Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Cheap books could lead to fewer books - the book price war

If you keep up with big retail news stories (or even book industry news briefs), you probably have heard about the recent price-gauging fight among Wal-Mart, Amazon, Target, and now Sears.  The New York Times had a feature on this battle today.  In an attempt to control bestseller market share and bring more folks to their superstores (where, inevitably, more items will be purchased), these retailers are cutting down prices on books to the point where they're taking a hit.

Perhaps you read bestsellers exclusively and drool at the thought of a new hardback book that's less than half the cost it'd be if you bought it at a brick and mortar store (chain or indie)--but think again before you rush off to Wal-Mart with your $10 bill in hand.  There's something afoot here, and it has nothing to do with the love of books, the love of reading, or the love of you--the customer.

The folks at WORD Brooklyn sent out a link to this piece about this week's price war and what it could mean for readers.  This price-gauging should frighten you and make you think again about where you buy books and the effect of your shopping choices.  Here's a quote from the above-mentioned New York Times article:
It’s a contest “that has no end in sight,” said Michael Norris, a consultant with Simba Information, which provides research and advice to publishers. Mr. Norris said the price war could be particularly damaging to the publishing industry and booksellers because the retailers who were currently slashing prices “don’t need to sell books in order to stay in business” and therefore can sell the books at a loss.
Please do take the time to read up on the issue, and feel free to leave any feedback here on the blog.


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