Overstock and Amazon Go to War: Both Drastically Slash Hardcover Prices

Posted on July 30, 2013

It all began last week when Overstock.com's CEO Patrick Byrne declared a price war with Amazon.com. Byrne said in a statement, "We're having a great year and want to thank our loyal customers for making it happen. For a limited time, we've priced our books at least 10-percent below Amazon.com's prices, as of July 22, 2013. This move immediately affects hundreds of thousands of titles. As usual, if the final order is over $50, the whole thing will ship for free. Otherwise shipping is just $2.95 per order."

Byrne then upped the ante by adding, "If you're going to buy a book this week, you're crazy not to shop Overstock.com first. And if you weren't going to buy a book this week, you should re-consider." Amazon.com didn't respond, but started cutting hardcover book prices like crazy. Then Overstock decided to drop prices 10% below whatever Amazon.com is charging on hardcovers.

So how deep are these discounts? Well, at the moment Dan Brown's Inferno is going for $10.48 on Amazon.com, which is 65% off, and is $9.43 on Overstock.com, which is 69% off. Those are shockingly low prices for a brand new, bestselling hardcover. It's a Cold War to be sure, because Amazon.com has yet to admit it's doing battle with Overstock. But it is war, that's for sure and no one knows how long it will last.

Meanwhile Byrne keeps lobbing grenades at Jeff Bezos, telling CNET, "We are already 9 percent cheaper than Amazon on other products. We have better customer service, and we're nicer people." Zing!