Walmart Jumps Into the Amazon v. Hachette Fight

Monday, June 02, 2014 - 07:51 AM

Last week, we talked about how Amazon was delaying orders of Hachette books as a negotiation tactic in a pricing argument with the publisher. Walmart has now announced that they'll offer customers 40% off on all Hachette books and quick shipping. 

Great! But also, how weird is it that we live in a world where Walmart can, at least for the moment, play the role of the scrappy underdog who jumps in when the big monopoly oversteps its power? 

I've been looking around for good numbers on what market share is like for ebooks, and they're surprisingly hard to come by. People seem to think that Amazon has around 60% - 65% of the market, followed by either Apple or Barnes and Noble, who both seem to hover around 10% each. I'm using hedgey language here because even experts seem to just be making (educated) guesses on all this. 

No one mentions Walmart as any sort of contender. The most accidentally funny thing I read was this line in a Bloomberg piece: "[Walmart]...said yesterday that physical book sales on Walmart.com have climbed 70 percent. The company didn’t give a time frame for the gain." Come on, guys. 

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TLDR is a short podcast and blog about the internet by PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman. You can subscribe to our podcast here. You can follow our blog here. We’re also on Twitter, and we play Team Fortress 2 more or less constantly, so find us there if you like to communicate via computer games from six years ago.

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