The book price war is a good thing. And I’m almost as bored of people talking about this as I am about the economy killing publishing. My usual response to such boredom: “get over it”.
I’m sorry, but I’m a 22-year-old college grad with a completely useless degree (gender studies), living in Manhattan, with the worst public library system EVER. And I work with books. Remind me again why I should cry about Wal-Mart and Amazon (among others, apparently) duking it out so I can pay less for a good read?
For those of you living under a rock, essentially these two superstores keep lowering their book prices, and they tend to hover around $10 a pop for a recent bestseller. Publishers, bookstores, agents and authors are having a grand ole time whining about the loss of their livelihood and the death of the book. Now, as mentioned in an earlier post, this brand of negativity makes me sleepy.
I understand publishing is a business. And I’m the first person to jump up and defend that it’s the most important one. I also know that somewhere an angel loses it’s wings every time some indy bookstore closes for good. But come on people! Remember what publishing is about?!?! Books! Learning! End. Of. Story.
If Wal-Mart wants to hemorrhage money to prove they’re the biggest and the baddest, than that’s their problem. And if more people are reading and buying books in the process? That’s wonderful! I, for one, plan on taking serious advantage of this lucky turn of events while I can.
Example: I just recently moved from Greenwich, CT to Manhattan. The Greenwich Library is one of my favorite places on Earth. Not only is it a great space, but I got Dan Brown’s new book 2 days after it came out. They are well stocked, easy, accessible, and beautiful. New York, on the other hand, is gross, dingy, horribly stocked and slow. Sorry, guys. More on that later I guess. Anyway, there are a ton of books I want to read, but the library doesn’t stock them or I’m the 1,000th hold of 1,000 holds (this doesn’t change ever, mind you). But I can’t NOT read. But I can’t afford to buy books all the time either, especially new ones. This point is exaggerated even more so when they suck. In comes Amazon to save the day! Say what you will, but if I could have bought Dan’s novel for $10 the day it came out, I would have been all over that.
I love independent bookstores, and if I’m in a rush, or can’t find a book for less money, I will support them all the way. But I’m cheap and literary. And apparently, these two cannot coexist.