Friday, February 01, 2008

Pricing and availability

I was wondering what to put on sale for February, so I started looking over what might be of interest to our customers. One of the things I do is visit some of our competitors to see what they have as a price—after all, it would be embarrassing to put something on sale and have the sale price be higher than their regular price :(

So, I was thinking about running a sale on the new BHQ fascicles (Biblia Hebraica Quinta, a replacement for the standard Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia). The newest volume is Deuteronomy, on which that nasty river in Brazil is beating us by about a dollar. But, it is interesting that when you look at the older volumes, General Introduction and Megilloth and Ezra-Nehemiah, they have them at list price.

So, what's going on here? Simple, run the newer stuff at a bit cheaper than your competition, lose a bit of money, but convince people that you are the cheapest. Then, jack up the price on the older and less in demand titles to make up the difference. That is business 101. Wal-mart has used it for years, as have the grocery chains; we call them "loss leaders."

So, out of curiosity, I looked up a few other titles:
Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon Old Testament: Study Edition, 2 Volume Set, the standard Hebrew Lexicon:
Eisenbrauns: $151.20
Amazon: $154.98
But, check this out: CBD doesn't even carry it! They carry The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon with an appendix containing the Biblical Aramaic (cheaper, but that is because Hendrickson and CBD are the same company...), A Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament (more expensive), and Reader's Hebrew-English Lexicon of the Old Testament (a bit cheaper), but they don't carry the standard Hebrew lexicon.

Tuebinger Bibelatlas / Tuebingen Bible Atlas
Eisenbrauns: $120.00
Amazon: $150.00
CBD: nothing. Just in case they might have had the ISBN wrong, I did a search on "tubinger" and got a whole bunch of jewelry! Hmmm...

The Context of Scripture:
Eisenbrauns: $169.15
Amazon: $172.00
CBD: Nothing! Am I noticing a pattern here?

Don't get me wrong, I have spent thousands of dollars over the years at CBD (I started buying from them in 1979), and they are a customer of Eisenbrauns, but I have noticed a trend away from academic/scholarly stuff over the last several years. I suspect they took a look at the demographics of their customers and decided to concentrate their energy where they make the most; makes sense to me—that's why Eisenbrauns doesn't sell non-academic titles :)

So, where is this whole thing going? I feel sort of like Garrison Keillor with a stream of consciousness kind of thing going on.

I don't know what I'm trying to say! I guess that is why it is an idle musing :)

By the way, I still don't know what to put on sale for February! Any ideas? I need to have it up by Monday's BookNews.


Anonymous said...

That's very odd. I bought my copy of HALOT from CBD at a warehouse sale a few years back. I know that they used to carry it.

jps said...

I know. I checked it for a price comparison last year sometime (I think), and it was there. But now I can't find a trace of it anywhere. It just confirms that they are changing directions.


Christopher Heard said...

Here's an idea for February: a 90% discount for anyone named "Chris." That's your loss leader. Then you charge 190% to anyone named "Jim."

Peter Gurry said...

Anything in the Editio Critica Maior series for the Greek NT.

jps said...


That is tempting :) How about I just send a bill to Jim West for anything you want to buy? Would that work better for you?


I don't have enough of them in stock right now, but I will keep it in mind for a future month.


Jim said...

Jesus I know, and Paul, but this 'Chris' person... I'm not sure I have ever heard that name. There's the similar sounding and one letter off 'Christ' Brady - but I think they've confused him with a quarterback. And then there's the similarly named "Christ" Tilling (wherein the first t is sometimes dropped off because of the second- but that accidentally). But I don't know any "Chris".

Anonymous said...

Check out what CBD is now carrying:
Tubinger Bible Atlas.
Also available at Hendrickson:
Blessings to all!

jps said...

I don't censor comments, although in this case, maybe I should :)

Since I work for Eisenbrauns, I don't especially like advertisements for CBD!