Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The War on Books?

Here's an interesting article from Entertainment Weekly.

It seems Amazon, WalMart and Target are offering the latest hardcover releases from "the crown jewels of the industry" - giants the likes of Stephen King and James Patterson - for a mere $9, on books with a retail cover price of $35.

Good for the consumers? Absolutely. Good for the publishing industry? Well, that's the part being hotly contested.

Publishers aren't taking a loss on these sales. Retailers are. It is Amazon, WalMart and Target who are losing money on these mega-cut price points. So does this hurt anyone?

There are those who say yes - it hurts smaller booksellers. And there are those who say smaller booksellers don't draw the majority of their business from the sale of mega-blockbuster novels. So who's right? Will these so-called price wars mean the death of book sales?

By the way ... publishing has been dying ever since the industry started. Every year there are new death knells for the publishing industry sounded across the land. Paperbacks were supposed to kill publishing. Mega-bestsellers were supposed to kill publishing. Ebooks were supposed to kill publishing. Now WalMart and Amazon are holding the shiny new executioner's axe. Any day now, it's going to fall.

Any day now. Just like every day for the last two hundred years.

What do YOU think?

6 comments:

Marta Stephens said...

The only thing I can control is my writing so think I'll just keep at and let them fight it out.

You're absolutely right though. This year, has been an especially difficult time for the publishing industry, but there have always been challenges out there. Thus far, the industry survived them and I'm sure they'll get past this one as well.

Peanut said...

I don't worry so much about the publishing industry itself dying out... if it does, I think the influx of media will do it, rather than anything else. People could lose interest in favor of TV, internet, etc.

What I do worry about is the end of words being written on paper in favor of ebooks and Kindles...

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

I'm with you, Marta. I can't let myself get all bothered over this stuff. I'm the writer.

I keep thinking back to the time Stephen King went to visit his editor, after making the publishing house millions of dollars. He's walking down the hallway with the guy when the publisher approaches. The editor had to introduce him. The publisher was receiving all this money from King's books and didn't even know who he was.

Suffice to say, he and his editor went somewhere else right quickly.

Sheila Deeth said...

I feel like a duck watching the waves through glass. All I want is to swim. But I'm always happy if I can get books cheaply.

Kim Smith said...

I think it will be ereaders that will kill the industry :) yanno, machines are going to take over the world, right?

Andrea Franco-Cook said...

No matter how much things change, they stay the same. Regardless of what the market yields, I doubt that hard copy sales will die before I do.