October 20, 2009, 12:00 AM

Target zeroes in on its own price cut for books pre-ordered online

Target.com isn’t going to sit on the sidelines in the online book price war ignited last week by Amazon.com and Walmart.com. Target yesterday announced that certain pre-ordered books will be sold online for $8.99 and qualify for free shipping.

Katie Evans

Managing Editor, International Research

Target Corp. isn’t going to sit still on the sidelines in the online book price war ignited last week by Amazon.com and Walmart.com.

Target, which operates Target.com, No. 20 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, announced Monday that certain pre-ordered books will be sold online for $8.99, essentially matching the prices of its two big online rivals, and qualify for free shipping. The books include such popular titles as:

  • Breathless by Dean Koontz
  • Ford County by John Grisham
  • I, Alex Cross by James Patterson
  • Ice by Linda Howard
  • Kindred in Death by J.D. Robb
  • Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton
  • Under the Dome by Stephen King
“Target.com is committed to providing outstanding value for our guests,” says Target.com president Steve Eastman. “By offering new releases by favorite authors at competitive prices, we’re able to make the shopping experience easier and more affordable for our guests.”

Target is the latest big chain retailer or web-only merchant trying to become the lowest priced online bookseller. In a bid to be the web’s low-price leader for all types of products, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. on Friday started offering some pre-ordered popular titles for $9 each on Walmart.com. The list includes highly anticipated books by authors such as Stephen King that normally list for about $25 or more. Amazon.com Inc. countered with a similar deal, leading Walmart.com to lower its price on each title by a penny or two.

Walmart.com (No. 13) is also promoting discounts of 50% or more off the list prices of the top 200 books already in print. Amazon.com (No. 1) is promoting discounts of up to 45% off the list prices of the top 100 books already in print.

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