Friday, October 23, 2009

Don't hurt the readers!

My first thought when I heard about the bestseller's pricing war** was, "Yay! Now I can buy two instead of one ... It's like BOGO, but with books!" My second thought was, "Uh oh ... What does this mean for my local Borders? Or for the cutesy little bookstores downtown?" My Publishers Lunch email today had several quotes from people in the biz about what they think about price wars. The one that concerns me most is below.

"It's the chain bookstores and the readers that are going to be hurt by this the most. Chain bookstores can't do what what independents can do, nor can they pay their bills by selling toothpaste and electronics. Readers will suffer the most, however. If the general public learns to expect cheap books, publishers won't be able to afford to take a chance on new writers, so quality, story, research and expertise will slowly disappear from new books, and we'll only have those most commercial and bland books to choose from. Again, you get what you pay for." Nikki Furrer of Pudd'nhead Books, Webster Groves, MO

My thoughts after reading this: YIKES!

Stop it, Amazon and Walmart (and Sears and Target, while we're at it). If you let your pride continue to get the best of you, next thing you know we'll be buying all of our books on iTunes for the price of a song, and that couldn't possibly be good for the business. You and your big corporate heads should be ashamed of yourselves.

**For a really good breakdown of the consequences of playing rough, check out this post.


Rebecca L Sutton said...

Well said! This is very scary indeed. I'm hoping things get straightened out so when our books our published (because they will be...)we don't end up with a fifty dollar advance check. : (

I love the idea of books being more affordable but if it means its going to screw writers and bookstores I'll gladly continue to pay full price!

Lisa and Laura said...

This is totally terrifying, right? On one hand, things need to change in the industry, on the other, this could make things very difficult for the average aspiring author...Fingers crossed that publishing figures out a better model for business SOON.

Little Ms J said...

Capitalism at it's finest. I wish big names would stop cannibalizing for the dollar. How do artists make money anymore?!

jessjordan said...

Rebecca: Way to be positive--we will get published! :) And I'm with ya on the affordability vs. screwing writers argument ... I'd love cheaper books, but I'd much rather have GOOD books, and to do that, we need writers that are actually getting paid to create them!

LiLa: My fingers are totally crossed. And my toes. And my eyes. Let's just say, "I got this."

LMJ: Big names cringe at the idea of vegetarianism. They need their meat, and lots of it. Doesn't this make you just want to flip them off and scream, "Screw the man!" No? That's just me? Damn it.