Waterstone's drops 3-for-2 book deal

Waterstone's store The chain is expected to introduce a new simplified pricing structure

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Waterstone's has announced it will end its 3-for-2 deals on books in September after more than 10 years.

The promotion is expected to be withdrawn this month and replaced by a new pricing structure which will see books sold for £3, £5 and £7.

The bookstore chain was bought by Russian businessman Alexander Mamut earlier this year.

Managing director James Daunt has vowed to shake up the chain amid flagging sales and customer dissatisfaction.

Many publishers have welcomed the move to abandon the 3-for-2 promotion which has dominated the shops' sales in recent years.

Ursula Mackenzie, chair of the Trade Publishers' Council at the Publishers Association, told industry magazine The Bookseller that it was "a good thing".

"I'm not sure that the 3-for-2 is what people are looking for. They want one book, at the cheapest possible price."

Author Charles Cumming, whose latest thriller, The Trinity Six, is scheduled to appear in the final 3-for-2 deal in Waterstones later this month, believes more obscure authors "may suffer".

Charles Cumming Thriller writer Cumming has seen his books featured in a 3-for-2 deals

"There was a feeling among writers that if your paperback didn't get into the 3-for-2 deal, you were finished," he told BBC News.

He argues that being on the table next to a best-selling author such as Lee Child or JK Rowling allowed lesser-known writers to be exposed to a broader audience and new readers.

"My worry is that without the presence of a 3-for-2 deal, established authors will still be sold at an attractive price, but that emerging writers will no longer have a platform."

Waterstone's, which has faced increased competition from online stores such as Amazon, and the rapid growth of e-books, will be hoping for strong sales over the Christmas period.

In an internal email sent in July, Mr Daunt said he would be working closely with shops "to ensure that as we enter the crucial final quarter of the year, we do so with our shops stocked to the best possible effect".


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  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    If this means cheaper books then great but usually I get the 3 for 2 offer for a bit of variety like others using the 'free' book as a wild card. I buy my books at Waterstones because of the generally good customer service that I receive by people genuinely interested in books.

  • rate this

    Comment number 24.

    It`s horses for courses. The avid reader will miss the 3-for-2 offer but the occasional reader will welcome this change.

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    Several times i have considered buying a book but decided against it because I would have to pay over the odds if I didn't buy another two. I will now be more likely to buy there.

    I only hope the supermarkets will follow suit, instead of insisting that I buy in bulk when I am not in a position to do so.

  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    As somebody who works in public libraries I've mixed feelings over this. Books are not tins of baked beans & everyone is different.

    Perhaps it might be a good idea to introduce a loyality scheme which would allow you to 'purchase' books that you might not otherwise consider, for example by up and coming authors.

    The need for books to be accessible is paramount & price is a critical factor.

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    You can find many better offers and a wider variety on Amazon therefore scratching around one of Waterstones shops for the third book is time not so well spent and very 20th Century!


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