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Publishers join in Black Friday offers

Publishers have joined retailers for the first time in offering customers up to 50% off books as part of Black Friday promotions today (23rd November).

"Black Friday" is a US promotional tradition, with retailers offering discounts on the day after Thanksgiving, marking the beginning of Christmas shopping.

Penguin is offering customers 50% off books through its website for one day, as a way of highlighting the company's Christmas titles and to reward fans for engaging with its social media. The promotion has been running for three weeks, beginning with 40% off, then moving to 45% off last week, culminating in today¹s offer of 50% off. A spokesperson said the promotion was "proving quite successful so far". The publisher's website has experienced some slowness due to the increased level of traffic.

Osprey is advertising a "25% off everything" offer on its website to mark Black Friday and Bloomsbury is offering customers 25% off titles from its website until 3rd January. On its Twitter feed, Bloomsbury said: "*Christmas Shopping Klaxon* 25% off across Bloomsbury website til 3rd January. Go forth & spread the Christmassy joy."

Amazon has the promotion displayed prominently on its homepage, leading with a £30 price cut on its Kindle Fire tablet, now offering the device for just £99. The move coincides with rival company Barnes & Noble releasing its Nook tablets in the UK yesterday (22nd November) at various retailers including Foyles and Blackwell's, priced £129 for the 7-inch model and £229 for the 9-inch model with no adverts.

Amazon's Black Friday book promotions include "lightning deals", whereby offers exist on book for a certain amount of time which counts down. Customers are shown a preview of what book is going to be on offer and a time the offer will begin. At 1.15pm, Amazon will be discounting Jamie Oliver's 15-Minute Meals (Michael Joseph), for example, but will only tell customers by how much when the deal begins.

The Book People is not running a promotion under the theme "Black Friday" but it is offering a "Weekend of Wonder" with "4 Great Deals" from 22nd-26th November. Thursday and Friday it is giving 10% off all orders; Saturday, "Reely Good Multibuys"; Sunday Polar Postage; and Monday Mammoth Sale. To encourage customers to its website, the company says: "Check back every day to see the offers revealed!"

Play.com is running a Deal of the Week offer, but as part of a more general Christmas promotion on a wide range of products, this week offering Danny Baker's autobiography for £11.99 with free delivery instead of £18.99.

Waterstones hasn¹t been running Black Friday or Cyber Monday promotions, instead choosing to run a "longer lived and rotating promotion" by promoting four books and an item of related product each week in the run-up to Christmas. It is also offering the Kindle Fire at a discount price of £20 off, for £109.

W H Smith is also not running a specifically themed Black Friday promotion but is running a Deal of the Week and featuring the Kobo Mini e-reader heavily on its website, which it is selling for £10 off.