Free Market

I'd planned on buying a Kobo Arc to go with my Kobo Touch ereader. I wanted something with a bit of colour, so I could read The Strix Chronicle and The God-Machine Chronicle in colour. Among other things.

So Smiths are selling Kobo Touch at £30 each these days - HUGE bargain price, folks! - and when I went wandering upstairs I saw that the same Kobo Arcs are on sale at £100. There's an identical model downstairs at £150. Somewhat bemused, I asked the assistant whether the £150 model had, say, 64 Gb internal storage. Nope; 32 Gb, just like the £100 ones. So I asked if there were any other features that the standard Kobo Arc at £100 didn't have. Absolutely NONE. NO difference whatsoever.

So I said "Basically, then, the only difference is that this model here is £50 more expensive just for three letters after the name - Kobo Arc 7HD, instead of just Kobo Arc."

"Yup," they reply.

"Can I have one of the hundred quid ones?"

"Sorry. They've all been withdrawn."

"How long for?"


So I ask them "So you're telling me that they are trying to force everyone to have to spend that extra fifty quid over nothing?"

It looked like it, according to the staff.

My next words were oh so carefully chosen.

"Screw them!" I said, cheerfully. Then I cheerfully told them what was going to happen next.

I told them that Kobo have committed suicide, market wise. Nobody is going to spend an extra hundred quid over three letters on the front. The most that they will do is buy the little Jobo Touch at thirty quid and be happy with that.

And what was going to happen today was this. I take my hundred and fifty quid, and I take it straight back to the bank, and it stays there. In six months, either those Kobo Arc 7HD with the fancy letters will be a hundred quid, or even seventy quid ... or I'll get a good bargain from Jones the Computer on an Android tablet that will do me nicely, thank you.

Either way ... no sale. Kindle don't get my money; Kobo don't get my money. Nobody gets my money, and I go home with my Kobo Touch which still works just fine, and it's only a matter of time before I end up with a second hand tablet of some description that will give me what I want - the ability to read my books in glorious colour and maybe even write.

But today, WH Smith does not go home with money in pocket, and that is their fault. And Kobo's.

And that is Free Market Capitalism in a nutshell. We're still free to choose not to buy from greedy, salivating nutcases.

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