Lost Symbol coverIt says in the marketing blurb that Random House printed more than six million copies of Dan Brown’s latest book, which went on sale last week. It says here that Asda is selling the book at £5, making a loss of £4 on every copy that it sells. It says in my newspaper that one million copies were sold on the first day of publication.

This is the kind of retailing madness that overexcites marketeers and makes people want a share of the action. For local shops this is the kind of event that often passes them by. For weeks, you may have been walking past clever promotions by multiple retailers trying to persuade shoppers to pre-order.

I was passed by two the other day, passionately weighing up and discussing the prices on offer. It was cheapest the place we went to first, they agreed, shoulders sagging at the thought of trekking backwards.

Most local shops are in the business of creating frequent small purchases. The blockbuster does not necessarily fit easily with this. But as some point (Christmas annuals? Festive sweets?) your world will collide with the superstore deals that are underpinned by occasional events like this.

Just as a Dan Brown novel has a promotional hook at the end of every chapter to keep you coming back, so too your competitor for footfall.