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Potter for a quid

Today, Guardian blogger Nicholas Clee muses on the implications of selling the Harry Potter series at bargain basement prices. This is in light of British supermarket chain Asda’s decision to sell Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows for a mere £1 last week. According to theBookseller.com, Asda’s sale was basically the equivalent of giving Bloomsbury the finger, as the chain has accused the press of holding ransom over the children’s book market by charging £8.99 for Potter books. After winning 79% market share of Potter books last week (and losing £150,000 in the process) Deathly Hallows now retails at Asda for £3.86.

From Clee’s blog:

Asda’s promotion is of the kind given to brands that are coming to the ends of their lives. As Deathly Hallows is officially the last HP novel, that is an alarming move. Julian Rivers, a former chief executive of wholesaler Bertrams, predicts that HP will be finished as a bookseller’s supported line at theBookseller.com. [¦] Rivers draws an analogy with Catherine Cookson, whose novels, following her death, were bound up and sold in cheap packages through mass market outlets. If that was an admission that Cookson’s novels could no longer command full prices through bookshops, it was a self-fulfilling one.

It begs the question: does reducing the price devalue the brand?