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Three Warring Retailers Ration Books To Block Indies

Wal-Mart, Amazon and Target are limiting the number of heavily discounted books that customers can buy online in order to stop other booksellers from purchasing and reselling them, Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg and Miguel Bustillo report. Wal-Mart's limit is two copies; Amazon's is three; Target's is five.

The price war involves the top 10 hottest book pre-orders, including yet-to-be-released titles from Stephen King, John Grisham, Dean Koontz and James Patterson that are priced at about $9, a substantial discount off their list prices

The head buyer at the Boulder Book Store, in Boulder, Colo., says he had intended to buy as many as 70 copies of Barbara Kingsolver's "The Lacuna" from the three online retailers, saving $5 per copy on what the publisher, Harper, charges at wholesale and registers surprise at their action. "We're a big store, and if a customer wanted to order 100 copies of anything, we'd sell it to them," he says.



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