Tesco.com is offering the book for £12.45 excluding postage; it was number one in the supermarket's pre-order chart on Wednesday. The book is at number three on Amazon.co.uk's chart, where it is on sale for £12.49. Play.com is selling the book for £14.99 including free delivery. Play does not include pre-orders on its books chart, but books category manager Georgina Stoaling said it is already selling very well. "For such a high-profile title, it's not surprising that such competitive pricing has kicked off so early," she said.
Independent booksellers hit out at the discounting, saying it is devaluing the worth of hardbacks. Stephen Poulter, co-owner of Books@Hoddesdon in Hertfordshire, said the levels of discounting were "ludicrous". "It's incredibly dangerous that this is going on," he said. "People buy hardback books because of their worth. They are perceived as a gift. This is not going to continue for much longer if this keeps happening." Anna Dreda, owner of Wenlock Books in Much Wenlock, added: "It feels like money is being thrown away, from the industry's point of view."
Amazon said its half-price offer on Jamie Oliver fits with its strategy of "offering the best price possible on all titles". A spokesman predicted that its strong sales of the title would continue throughout the Christmas period: "There is a good chance that it will replicate the success of Cook with Jamie, which was one of our bestsellers for Christmas 2006."