Indies back r.r.p.
29.05.09 Victoria Gallagher writing in The Bookseller
Independent bookshops have said they would not welcome the demise of r.r.p. and argued that the move would cost them time and negatively affect customer loyalty.
Overwhelmingly, indies spoken to by The Bookseller said that they would not price above r.r.p. given the opportunity. Indies spoke out following news that Waterstone's is selling a number of titles above r.r.p (The Bookseller, 15th May). The titles affected did not have an r.r.p printed on them.
John Hudson, owner of Fordingbridge Bookshop in Hampshire, said if printed prices were dumped this would create a lot of "extra work" as booksellers would have to individually price up books. He added: "If the prices came off books then people would think everything is overpriced. It would -create a lot of suspicion among customers."
Alex Milne-White, owner of the Hungerford Bookshop in Berkshire, said: "We don't lower prices, so we don't need to raise prices to make up for it. If customers knew we were pricing above r.r.p. they would be put out."
Vivian Archer, manager of Newham Bookshop in east London, said: "It is a very dodgy area. There is a bad enough feeling on pricing anyway and we don't need to exacerbate it."
Most indies said that they had been surprised about Waterstone's decision, branding it "greedy". However, some admitted that it could be a good move as it may reduce the emphasis on price. Foyles c.e.o. Sam Husain said: "If it is a more sustained move away from deep discounting then I see it as a positive signal."
Matthew Crockatt, of south London-based booksellers Crockatt and Powell, said: "In a way I would like it if we got rid of the [discount] stickers, but the price thing is a war we lost a long time ago. Waterstone's can do what they like—they can sell books for free, they can sell bananas—as long as our customers keep coming to us."
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