Amazon UK has gone head to head with Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Ltd. in a price-cutting struggle triggered by the British high street supermarket chain’s push to grab readers for its eBooks by Sainsbury’s platform. Running through October, the “99 titles for 99p!” promotion brings “a wide range of eBooks from bestselling authors for only 99p [$1.60].” Some titles are offered at the discount price for one day only; others are on offer for the entire month.

The eBooks by Sainsbury’s service offers “ebooks protected with Adobe Digital Rights Management,” accessible through both dedicated Android and iOS apps, as well as via Adobe readers on Kobo devices and Nooks. Kindles, as the service’s website points out, are not compatible.

Amazon UK is already matching the discounts. Iain Banks’s The Crow Road, for instance, is on offer for 99p, same as the eBooks by Sainsbury’s deal. There’s no specific link on the UK Kindle Store for the promotion, but title-by-title searches soon turn up the discounts. And these presumably will continue for the rest of the month.

High street supermarket chains clearly see themselves as serious competitors to Amazon in the ebook market. Tesco has just brought its own-brand and surprisingly high-spec Hudl tablet to market at only £119.00 ($192.00). And considering the importance of supermarket chain book discounting in the U.S. in driving changes in book pricing and publishing patterns, it’s not surprising that Amazon is matching them step for step.

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Paul St John Mackintosh is a British poet, writer of dark fiction, and media pro with a love of e-reading. His gadgets range from a $50 Kindle Fire to his trusty Vodafone Smart Grand 6. Paul was educated at public school and Trinity College, Cambridge, but modern technology saved him from the Hugh Grant trap. His acclaimed first poetry collection, The Golden Age, was published in 1997, and reissued on Kindle in 2013, and his second poetry collection, The Musical Box of Wonders, was published in 2011.


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