CHICAGO (AP) — Taking a page from its original playbook, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. launched a full-fledged price war with Inc. and a nation of book retailers, lowering online prices on certain highly anticipated hardback titles to $9.
My concern is not the effect this will have on other online retailers like Barnes and Noble, Inc. and Borders Group, Inc. They will survive much better than the little guys who are already struggling to stay afloat. One of the national radio talk shows asked consumers to please support family owned bookstores. I think the plea should go out for consumers to support ALL family owned businesses.

I’ve had this disturbing dream (it’s already happening in many towns across America) of being on a road trip and finding every place I visit exactly the same… nothing but bland, nondescript chain stores. I wander down the streets searching for those quaint little shops of yesteryear, only to be told that they all closed, unable to compete with the BIG GUYS. Being old enough to remember when the majority of retail businesses were family owned, the idea of this happening is mind boggling.

I worry that many of the younger generation won’t be profoundly affected by this transition because they grew up in the “Always Low Prices” Walmart generation. (In 2007, after spending millions of advertising dollars, Walmart’s slogan became “Save Money. Live Better”). Tough to compete with that! Big bucks were spent making sure that other BIG chain stores and restaurants became familiar to this generation. If that’s all you know, then it can’t be that bad? Right or wrong?

Readers….What are your thoughts?!

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