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The supermarkets' effect on books

22 November 2004

'We really must get wise to what the supermarkets are doing. They offer none of the added value that is fundamental to nurturing serious book-buying and through which sales of publishers' profitable backlists are enhanced.

The supermarkets simply take the easily available cream and, in so doing, undermine the strength of the traditional book trade. What is more, because they have no long-term interest in the book industry, they can negotiate with suppliers that much more aggressively. If they can't get the prices they want, they'll simply drop books and sell something else. If, in getting the prices they want, they undermine the established infrastructure of our industry, then so be it. Why should they care?'

Richard Barker in the Bookseller