I was shopping at TJMaxx this week, and while standing in line was shocked to see Dan Brown’s Lost Symbol for sale at a majorly discounted price. I am not a big fan of Brown’s and had no plans of buying the book but as a long time book buyer/lover, I was startled to see the hardback being sold next to discounted cookbooks and Disney books.I have to admit to buying my copy of Her Fearful Symmetry (thumbs down) from Costco but for some reason TJMaxx struck me as a different scenario.
In her story, Nation’s Retailers Engage In Online Book Pricing Wars, Lynn Neary writes:
Al Greco, a Fordham University professor who studies the publishing business, says this price war could have a serious ripple effect on all booksellers: “This cuts into book buying at retail stores, supermarkets [and] convenience stores. The book store chains especially hit hard will be the independents who are unable to discount to that level.”
I guess what scares me the most is the idea that wandering down the narrow aisles of shelves crowded with books in a family owned bookstore will be a thing of the past. The positive side of discounted books is that maybe it will encourage more people to read, but I still don’t know how I feel about buying books at TJMaxx.
I think it’s time for the whole publishing business to make changes so the Dan Brown’s and Audrey Niffenegger’s won’t be hogging all the press and money, but what direction will it take? What does all this mean for people like me, working toward my MFA, hoping to get my book published and make a little money? Where will this leave people like me?