John Grisham is the latest big selling heavyweight to comment on the price war that could see books discounted to crazy levels in the US. Speaking on NBC’s Today Show, the author revealed that he believed the battle between Target, Wal-Mart and Amazon seriously devalued the book.
While low, low book prices might seem like they are great for the consumer – and they surely are in the sort term – the long term effect of such drastic drops is the problem. One of the things that worries me most about the book industry is that it doesn’t have the same money-making elements as say, live performances for musicians or cinema screenings for films, a book is always a book. Whether it’s online or in your hand it’s taken someone a long time to make it, but your experience of enjoying it is limited to its form.
Unless authors start capitalizing on their stories by increasing product placement and merchandising options, or maybe charging for public appearances, you can’t help wondering where the money to finance print runs will come from if book prices are brutally slashed.