independent sellers, which can't afford such large discounts, to compete for the most popular books.

    So long the biggest threat to independent booksellers, Borders and Barnes & Noble saw their stock prices drop Friday, down as much as 4.7 percent and 6.8 percent, respectively, before recovering somewhat.

    "They can't bring (prices) that low," said Michael Norris, a senior analyst with Simba Information. "As a whole, it's very hard for traditional bookstores, large or small, to compete with this kind of nonsense."

    Amazon shares dipped 76 cents to $95.25 in afternoon trading Friday, while Wal-Mart shares rose 38 cents to $51.33.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    Welcome to the poorhouse, all ye scribes. And say good-bye to the corner bookstore, too:
    Who really suffers in all of this?
    Is it the people who may have been overcharging, the authors, the small store keepers or the shareholders of Amazon and Borders etc.
    Maybe all of the above.
    Is this situation not what capitalism and competition is all about?
    Trevor

  3. #3
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tcolby View Post
    Who really suffers in all of this?
    Is it the people who may have been overcharging, the authors, the small store keepers or the shareholders of Amazon and Borders etc.
    Maybe all of the above.
    Is this situation not what capitalism and competition is all about?

    This rush to the bottom is vulture capitalism; that is, the leveraging of labor/production/manufacturing costs to rock bottom via the exploitation of vast armies of peons in Second and Third World countries in order to increase the profit margins for those who pull the strings (the "investor class"). It is a prescription for the economic enslavement of everyone except those elites who comprise the "investor class."

    The evil genius of it is that this class - which has enriched itself beyond imagining - has managed to convince many middle and upper middle class people that the screwing they're getting is good for them, too.

    Do you want to "compete" for your job with Mexican peasants and industrial armies of worker drones in China and Indonesia and India earning 40 percent of what the same work would pay here?

    How does this benefit American workers? How does it improve our standard of living? How does it enhance our economic security?

    Or is it our duty to work for the least amount of money the most penurious peasant in some foreign country is willing to accept, so that some greedhead CEO and a few shysters at the top can earn $10 million more this year, on top of the $10 million they already took home?

    "Free trade" is a con.

    If it's not exposed and rejected - violently, if need be - we will all be ruined.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post

    "Free trade" is a con.

    If it's not exposed and rejected - violently, if need be - we will all be ruined.
    Has not free trade always been in existence.
    It is only now that the boot is on the other foot for the USA.
    As just one example, the UK used to sell its mass produced cotton and woollen garments to the rest of the world until people in the far east learned how to use the same sort of machinery.
    Are you suggesting that the USA becomes isolationist?
    Trevor

  5. #5
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tcolby View Post
    Has not free trade always been in existence.
    It is only now that the boot is on the other foot for the USA.
    As just one example, the UK used to sell its mass produced cotton and woollen garments to the rest of the world until people in the far east learned how to use the same sort of machinery.
    Are you suggesting that the USA becomes isolationist?
    It is very important to distinguish between small scale free exchange between individuals in a given society and even free exchange between two countries that have roughly similar systems, especially as regards political rights - and international labor arbitrage by multinational corporation exploiting cheap labor to maximize profits while economically ruining their host nation.

    The former is a good thing; it is an essential component of human liberty to be able to freely buy and sell. The latter, however, is the enemy of human liberty dressed in the sheep's clothing of the former.

    Individuals have real, innate rights; corporations none. The idea of corporate "personhood" (and legal rights that pertain to individuals) is noxious and even evil. Corporations must be forced to operate in the best interests not of their shyster CEOs but in the best interests of the nation in which they operate.

    Merchants, as Jefferson observed, have no country.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post

    Merchants, as Jefferson observed, have no country.
    That is true; but we are all merchants, selling whatever skills we have. Often to the highest bidder.
    What we now are experiencing is the true nature of mankind.
    The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.
    Trevor

  7. #7
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tcolby View Post
    That is true; but we are all merchants, selling whatever skills we have. Often to the highest bidder.
    What we now are experiencing is the true nature of mankind.
    The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.
    The key thing here is to separate in one's mind human individuals from corporations.

    Individuals have rights and responsibilities. Corporations have only responsibilities and no rights that pertain to individuals, such as the right to free speech.

    We have, however, permitted the legal fiction that corporations are "persons" under the law and entitled to the same legal rights and protections that apply to you and I, which is both ridiculous and dangerous.

    Corporate power is the root of virtually all the evils that best mankind.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric View Post
    The key thing here is to separate in one's mind human individuals from corporations.

    Individuals have rights and responsibilities. Corporations have only responsibilities and no rights that pertain to individuals, such as the right to free speech.

    We have, however, permitted the legal fiction that corporations are "persons" under the law and entitled to the same legal rights and protections that apply to you and I, which is both ridiculous and dangerous.

    Corporate power is the root of virtually all the evils that best mankind.
    Was that not a Supreme Court decision to give rights to corporations?
    What we are experiencing in free trade is something that has always happened in world trade.
    First the shipbuilding went from the US and Europe to Japan, then to South Korea and China.
    I'm not sure that much can be done about the situation of cheaper cost countries producing more goods than higher cost countries.

    World shipbuilding production by countries (2008)
    Rank Country 10,000 GT %
    1 South Korea 1,240 50.6%
    2 China 840 34.4%
    3 Europe 140 5.7%
    4 Japan 90 3.7%
    5 Rest of world 140 5.6%

    Global output total
    2,450 100.0%
    Trevor

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    Quote Originally Posted by tcolby View Post
    Was that not a Supreme Court decision to give rights to corporations?
    What we are experiencing in free trade is something that has always happened in world trade.
    First the shipbuilding went from the US and Europe to Japan, then to South Korea and China.
    I'm not sure that much can be done about the situation of cheaper cost countries producing more goods than higher cost countries.

    World shipbuilding production by countries (2008)
    Rank Country 10,000 GT %
    1 South Korea 1,240 50.6%
    2 China 840 34.4%
    3 Europe 140 5.7%
    4 Japan 90 3.7%
    5 Rest of world 140 5.6%

    Global output total
    2,450 100.0%
    I know what we could do -

    1. Ban all imports from anyone paying their workers less than $5.00 per hour.

    2. Impose wage equalization tariffs on everyone else.

    3. Tell all of those idiots out there who want their cheap goods to go stuff it.



    It's that simple.

  10. #10
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by swamprat View Post
    I know what we could do -

    1. Ban all imports from anyone paying their workers less than $5.00 per hour.

    2. Impose wage equalization tariffs on everyone else.

    3. Tell all of those idiots out there who want their cheap goods to go stuff it.



    It's that simple.

    It is exactly that simple.

    We only "trade" with countries that have economies that pay their workers comparable wages. Overnight, labor arbitrage and exploitative practices such as are the norm today vanish. Overnight, economies like China's are forced to either bow out of the world economy, trade only among themselves - or raise the bar for their own workers.

    Who could object to such a fair and human way of doing business? Only the corporate shitheads who run the system today, of course.

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