Online Bookstores Putting Pressure on Publishing Houses
Beijing Jingdong Century Trading Co. offered buyers 60 percent off on its website 360buy.com if they purchase more than 100 yuan on their site. This triggered their closest rival, China DangDang Inc. to offers its customers a 200 yuan coupon after they spend 200 yuan on books which, as dangdang.com offers more choices, makes the discount more attractive to most consumers.
Buyers complained that they could not log on to either website and when they were able to log on, most of the books they wanted were already sold out. Jingdong was received orders worth 200 million during the promotion period with half of the transactions already completed and the remainder to take at least three more days to process.
Online retailers are rejoicing because of their online sales, while publishing houses are struggling to keep their sales up. Some publishing companies held conferences to discuss plans on boycotting online booksellers since their actions are disturbing the market.
Most of the bookstores are buying the books from publishing houses already at up to a 40 percent discount. Some bookstores have been able to get their books from online sellers for a 60 percent discount, prompting them to return their purchases to the publishing houses for a refund. Dealers are even threatening the publishing houses to lower their prices or they will buy their books online.
Publishing houses say that their profit margin is already low and lowering it more would result in staggering loses, and as a result say that they are planning to sue the online sellers for selling books at such irresponsible discounts.