Since books are expensive. Let's not doubt that. In this country, just a regular paperback would set you back possibly three regular meals at the least. Much less a new hardcover from JK Rowling. And to read, we have to purchase the books since our ( largely inaccessible ) public libraries seem to a share a curious distaste for popular fiction.
Don't they know that Dickens was once popular fiction as well? Who knows, Sophie Kinsella might even one day be lauded as poet laureate in the future.
So I don't blame the beleaguered consumers from taking up arms in the latest price war - certainly far greater a threat than any Harry Potter faced in the Deathly Hallows :) Within days, rotten tomatoes and brickbats have been hurled back and forth between the publishers, the bookstores and the buyers.
Read a book today!
I stand to the sidelines. Why? Because although I empathize deeply with the hard-pressed bibliophiles ( I want cheap books! ), I know exactly how the bookstores think as well. Sure, I know we would all love books at a cheaper price, novels slashed to half the price to make it all the more affordable for the great unwashed. But think a little further. Bookstores are businesses, not charities. Profits they make from such vaunted bestsellers are channeled not only into the deep pockets of the investors - but also to bringing out much less known novels to the attention of many.
Sure, it would be simple for the large chainstore bookstores to slash prices for the bestsellers. But then where would that leave them?
Everything comes with a price. To offset the price slash - and the inevitable loss - would mean getting more volume of sales. And to get higher volume would mean depending largely on the higher bestsellers. So let's only get the bestsellers. And where would that leave the other lesser known authors? Why bring in new fiction when you can depend solely on the sure bets like our moneyspinner Miss Rowling? Surely no one reads Kafka and his unusual treatises. Surely no one would take a look at the gripes of an overworked intern about the aptly named House of God. Surely no one wants to know about that quirky, esoteric curious incident about a dog in nighttime.
In the backbin, that's where they'll be. Or at least sidelined somewhere we'll never hear of. And wouldn't that be a pity.
That said, books could afford to get just a tad cheaper :P