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Pottermania and the booksellers' battle for market share

10 March 2003

'So the most eagerly anticipated new book in book trade history, where the entire trade could make record profits, could also turn out to be the most expensive for the book trade to sell. The value lost to the book trade by discounting could easily run into several million pounds, equal to the value of the entire annual turnover of three or four branches of the chains... It is one thing in retail to treat as a few product lines as loss leaders. It is something else to treat as a loss leader the fastest-selling product line in living memory... Booksellers are not using discounting as a retail strategy to sell more books but, as ever, as a way of claiming more market share from the independent market.'

David Blow, commenting on plans to discount the new Harry Potter, in Publishing News