Good news for readers, but maybe not for the publishing industry: Wal-Mart has launched an aggressive price war against Amazon. The retailer is slashing the online price of 10 big-buzz books to $9 each. The company initially cut the price to $10, then lowered it further after Amazon quickly matched the deal. The aim is for Walmart.com to become the "biggest and most visited retail web site," a company official tells the Wall Street Journal.
"The endgame is rather scary for authors," says one book executive—scary because customers presumably will become accustomed to paying cheap prices. cutting into writers' revenues. But at least one big author affected, Dean Koontz, is optimistic. "Any time people are fighting over your work it's a good thing," he said, adding that he doesn't think the price cuts will be "a long-term thing." (Read more Walmart stories.)