the newest panic regarding bookselling
Interesting article about the recent crazy deep-discounting of new release books at the mega chains and Amazon.
I think the panic is unwarranted. First, it's not new. When I was a teenager in Baltimore in the 70s, there was a department store called Korvette at the Perring Plaza that used to have ridiculous way-below-cost sales on LP records advertised every week. I'm talking new releases for $2.99 and $3.99 and so forth (this was when a new release typicaly cost $7.99 to $9.99). Now, the catch was they put the record section of the store upstairs, and way in the back -- so you virtually had to walk past everything else to get to the records. I was 14, so I never got suckered into buying new bedsheets or toaster ovens, but that was the idea. It's the same as this. These discounts are exactly the same as spending big money on advertising. Do little stores freak out when big stores spend more on ads?
Also, when I had my record shop in the French Quarter, I was competing with Virgin and Tower -- but I wasn't concerned with those stores. I was more concerned about Music Factory and Magic Bus -- because I knew my customers didn't want to shop at "mega-stores," they wanted to shop at a little mom & pop shop, full of character, love and expertise. I feel the same way about shopping at small bookstores. I don't think it's just me.
I wonder of anyone I know at small bookstores are really "feeling" this. Thoughts?
Also, I think any move that gets more people reading fiction these days is a good move. That's why I'm also OK with these electronic readers. It is best for everyone if reading, as an entertainment form, finds a way to keep affordable and modern.