Bloomsbury at war with Asda

Bloomsbury at war with Asda

<p>Bloomsbury has cancelled Asda&#39;s 500,000 Harry Potter order and declared the supermarket a &quot;Harry Potter free zone&quot;. The publisher said that it had taken the decision because it had not been paid by the chain, but it has also been angered by the supermarket&#39;s claim that it was holding &quot;children to ransom&quot; over the price of the latest Harry Potter.</p><p>Asda spokesman Ed Watson said it was nothing to do with outstanding invoices and claimed the publisher was unhappy that it had criticised the book&#39;s price tag of &pound;17.99. He added that it would be stocking the book. But speaking on Radio 5 Live this morning, Bloomsbury marketing director Minna Fry said the supermarket would be a &quot;Harry Potter free zone&quot;. &quot;We say hands off Harry, Asda should leave it to the people who really enjoy selling children&#39;s books&quot;.</p><p>The row between the publisher and the supermarket escalated yesterday after Asda issued a press statement accusing Bloomsbury of &quot;blatant profiteering&quot;--it compared the &pound;17.99 RRP of <em>Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows</em> against the &pound;11.99 RRP of <em>Harry Potter and the Philosopher&#39;s Stone</em> in 1997. But Bloomsbury hit back and accused Asda of trying to &quot;leap on the Harry Potter bandwagon&quot;. It has now emerged that Bloomsbury has sent Asda a legal response to its claims, accusing the supermarket of making libellous comments.</p><p>Fry has acknowledged the firm had been annoyed by Asda&#39;s comments. She told BBC Onine: &quot;Asda have had a problem with our pricing of Harry Potter for a while now, and they sent out a very aggressive press release saying that we were ripping off children.&quot; But she also told the Telegraph: &quot;The two matters are completely unrelated. We decided today that we could not risk having arrears with anybody.&quot;</p><p>But it remains unclear whether Bloomsbury will reinstate the order if Asda pays its invoice. An Asda spokesman told the Telegraph that it owed Bloomsbury &pound;38,000 but claimed that Bloomsbury owed Asda &pound;122,000. He said: &quot;That money will be in their bank account tomorrow. Customers can rest assured that they will be able to pick up a Potter at an Asda price.&quot; He claimed: &quot;It looks like Bloomsbury is trying to do everything they can to stop kids getting the latest Harry Potter release at a price they can afford.&quot; </p><p>In a statement put out yesterday Fry said: &quot;This is just another example of [Asda&#39;s] repeated efforts at appearing as Robin Hood in the face of controversy about their worldwide group which would suggest they are perceived as more akin to the Sheriff of Nottingham. Asda may grandstand all they like in their attempts to use poor Harry Potter to lure the public into buying a bag of their groceries, but they seem to attribute no value to Bloomsbury&#39;s very serious environmental mission in printing this Harry Potter book for the first time on part-recycled paper which costs more not less; and to fuel surcharges. As people are slowly realizing, there is a price to be paid by the consumer for environmental best practice.&quot;</p><p>Watson added: &quot;It just seems funny that after we expose the potty Potter price hike, Bloomsbury are trying everything they can to stop kids getting hold of Harry Potter at a price they can afford.&quot; </p>