RARA-AVIS: Re: Two Dollar Books

From: hardcasecrime ( editor@hardcasecrime.com)
Date: 16 Oct 2007

> It seems to me that if the majority
> of major publishers simultaneously
> dropped their paperback prices, that
> that could not but positively affect
> sales more than the negligible
> amounts in Charles' example. Not
> that it could ever happen...

Actually, no, it couldn't -- it would be illegal collusion if it did
(see the laws on price fixing), and even if it weren't, all the retailers who carry products other than books would simply stop carrying books and carry tubes of suntan lotion or something else instead, since it would give them a better return on their real estate than the suddenly cheaper books would. And bookstores that suddenly saw their average sale drop from ~$8 to ~$2 without a concurrent 4x increase in sales volume (which I guarantee would not occur -- even if consumer demand were there, which it wouldn't be, they'd need almost 4x the shelf space and storage space to hold the extra volume of merchandise, and where would that extra space come from overnight?) would go out of business. (As many bookstores these days are doing even without suddenly having their prices cut on them.)

It's fun to dream, guys, but let's call it what it is. I resent the prices of clothing and wish I could buy nice shirts for $5. I look at prices in New York restaurants and say to myself, "A sandwich for
$8? That's crazy. $2, maybe. $3, okay. But $8?" I go to the movies and am horrified to be asked to fork over $11 or $12. Everything costs too much. But that's life. At least the best things in life are still free, like happiness, the songs of birds in the trees, and diamonds, if you rip 'em off someone's neck and run real fast.


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