So much for the cold war on hot hardcovers.
Wal-Mart kicked off the hardcover hoedown yesterday, lowering prices on preorders for hot titles such as Dean Koontz's Breathless and Stephen King's Under the Dome -- new releases that typically sell in the high teens through the discounter -- at a mere $10. When Amazon clenched a dagger between its teeth and matched the price a few hours later, Wal-Mart marked down the same titles to $9 apiece. As of this morning, Amazon is right there at the $9 price point, too.
Beyond exploring what these markdowns will do to the margins of both companies -- since you know that the publishers aren't subsidizing these low, low prices -- let's dive right into all of the players poised for punishment.
Barnes & Noble
In other words, if Wal-Mart and Amazon are serious about the $9 price war on bestseller pre-orders, their combat will inevitably spill over into e-book price wars, too.
It's a great time to be an avid reader. Take advantage of these ridiculous prices before both retailers get cold feet and warm noggins. However, steer clear of this sector as an investment until the rubble settles.
Do you own an e-book reader, or will you be springing for one over the holidays? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has been a Kindle owner since last year. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. The Fool has a disclosure policy.