By Bruce Rhodes
September 22, 1988
Had Terence Corcoran delved a little more deeply into the pricing and discounting practices used by Mel Hurtig (Sept. 20 column) to market his Canadian Encyclopedia, might well have concluded that Mr. Hurtig, in fact, has set his own trap, and that the existence of Canadian competition and trade laws is, at best, a secondary issue in this instance.
If this encyclopedia is the gem that Mr. Hurtig believes it to be, then there is little need to offer the larger book retailers monstrous discounts just to carry it. Customers will demand the encyclopedia because of its inherent value; no bookstore could afford to be without it.
Mr. Hurtig has misused the pricing variable, and has cast into question the perceived worth of his encyclopedia. Why not offer modest discounts to valued volume buyers, but stop short of handing some of the retailers an invitation to totally distort the publicís perception of the value of the product?