Sunday, July 22, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Discounts

My, my what a book can do to the local book distribution scene.
Four local book stores have banded together to boycott the sales of JK Rowling's latest (and last?) Harry Potter instalment claiming that distributor Penguin Books indiscriminately allowed this season's arguably's hottest title to be sold by hypermarkets.
The recommended retail price was supposed to be RM109.90 but hypermarkets Tesco and Carrefour saw it as a unique opportunity to drive volume and discounted the price to just RM69.90, wiping a clean RM40 off the cover price.
So were the bookstores right in doing this? I'm not a Harry Potter fan so to me, this is a simple case of market efficiencies at work and the two hypermarkets doing what they do best - work on a cost-leadership strategy and bring products at an aggressive price to its consumers. I don't really like cartels, and thus am not really in favour of the bookstores' joint action - it stands against free market principles and just comes out looking like a lot of sour grapes.
Even the government has now come out in support of the hypermarkets. An unusual stand as hypermarkets are usually seen as the bad guys bullying small suffering local retailers. I suspect that because none of the protesting bookstores are owned by UMNO cronies, made the government stand a relatively easy one.
Who would have thought the boy wizard could have conjured up such a dizzy spell in the usually languid book retailing business.
technorati: Harry Potter, Malaysia

Saturday, July 14, 2007

How many unemployed graduates does it take to update 450 websites? 4000 says the government

At least that's how many the UMNO led government thinks will benefit by awarding the contract to update the said number of government websites to politically well-connected Skali.

The idea is that Skali will then train 4000 unemployed or unemployable graduates to update the Federal government's 450 websites.

That means on average, 8 graduates will be tasked to look after one website. Quite what they will do and why so many of them are needed is not explained in detail. I suspect because they need retraining from whatever unemployable education they've already received over the 3 or 4 years they've spent languishing in university, half of them will be given on-the-job training while the other half figure out how to type html code. Doesn't seem like a bad job especially if you've been lepaking around the house.

The fact that Skali Group CEO Tengku Farith Rithauddeen projects growth of revenue by RM6 million to RM31 million this year means that this project is by no means small change.

Another impressive scheme by the government to build competency and skills in the digital age? Yeah right.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Blyk: A FREE mobile service powered by advertising

Now this is interesting. Blyk, a soon-to-launched mobile service in the UK, will be provided free to subscribers and be completely funded by advertising.

It's been more than a year since MITV and Timedotcom were awarded 3G licenses and to date both have nothing or at least very little to show the Malaysian public.

This interesting idea of an advertising-funded mobile service is nothing if not revolutionary. Just like free newspapers, it might take time for people to accept it but if both the founder of EasyJet and a former Nokia president think it's a viable business for them, then surely it must be worth investigating.

Technorat: Blyk

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