Kampungkayell

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MPH a peevish child?

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy

Where this book controversy thing is concerned, its a storm in a teacup.

I personally feel MPH and the ones who boycotted Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows just because some hypermarkets sold it at a lower price over-reacted. To keep things in perspective, hypermarkets and the like will NEVER replace normal bookstores.

In more developed countries like in Australia, the US, and UK, there are places like COSTCO (like MAKRO) which sell books. They are cheaper than normal bookstores but not by much when compared to a Borders or the like. Then there are specialty bookshops which sell lower volume books but at greater prices. These are shops which may sell first editions only or rare collectors books or even those of local authors. Much like Silverfish.

If you keep the market free (in other words, allowing Tescos/Carrefour their right of selling the book at whatever price they deem fit) you will eventually have a market that develops like that.

In any case, if you want to go get a specific book what do you think of first? Tescos/Hypermarkets or the bookstores? Bookstores right? Someone coined the term "mindshare." And that's exactly what it is. Bookstore occupy our minds as places to get books...FIRST. And if the bookstores do their job properly, we'll always have competitively priced books.

The other thing is, why do you think the hypermarkets priced Harry Potter the way it did? The publisher said it was below the price they sold it for. The reason for it is something very basic in marketing. "Loss leader." Something Hypermarkets do very very well. They'll "lose" money on a very popular item so that you'll be drawn into the place and then hopefully you'll buy other stuff from them? On aggregate they make more money than ever.

Can you imagine them selling something like Salman Rushdie's books at a firesale price? Not bloody likely! You'll have people either boycotting the store or scratching their heads as to who he is. Their titles are very very limited.


If we don't speak up to the "peevish" behaviour of MPHs we are going to be stuck with the bookstores we deserve. And as some of you rightly pointed out, you don't go into a Tescos/Carrefour and sit there the whole day browsing. You do that at Borders/Kinos/MPH (some of them at any rate). It's just a different experience. And that's what some of our book companies need to sit up and realise. There are some people who will always be willing to pay more.

Competition should focus you. It creates volume. It shouldn't be something you react to in fear or in self righteousness. Competition is a fact. Someone will try to sell what you're selling now cheaper and better. Live with it. All it means is good news for the consumer AND good news for those who are perhaps a little more creative with how they brand their product.

18 Comments

yar, as consumers we certainly benefited from the price wars. should have more of that kinda thing hor....most stuff here is overpriced anyway. USD drop oso price of books never drop. But USD go up a bit, phwaaahhhh, prices of books rise faster than a man on heat.

The best post we've read regarding the Bookseller's Boycott issue so far.

We do wonder, though, after they've finally settled on giving a 25% discount, did they recompensate those who preordered?

FBB ;-) Man on heat. Sheep watch out!

Janvier; thanks :-) Probably no compensation one lah. But Malaysian consumers should also learn how to ask nicely. If they did, we'd probably get a lot more of what we want. ;-)

haha i dunno what was the hoo hah..i still got a copy from a friend..for 69.90..but i have yet to make it to the 2nd chapter..

Joe; Been burning the midnight oil. Am halfway through. Got it from Czip Lee for RM69.90 ;-)

This comment has been removed by the author.

Silly Stores....MPH (Must Pay Higher)! Well said!

Hear Hear!

wmw: Nice Acronym :)

Or from their side of the story MPH (Must Price Higher)....Eh, no other pics from Redang?

Sigh, think it's common practice everywhere? Well, over here anyway.. and you don't see any of the 'real' bookstores making a big deal out of it. Over here, Tesco had the 'best' deal, esp if you're a regular shopper there already anyway. If you spend £50, you can get the book for a fiver (which I did lol).

Well, your theory is working in USA or Australia but we are in Malaysia and our mentality is different. All we know is CHEAP. Example you choose to buy your book for the 25% discounted price instead of going to MPH right? And if you can try to change our mentality good luck..

I'll buy you dinner..

wmw; must price higher! haha ;-) Ya lor.

sneexe; it is funny!

alice; a free market economy demands some homogeneity! ;-) hehehe

anonymous; was the anonymous comment a way of getting out of buying me dinner? ;-) From our point of view in the cake biz, there is a shift in attitudes and there are people who would pay more for quality. However, I took the Czip Lee option not just because it was cheap. It was also convenient. If I lived in KL round the corner from Kinokuniya, I would probably have stumped up the extra RM20 to RM30. As far as I'm concerned, my time is worth more than that differential.

You can guess our majority of our population and in your cake business you are catering to the upper/middle class. A round K.L. there are so many shops catering to the lower class because of quantity of people. They don't care about taste. Its cheap and they like it.

They don't know better i guess..

Anonymous comment is the best for the author.

Well anonymous, read the next post. ;-) Am afraid I don't agree with you. :-) But that's ok. And you're right, there are "cheap" places in town. But I still believe there are people in town who don't just go for cheap. If they did, Proton would be doing a great biz. And Honda & Toyota would not be selling anything.A whole host of factors go into any purchase decision. The fact is, products need to fit their target market. And to blanket the entire Malaysian population as "cheap" I think, is not thinking it through.

What is true is that I do like to go to my corner Mamak stall now and again. But sometimes, thanks to my Food Blogger friends, I also go to places like "Max" in Tengkat Tongshin to splurge with good value. There you go. :-)

Competition within businesses will be good for consumer. Period.
Waiting for competitor for Telekom!

hengster; hear hear...except that for utilities sometimes they're the exception that proves the rule...it's also a competitive mindset that keeps companies like Telekoms on their toes. Look at Singtel.

The fact that those four bookstores boycotted the book on the day it was released, yet later decided to sell it makes me feel that it's a case of sour grapes. If they want to make a stand, then don't sell the book at all. Don't sulk and then capitulate at the end (and spoil the day for so many Harry Potter fans!).

Anyway, like you, if I didn't pre-order my book, I would've still bought it from the bookstore nearest to my place, ie. Times, than to drive all the way to Tesco/Carrefour.

sooyin; ditto ditto and ditto

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