Hot Topic – The end for Waterstone’s 3 for 2 book offer

After a decade, high-street chain Waterstones decision to abandon their influential ’3 for 2′ sales promotion has provoked hot debate from readers, writers and publishers alike.

The decision follows the sale of the chain to Russian billionaire Alexander Mamut and the appointment of independent bookseller James Daunt.

For more than a decade, the promotion has been a key plank in the company’s marketing strategy. Now Britain’s biggest bookseller, with 296-stores in total, the business are now said to be looking at introducing money-off deals for individual books from this month rather than the blanket offer of three-for-two, such as featuring all campaign books at £5 or a staggered offer on paperbacks at £3, £5 and £7.

But what do you think of their decision to withdraw this highly recognisable offer? Do you think the move will allow Waterstones to price and promote their books more creatively? Will an individual purchase offer allow for more impromtu buying? Did you find the offer encouraged you to gamble on a book or an author you may not otherwise have considered or were you left wandering trying to find that third book to complete the deal?

We’d love to hear your thoughts…

4 comments to Hot Topic – The end for Waterstone’s 3 for 2 book offer

  • Lucy Brown

    Interesting to note, Waterstones has brought its 3 for 2 offer back for one week only (starting yesterday) just on children’s books though http://www.thebookseller.com/news/waterstones-holds-half-term-childrens-3-2.html

  • Jemima

    Developments on the future of promotion in Waterstones glimpsed today. Waterstone’s is calling for a higher discount flat rate on books in exchange for scrapping its promotion fees. This would enable Waterstone’s to have more autonomy over the products it showcases, giving them the power to decide what to promote, where and when…giving room to more exciting and diverse in-store promotions I hope! http://www.thebookseller.com/news/waterstones-moves-end-promo-fees.html

  • Bob

    I think the 3 for 2 has had its day, its always been hard finding three books that fit the bill at the same time.

    But more than this, the selection of books has become less and less diverse and inspiring over time. Front of store is ready for a shake up which will let more interesting voices find shelf (or table) space.

  • I’ve always found the concept of giving away a book for ‘free’ as worrying – we need to encourage people to value a book more, appreciate the work & blood & sweat & many tears an author puts in. We seem to have a throw away approach to books.
    Also, chatting to (some) Waterstones staff, a number of customers go to the till with just 2 books saying they ‘can’t find’ another book in the 3 for 2 offer they fancy…