- Gentlemen, start your drones: Judge’s ruling opens door for commercial use
- Soldier who hid, bragged about not saluting flag to be punished — in secret
- ‘Maverick’ of the seas: ‘Top Gun’ school for U.S. ship officers to launch
- Putin declares Sochi Paralympics open amid Ukrainian protest
- ‘In Jesus name, we pray’ sparks ire at Ohio council meeting
- Navy’s first laser weapon ready for prime time; drone killer to deploy this summer
- Billionaire backer: Rick Santorum ‘needs to be heard’ in 2016
- Obamacare fallout: 49 percent pessimistic; 45 percent ‘scared’
- DHS accused of holding U.S. citizen at airport, using emails to pry into her sex life
- Seattle socialist: Minimum-wage discussion skewed by ‘right-wing’ GAO analysis
Price cuts slash ‘Potter’ profits for sellers
The release of the seventh and likely final “Harry Potter” book on Saturday will mean the end of the cash cow for its U.S. publisher, but it won’t be bringing big profits to booksellers.
Scholastic Inc. will release J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” at 12:01 a.m. Saturday. Many bookstores are expecting hordes of people for the book, especially with a fifth movie in theaters and an announced Potter theme park for Orlando, Fla.
“It’s unique in my book-selling experience,” said Carol Troxell, owner of New Dominion Bookshop in Charlottesville, for decades. “There’s just been incredible interest in the release date.”
Despite the popularity, booksellers won’t be making much money off the new book, said Laura Dawson, a consultant for the book publishing industry. To draw customers, Amazon is discounting the book by about 50 percent, while Barnes & Noble Inc. and Borders Group Inc. are both selling it 40 percent off. Amazon, which has more than 1 million preorders, has said it does not expect to profit on the book.
Discounts create competition for independent sellers, which often cannot survive pricing books below cost, Mrs. Troxell said.
“It’s a constant problem for booksellers,” Mrs. Troxell said.
Large bookstores like Barnes & Noble aren’t profiting as much as they used to, since the sales period for the book has been compressed, said William Armstrong, an analyst with C.L. King & Associates. Excitement, though, is still good for business, he said.
“Anything that brings customers into the store can’t be a bad thing,” Mr. Armstrong said.
Never a bad thing, but not always beneficial, since the extra customers may only be interested in the specific book, said Gordon Dickerson, owner of the Corner Shelf Bookstore in Culpeper, Va.
Also, he said the profit potential for independent bookstores isn’t what it used to be his store will sell the new book at a 15 percent discount to compete with chain bookstores.
“The independent bookstore gets undercut by big box retailers and particularly the Internet,” Mr. Dickerson said. “As an extremely popular book, they have to pull the price down because there are so many people trying to profit.”
In an effort to compete, other independent booksellers are offering the book at a discount. At Olsson’s Books and Records in Alexandria, shoppers can buy a voucher for the book at 25 percent off through today, said Sara Krauss, assistant book manager. The book will then sell regularly at 20 percent off.
Vertigo Books in College Park will pair a 20 percent discount with a midnight release party, said Rebecca Semiatin, who works at the bookstore.
“We can try to compete with some of the bigger stores, even though it’s really not possible,” Mrs. Semiatin said. “But we do well. We have a good base of very loyal customers, and we throw a great party.”
Taxpayers must pay the freight for over-budget train projects
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- Rand Paul wins 2014 CPAC straw poll, Ted Cruz finishes a distant second
- Senate Democrats, Republicans spar over restoring unemployment benefits
- 80 people publicly executed across North Korea for films, Bibles
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- CURL: The modern GOP really is Reagan's 'Big Tent' party
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- Six Senate seats could hinge on Keystone pipeline
- Russias Putin nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
- CPAC 2014: Straw poll signals Paul-Cruz showdown
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again