Three Percent, a site dedicated mostly to international lit, recently featured two must-read posts — “Predatory Pricing Practices” (which includes a clip from the Colbert Report featuring Douglas Rushkoff) and “Anti-Fixed Book Price Essay” — about the predatory pricing practices that stores like WalMart are using to drive down book prices. In short, they’re employing books as loss leaders to sell other products.
See also: the NY Times‘ recent article about big box retailers pushing a HUGE proportion of booksales these days and creating “bestsellers”. Could Target really be the next Oprah’s Book Club? It’s interesting to think that a big-box store might play a role in bringing literary fiction to an audience that otherwise wouldn’t read it. Might this power be used for good…or is it 100% evil?
(Thanks to Jeremy and Celeste for sending me links and thoughts on these stories.)