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.