Harry Potter and Bookselling Economics


Harry--the latest 'hot sell' that was supposed to create a margin of relief for indie booksellers instead created a lack of profitability. Several days after the 'roll out', this reporter saw bunches of Harry hardbacks stacked up at the Super Stop and Shop (next to the produce aisle) in Pittsfield MA. No pajama'ed kids, no lines of wild customers waving their money at cashiers.

And from across the Atlantic, an article from Scotland's the "Herald and Times"...

"When you think of price wars, the town of Aberfeldy (Scotland) doesn't spring to mind as a likely battleground. Even so, last Saturday, as history's most hyped novel was hoisted by forklift truck onto shelves, the town's two bookshops were a prime example of the agonising calculations that were going on all across Britain and North America over Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince." More here on how books are sold these days, and how in our current economy, bookshops are essentially becoming passé.


Isn't there also the point that most people who are going to buy a book will have already got it in one of a few ways on the day of release?
If you are desperate to have a copy you'd be getting it from wherever you are able to around the first day or so whether that be being there at midnight, ordering it online or getting it from the shop that saturday (ordered or not). The fact that unlike some products (PS2's for instance) the demand won't outstrip supply (in any of the places it is sold) means that price tends to be the main criteria. Then probably location.

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