Borders.com Cuts Prices Sitewide, Bringing Them In Line With Amazon

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Borders, which is operating in bankruptcy and may wind up selling most or all of its stores, has slashed book prices across its site. All bestsellers on the site are discounted up to 47 percent, while almost all hardcovers are 30 percent off, and almost all paperbacks are marked down 20 percent. (As usual, Rewards Plus members get an additional 10 percent off those prices.) The new pricing isn’t part of some temporary promotion — the company said these are the new prices for Borders.com books.

Borders didn’t publicly announce the new pricing in any sort of official press release, but a Borders spokeswoman told us that it’s been in place for about three weeks. We received a Borders Rewards Plus e-mail about it with the subject line “NEW Everyday Low Prices at Borders.com: Up to 49% Off.” Borders did not offer comment on why the new pricing was enacted, but told us “customers have responded well.”

We compared the average price of the top 10 New York Times (NYSE: NYT) hardcover fiction and nonfiction and trade paperback fiction and nonfiction bestsellers at Borders.com, BN.com (NYSE: BKS), and Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN). See results below.

In general, Borders.com and Amazon.com prices are within a few cents of each other, while BN.com prices are higher–a couple dollars higher in the case of hardcover fiction. When the 10 percent discount for Borders Rewards Plus members is factored in, Borders.com books are cheaper than Amazon’s.

It might seem like an odd time for Borders.com to roll out a new pricing initiative, but “even if a company is operating in bankruptcy, to some degree they have to act as though they are going to be around forever,” said Michael Norris, senior analyst of market research firm Simba Information’s Trade Books Group. “Part of that is making prices competitive.”

He doesn’t expect Barnes & Noble to follow suit: “I don’t think Barnes & Noble is particularly reactive to things like this. A lot of what they’re focused on now is growing the Nook part of the business.”

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